How to Make Zongzi 粽子 (Bamboo Sticky Rice Dumpling) | Dragon Boat Festival

(music playing) Hey guys, it’s Angel. Today I’m going to show you how to make Bamboo Wrapped Sticky Rice also known in Mandarin as Zongzi. Now in Taiwanese we call Zongzi (Bahzhang) and the reason why I’m showing you how to make this is because Dragon Boat Festival is coming up soon. Now if you guys aren’t familiar with Dragon Boat Festival it’s actually an annual celebration most famously known for Dragon Boat racing and also the sticky rice so I’m really excited to share this recipe with you and share this annual tradition with you.

And if you’re interested in learning more about the history of Dragon boat day or Dragon Boat Festival my grandfather gave me a translation that he wanted me to share with you guys and I will post a link to that on my blog. So with that, let’s get started. Let’s start with the bamboo leaves. Now this recipe makes a dozen Zongzi, which means we will need at least 24 leaves that’s 2 leaves for each Zongzi that we’re going to be wrapping. So I highly recommend that you wash and prepare about 30-35 because as you go through the washing process you’ll notice that some will break or some may not be the ones that you thought they were, not the right size, so definitely wash and prepare more. You can start by soaking your bamboo leaves in hot water for about 30 minutes. Now they will float in your sink so you might need to put something heavy like a pot or a plate on top so that way they stay submerged in the water. After 30 minutes they should have absorbed water and become super soft, so then what you’ll need to do is take a clean dry sponge, wipe and clean off both sides of the bamboo, and that’s just to wash off any dirt.

Then, bring a pot of water to a boil, and like to add a little bit of vinegar and a couple pinches of salt to help with the disinfecting, then put your bamboo leaves in stem first. Let that gently boil and soften up, and once that’s soft you can go ahead and fold over or submerge the entire leaf. Let that boil for 20 minutes and add more water if needed.

Once that’s done cooking go ahead and rinse with cold water, and if you need to use some scissors to trim off the ends. Sometimes the stem will be a little bit too long, or sometimes the top of the leaf will be a little bit frayed. So go ahead to give that a quick trim to make it all nice and neat. Now, if you’re like me you can do what I did the other day and prepare and wash your bamboo leaves the night before, and just put them in a plastic baggie while they’re still moist and put them in the fridge.

Now, for the ingredients. Let’s start with the meat. Sticky rice is typically filled with pork so, you can use pork belly or lean pork shoulder. Sometimes I also like to add Chinese Sausage, so I’m going to cut up a few sausage links too. Since this is your recipe, you can also add other ingredients like salted duck egg yolk, boiled peanuts, and even chestnuts. And to give this more flavor we’ll also need half a cup of dried shrimp, one cup of dried mushrooms. I’m using these really cute small ones so I can put 2-3 in each wrap. Half a cup of dried shallots, two tablespoons of cane sugar, one teaspoon of salt, a quarter teaspoon of five spice powder, and a quarter cup of low sodium soy sauce. Let’s start by mixing the soy sauce with four tablespoons of water reserved from soaking the dried shrimp. Then, add your cane sugar, the salt, five spice powder, and stir to mix as best you can.

Next, prepare the rice. I’m using 3 cups of glutinous rice, also known as sticky rice. Wash and rinse your rice really well, before letting it soak in filtered water for 20 minutes. Now, let’s cook. Preheat a non-stick pan on low heat and add a bit of oil. Or it’s best to use pork fat if you have some one hand. Add your rice and stir fry for 2-3 minutes to make the rice more fragrant. Feel free to add tiny bits of water if needed to help prevent the rice from sticking to the pan. When you’re done, transfer the rice to bowl. Next let’s cook the filling. Start by browning your pork and your sausage. Add the dried shrimp and shallots too at this time since they take a while to soften. After browning, add your sauce mixture and cook until a small amount of liquid remains. That’s when we’ll add the mushrooms.

Then continue to stir fry until the sauce is glistening and has fully caramelized, then transfer to a bowl while we prepare our string. Now one of the signature technique and looks of bamboo sticky rice is the string wrapping. So here’s how I suggest tying them: Using a ball of cotton twine, find a place in your kitchen to hang your string. This is super helpful. Then measure about 27 inches of string length from top to bottom and wrap 6 times, which will give you 12 strings to hang your Zongzi from, because remember we’re making a dozen. Cut the string and cut again and now you will have 12 evenly length strings. Next, remove the string bundle and tie a knot leaving a loop as a hook at the top. Now, this is kind of hard to describe so I’ll just let you watch and follow along. Once you’ve looped your knot, tighten and check to see if you’ve done this right by pulling one string on each side of the bundle. If the loop and knot doesn’t move then you’ve successfully tied you’re string. Now, it’s time to wrap. Pick 2 bamboo leaves of similar size and shape and layer them slightly overlapped one over the other, steam and tip facing at opposite ends.

I usually like to place the smaller one on time facing closest to me. Then, fold into a cone shape and add a bit of rice, on top of that your pre-cooked filling, and then topped with more rice, making sure to pack everything in tightly. Once you’re done carefully fold the top over then the sides, and finally the top of the bamboo leaves making a triangle shape. Next, go to your hanging string bundle and place the bamboo wrap about halfway up, wrapping the string around once and pulling down firmly making sure that it’s snug. Bring the string up to tie a knot leaving a bit of tail at the end so it’s easy to unwrap when we’re ready to eat. Continue to make your Zongzi and wrap all of them up until you have made your full dozen.

In the end, your bundle should look like this. Now it’s time to cook. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and gently place your sticky rice bundle into the boiling water, including all of the string. We’ll want to cover with a lid and boil for 1 hour and 25 minutes or until the sticky rice is cooked and done. During this time feel free to add more water if needed. Once it’s done cooking remove the bundle and let it cool on a plate for a few minutes. To serve, just pull on the string end to untie, unwrap the bamboo leaves and serve your sticky rice with a side of sweet chili sauce or spicy chili sauce. So this is how you make bamboo wrapped sticky rice for Dragon Boat Day. It’s definitely worth it, it’s smells amazing. I can smell the bamboo infused rice and I can’t wait to eat this. Now if you love eating these, I highly recommend that you double the recipe and make 2 dozen because they do go quickly and the great thing about these is that they freeze really well. Just put them in a plastic bag, you can put them in the freezer they last for a couple months then when you want to go eat them again, just defrost them, for a couple hours and you are good to go, to either reheat in the microwave or you can steam them again.

I hope you guys like this recipe, please share this video with anyone else who you think might be interested in Dragon Boat Festival or how to make Zongzi. I’m really hoping that together we can keep this recipe and these traditions alive. Until then, have a Happy Dragon Boat Festival and I will see you guys next time. Bye! .