The Duanwu Festival or, “Dragon Boat Festival,” occurs on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese Lunar calendar, giving rise to the alternative name, “Double Fifth.” This year it lands on May 30th. Traditionally we celebrate this festival by eating zongzi, which are large rice wraps, drinking realgar wine, and racing dragon boats. The best-known story holds that the festival commemorates the death of poet Qu Yuan (c. 340 BC – 278 BC) of the ancient state of Chu. Today we will teach you how make zongzi.
( serves 5-6 people, about 12-14 zongzi )
30-40 bamboo or reed leaves
2 jin glutinous rice
糯米 nuò mĭ
1½ jin mixed pork
夹心肉 jiá xīn ròu
2 teaspoons salt
2-3tablespoons soy sauce
酱油 jiàng yóu
1 tablespoon shochu
烧酒 shāo jiŭ
20 (40cm) lengths of string
1. Zongzi prep takes a long time. First there are the leaves. They need to be soaked in water for at least 24 hours prior to use. Only when the leaves are ready should you begin preparing the pork filling and rice.
2. Cut the pork into 2cm x 3cm cubes. Put the cubes into a bowl, add shochu, stir and mix well, cover it and leave it to soak for 30 minutes. After the soaking period, pour out the extra liquid and add enough soy sauce to cover all the pork. Let the pork marinate for 4-5 hours. Stir occasionally.
3. Put all the rice into a huge bowl, add the salt and 2-3 tablespoons soy sauce, stir well and set aside for 30 minutes to let the sauce soak into the rice.
4. When everything is ready, it’s time to wrap them. Take 2-3 leaves, fold the leaves as illustrated, make it look like a pocket.
5. After wrapping them all, it’s time to cook. If you use a pressure cooker, just put in all the zongzi and a lot of water till they’re totally covered. Close the cooker and cook them till the pressure cooker starts screaming. It’s OK. Let it scream for another half an hour. Then turn down the fire a bit and cook for another half an hour. Remove from the flame and leave them sit for 30 minutes.
6. Finally it’s time to try the tasty zongzi. You can keep the rest in the freezer. It normally takes about 30 minutes to cook the frozen ones, however, the longer they’ve been cooked the tastier they taste!