It is that time of year again. It is the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival(c lick on the link to learn more about the festival!). This year, the festival is on June 2.
I love this time of year because my mom makes zongzi (zhongzi), also known as Chinese Tamale or Chinese Rice Dumpling. There’s the savory kind and the sweet dessert kind my mom makes. The sweet dessert kind is called 碱水粽 (Jianshui zong). What I love about it is that usually, there’s a sweet paste filling inside. My mom always uses red bean paste, which is my favorite!
It takes a while to make these zongzi. Including soaking the leaves, it takes about 2-3 days! It is worth the time and effort making these. My mom learned how to make these from her grandmother. Now, my mom is teaching me how to make them. Oh, I love traditional recipes. The “recipe” has no real measurements, since we normally don’t measure things out when cooking.
This recipe makes about 50, depending on the size and how much filling you put in. You can add more things in the 粽子if you like. This is what my mom used. Some people just add peanuts to it.
- 粽叶 (reed or bamboo leaves)
- 1 bag of Peeled Split Mung Beans, 14 oz (400 gms)
- chopped green onion
- 1 bag of dried shrimp
- 1 1/2 bags of peanut, I used a bag of 特级花生 (both 12 oz, 340 gm) or about 4 1/2 cups
- 12 cups glutinous rice
- dried chestnut
- salted duck egg yolks
- Chinese sausage, cut into slices
- cut up pork belly (with the fat)
Buy 粽叶 and boil them in water. After boiling them, soak them in water for at least a day.
Preparations before putting everything together:
Each thing should be in it’s own bowl, unless stated in the directions.
- After soaking the leaves for a day, wash and rinse them about 2 times to make sure they’re clean. They should not be green in color.
- Soak the chestnuts in water.
- Salt the chopped pork bellies.
- With the mung beans, soak and rinse them. Then, stir fry them with chopped green onion (if wanted).
- With the dried shrimp, stir fry them with green onion too.
- Make sure the Chinese Sausages are cut up in slices.
- Make sure you have the salted duck egg yolks.
- In a huge bowl, wash and rinse the glutinous rice. Stir in the peanuts. Then, season it with salt. Don’t add too much salt.
- Add a few tablespoons of oil to the rice mixture
Now, for the wrapping. Here’s a video I found on youtube that shows how to wrap them. It’s the same way my mom wraps it. I think it’s the Cantonese way of wrapping it because other videos I’ve watched, it was wrapped differently and they spoke Mandarin.
- Basically, you have to take 2 leaves and shape them the way it has in the video, like a cradle. I don’t know how to describe it.
- Put a spoonful or two of the rice/peanut mixture in.
- Add one or two slices of the Chinese Sausage.
- Add a salted egg yolk.
- Add a piece of the pork.
- Add a chestnut or two.
- Add a spoonful of the mung beans.
- If wanted, add mushroom.
- Add another leaf to the side.
- Then, add two spoonfuls or more of the rice/peanut mixture until it coves the filling.
- Fold the leaf to the side so that the side is sealed. Then, fold down the top part.
- Using a string, wrap the string around it, and then tie it.
- Boil water in a huge pot. Once the water is boiling, add the 粽子。 Depending on the size, boil for 3 to 5 hours. The smaller ones usually only take 3 hours. Larger ones take 4 hours or more.
I hope you guys enjoy these traditional zongzi! I ate one today without the meat. They’re delicious!
Have you tried zongzi?
What’s your favorite Chinese or Asian food and holiday?