Mugwort Steamed Cake 艾团/青团

Sometimes around Qing
Ming/Tomb-sweeping festival, the Chinese will collect some Chinese Mugwort (
艾草)to be hanging around the
door, which is believed to be able to chase away unwelcome energy. It is also
the main ingredient for the Chinese steamed cake Ai Tuan/Qing Tuan
(艾团/青团)eate at or around the
tomb sweeping festival.
My mom discovered a big
patch of wild mugwort in the woods near my house during her visit few years
back, she will bring back a bag full of the wild mugwort and boiled it down to
be used for bath when she was feeling under the weather.
I have been meaning to
make Qing Tuan by using the young wild mugwort nearby this year, since it is a
wild plant and I want to make sure it is 100% safe to be eaten, I have done
some research and found out that the wild mugwort near my house is the species
Artemisia vulgaris, or common mugwort.

The species used in China/Asia
is Artemisia argyi, is often called “mugwort" in the context of
Traditional Chinese Medicine, can also be referred to by the more specific name
“Chinese mugwort".
The Japanese and Korean
also uses mugwort in similar context as the Chinese, where the species found in
Japan and Korea is Artemisia princeps, also known as yomogi (
The mugwort mentioned
are all under the common species Mugwort and have similar properties and are
used medicinally in traditional medicine.
一般中国人使用的艾草学名叫Artemisia argyi,美东这里野生的艾草学名叫Artemisia vulgaris,也有把它叫小叶艾草的。两者都是蒿属植物,化学成份类似,药效也相似。
The young plant of
Common Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) near my house.
It is commonly found
near waste ground, roadsides, railroads, fallow agricultural land with a lot of
nitrogen still in it, sandy, open ground.
Leaves two to four
inches long, one to three inches wide, simple, alternate, deeply lobed, and
have a distinctive aroma.


Leaves on the upper
portions of the plant are more deeply lobed and may lack petioles. Leaf
undersides are covered with soft, white to gray hairs, while upper leaf
surfaces may be smooth to slightly hairy.

I collected a bagful of
young leaves, the young plants are tender and less bitter.
I proceed to make
Mugwort Steamed cake that afternoon.
Ingredients: (makes
15-18 pieces of cake)
60 g of young tender
tips of mugwort
1/8 tsp of baking soda
15 g/1 tbsp of sugar
60 g rice flour
120 g glutinous rice
The filling:
40 g of Adzuki bean
20 g of Sesame seeds
100 g of Peanuts
30-50 g of sugar 
Ingredients: (makes
15-18 pieces of cake)
60 嫩艾叶/
1/8 小勺小苏打
15 /1 大勺
60 粘米粉
120 糯米粉
40 红豆焙香
100 花生焙香
30-50 g


1. Toast the peanuts,
sesame seeds and adzuki bean separately, let cool. Grind all three in a mixer
or coffee grinder into fine powder, add sugar and mix well.
2. Blend together rice
flour and glutinous rice flour.
1. 把花生、芝麻、红豆分别炒/焙香。冷却后磨成粉,拌入白糖备用。
2. 把粘米粉和糯米粉混合备用。


3. Clean the mugwort
tips and cook for around 15 minutes in water with 1/8 tsp of baking soda, the
baking soda will reduce the bitterness and retain the color of mugwort better.
4. Drain and rinse
thoroughly with cold water.
5. Grind the leaves with
a little water into a coarse paste. 
6. Place the paste in a
cooking pan with 1 tbsp of sugar, cook for a few minutes, when the paste
started to boil, add about 3 tbsp of the mixed rice flour, stir using a spatula
and continue cooking until the paste turn into a sticky dough.
7. Place the remaining
rice flour in a large mixing bowl, add the sticky dough from pan into the flour
while it is still hot and knead into a soft dough. Use a pair of glove if you
may to prevent burning your hand, you can also use a spatula to bring the flour
together before kneading it with hands. Use a little more flour if the dough is
3. 把艾叶洗净后放到锅里加水和1/8小勺的小苏打粉一起煮15分钟。小苏打可去除艾叶的苦涩并保持翠绿。
4. 煮好的艾叶沥干用凉水冲洗几遍。
5. 用食物料理机把艾叶磨成糊状,可以适当加一点水。
7. 把剩下的粘米/糯米粉放到一口大盆里,把锅里的艾叶糊盛到米粉里,用个勺子拌匀,稍微冷却后和成一个不黏手的粉团。如果面团很粘的话,可以适量加些糯米粉揉至不粘为止。
8. Rub a layer of oil
over palm and take a portion of the dough (around 25g) and shape into a small
9. Place about 1 tbsp of
filling in the middle of the disc, pinch to seal the edges to form a small
ball. Place the ball on a piece of parchment paper or banana leaf.
10. Repeat the steps for
the remaining ingredients. Steam the cake for 12-15 minutes and serve
11. I also made some
small glutinous balls/Tang Yuan out of the dough and serve with the filling on
of instead of stuffing it in. It is super delicious!
8. 手掌上抹点油,取一小团粉团(大约25克),压扁,盛入1大勺的馅料,捏起成团。摆到剪成小张的油纸/香蕉叶上。
10. 我还做了些艾叶汤圆,撒上馅料粉吃,也很好吃哦!
Here are
the steps of making Tang Yuan – 




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