My husband and my children love anything made with glutinous rice or glutinous rice flour. Zongzi – glutinous rice dumplings – is one such favourite.
My mother-in-law usually makes and sends some to us, so I’ve not needed to do so myself. However, ever since she showed me how to wrap these pyramid-shaped rice parcels last year, and I enjoyed the process so much that I really look forward to the arrival of the Dragon Boat Festival this year, so I can practice what I learned again.
The Dragon Boat Festival, also known as Duanwu Festival, is China's most important summer festival. It arrives on the fifth day of the fifth month, according to the Chinese Lunar calendar. ' Duan' means initial, and the fifth month is a midday month, so Duanwu Festival literally translates to “The initial Midday Festival”.
According to the research of scholars, the Dragon Boat Festival originated from people praising and sending offerings to the dragon. They hoped by doing so he could stop summer time diseases and epidemics from spreading.
The most two important events of the Dragon Boat Festival – Dragon boat racing and eating dumplings – both relate to the dragon. The custom was to welcome the Sea God, and send offerings to accompany prayers for a year of good weather and a rich crop harvest. People would wrap food inside leaves, tie them tightly, and drop them into the river, as a kind of ritual.
This act of giving offerings to the sea later became associated with an alternative historical event. During the time of the Warring States, following the fall of his beloved country the grief-stricken patriotic poet Qu Yuan jumped into the Miluo River in despair, with stones tied onto his body so that he would certainly sink. In order to prevent the fish from eating his body, people threw wrapped dumplings in the river, hoping that the fish would eat the dumplings instead and thus preserve the poet’s dignity in death. Gradually it became a custom that on the fifth day of the fifth month, it’s the Dragon Boat Festival, and on this day, people eat dumplings and do dragon boat racing to commemorate this great patriotic poet.
Today, many of the old customs and superstitions have faded. Apart from carrying on with tradition of remembering Qu Yuan, people also welcome the arrival of summer. There’s an old saying: “Don’t pack away your winter clothes until you’ve eaten the fifth month’s dumplings.” Therefore it became a contemporary tradition for families to change into their light summer clothing, wrap dumplings, and watch dragon boat racing either on the television or outside in the sun. So this ancient custom still lives on now as a meaningful and exciting family event.
( 做 12 –16 個 )
- 豬腩肉 500克
- 鹽1 –2大匙
- 糖 1小匙
- 胡椒粉 1小匙
- 紹興酒 2大匙
- 鹽 1 大匙
- 麻油 1 大匙
- 橄欖油 2 大匙
- 糖 1 大匙
- 開邊綠豆 400克
- 鹽 1/2大匙
- 橄欖油 1大匙
- 鹹蛋黃 8 粒
- 紹興酒1 大匙
- 香菇 60 – 80克
- 蝦米 50 克
- 粽葉 70 – 80塊
Cantonese Style Salted Meat Rice Dumpling
( makes 12 - 16 )
For the salted meat:
- 500g pork belly
- 1 - 2 tbsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp white wine
- ½ tsp five spice powder
For the glutinous rice:
- 800g glutinous rice
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp sugar
For the mungbeans:
- 400g mungbeans
- ½ tbsp salt
- ½ tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tbsp sugar
For the salted egg:
- 8 salted egg yolks
- 1 tbsp white wine
- 60 -80 g Chinese mushrooms
- 60 – 80 g dried shrimps
- Dried banana leaves
- Sea grass strings or cotton threads
1. Dice the pork into about 2 cm cubes. Put the pork in a large bowl, add in the seasonings and mix well. Marinate overnight.
2. Soak the glutinous rice for 2 hours, drain, then add in the seasonings and mix well. Leave on one side.
3. Soak the mungbeans for 2 hours, drain and mix the seasoning in well. Cut the salted egg yolks in half, stir in with the wine and leave to one side.
4. Wash and soak the mushrooms until soft, then cut each in two. Wash and soak the dried shrimps. Soak the banana leaves and sea grass strings for 4 hours, before boiling them over medium heat for half an hour. Take the leaves out, wipe them clean and dry on each side. Cut the ends of both sides off.
5. 用 4 片粽葉、1 條草繩包1粒粽。先用 2 片粽葉交疊，任一端交叉成一個漏斗形。
6. 漏斗形下方的 V 字部位置於左手食指和中指間，用掌心曲起盛著尖角，先放入 1 大匙糯米。
7. 接著，放 1 大匙開邊綠豆，再放鹹蛋黃、3 - 4 塊豬腩肉、2 片香菇、1小撮蝦米，再鋪上 1 層綠豆，最後，鋪上 1 層糯米。
5. Use 4 leaves and 1 string to wrap one dumpling. First overlap two leaves together to make a funnel shape cone.
6. Place the bottom of the funnel shape cone between your thumb and index finger, cup the cone firm in your palm; place in a big scoop of the rice first.
7. Then add a big scoop of mungbeans on top, follow by a half egg yolk, 3 – 4 pieces of pork, 2 slices of mushroom, and 1 pinch of dried shrimps. Then pile on another layer of mungbeans and then rice.
8. Fold the bottom half of the leaves up towards the centre.
9. Fold down the top half of the leaves towards the centre. Take care to keep the pointed angle underneath.
10. Use one leave to cover the right hand gap, and fold the top part down to the centre. Fold the bottom part up to the centre as well. Turn the dumpling round and do exactly the same to the other side.
13. 把所有包好的粽子置大鍋的滾水中 ，用大隻的蒸架壓著以防浮起，再滾起後蓋著用中火
11. Turn the dumpling upside down, and tie the dumpling on one side tightly first with the string, then pull the string over to tie the other side tightly.
12. Turn the dumpling around again with the pointed side up. Tie the middle part tight too. Sit the dumpling on the table, gently press down the four corners to make the centre part point straight up to form a proper five angle dumpling. Proceed to finish making the rest of the dumplings.
13. Put all the dumplings in a big pan of boiling water, and press them down with a wire rack to prevent them floating on top. Boil over medium heat for 4 hours – take the dumplings out while they are hot, then they are ready.