粽子, ZòngZi or “rice dumplings” are made of glutinous rice with various fillings wrapped in a pair of bamboo leaves. 粽子 are often eaten during the Dragon Boat Festival which falls on the fifth of ‘May’ in the lunar calendar.

Lets make 粽子!

Ratio by weight is roughly 4 rice : 2 meat : 1 soy sauce. To make about quite a few 粽子 you’ll need:

  • Glutinous rice, 2kg
  • Belly Pork, 1kg
  • 500ml Soy sauce (e.g. Kikkoman)
  • Cinnamon powder
  • Five spice powder
  • Crystal sugar
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Dried shallot / onion
  • Mushrooms (e.g. Shiitake)
  • Bamboo leaves
  • Anything else you want to put in… Salted egg yolk, shrimp, chestnuts…

Ingredients photos

Ingredients: Leaves
Ingredients: Mushrooms
Ingredients: Five spice powder, Soy sauce, Sugar, Onions
Ingredients: Pork

What to do

  1. Chop the pork into 2cm wide lumps, and dry stir-fry until no longer pink.

  2. Add the soy sauce, half a table spoon of crystal sugar, a tea spoon each of cinnamon powder and five spice powder, and a few table spoons of dried shallot / onion to the pork and stew for a while (30-60 minutes).

  3. While that’s stewing, soak the bamboo leaves in water for 10-20 minutes to soften them up. Then gently scrub the leaves clean using a soft brush and water.

  4. Cut each mushroom into four and stir-fry them all with a table spoon or two of liquid from the stew. If your mushrooms were dried, throughly re-hydrate them by immersion in water before stir-frying them.

  5. Separate the meat from the stew sauce.

  6. Stir-fry the raw glutinous rice for a few minutes with the stew sauce, a tea spoon of salt, two tea spoons of sugar and a dusting of cinnamon powder and five spice powder. You can also add small shrimp to the rice if desired. Stir-frying a couple of kilos of rice can be hard work and needs a big pan - do it in batches if easier. The rice will still be crunchy after frying, this is ok.

  7. Get ready to wrap… You need a pair of bamboo leaves on top of each other, fold them around a point in about one third of their length, and 2cm in from their side, to make a cone. Put a small layer of rice in first, then a lump of meat, slice of mushroom and any other fillings you have prepared. Top the filling with more rice and fold the leaves shut. Tie them up with string. Use natural string, not plastic, otherwise your 粽子 may get infected with plastic / plastic colouring. There are some fantastic you-tube videos showing how to wrap 粽子.

  8. Once wrapped, you can freeze for later, or cook immediately: immerse the 粽子 in boiling water, and gently boil for at least an hour.

  9. Eat by unwrapping from the leaves and being careful not to burn yourself! Add a little chili sauce if you like it hot~~~

Preparation and consumption photos

First fry the pork until no longer pink
Stewing the pork
Stewed pork
Stir fry mushrooms with a little stew sauce
Fried raw glutinous rice
Wrapped ZongZi
Unwrapping ZongZi
Eating ZongZi