1. Put glutinous rice into a glass container. (I try to use a glass container because the rice will mix with kansui later.)
2. Wash the glutinous rice a few times (3 times). Then, pour water to soak the glutinous rice for 1-2 hours. (Don’t over soak the rice because it will break easily.)
3. Next, wash and soak dried bamboo leaves in hot water for 45 minutes to an hour.
4. After that, rinse and soak su mu (蘇木) or sappan wood for 10 minutes.
5. Cut strings, each string is around 70 inches long.
6. After soaking the glutinous rice for 1-2 hour, drain the rice well.
7. Put the drained glutinous rice into the glass container. Then, add kansui (potassium carbonate & sodium bicarbonate solution) or lye water. Mix it very well and make sure every rice is mixed with kansui.
8. Pour vegetable oil and mix well with the kansui glutinous rice.
9. Take 2 soaked bamboo leaves folded down to make a shell like, so it can hold the rice. See the details in the video below the recipe card.
10. Scoop kansui glutinous rice from step 8 into the bamboo leaves.
11. The following, put soaked su mu (蘇木) or sappan wood in the middle of the rice.
12. After, scoop kansui glutinous rice on top and cover up the su mu (蘇木).
15. After wrapping the zhong, put them into the instant pot pressure cook. (You can boil them over the top stove by filling enough water into a pot and making sure water covers the zhong. Turn on high fire until water is boiling, then turn the fire to medium small and boil for 1.5- 2 hours. Keep track of the water evaporating and add water while boiling.)
17. Meanwhile, put brown sugar into a pot.
18. Then, pour water into the pot. Turn the fire to small. Keep stirring it and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes depending how thick you want the syrup to be. (I did around 20 minutes.)
19. When the syrup cools off, it will become thicker.
20. When the zhong is done, open the lid and take out the zhong. (Be careful it is hot.)
21. Put the jianshui zong on the plate and let it cool off a little bit.
22. Untied and unwrap the kansui zong. You can see this beautiful amber color.
23. Cut the gan sui zhong or alkaline rice dumpling into half.
24. Remove and discard the su mu (蘇木) or sappan wood because we don't eat it. (Su mu changes to dark red purplish because it is mixed with the alkaline rice.)