The celebration of Zong Zi Rice Dumpling 肉粽子 Festival -2019

The celebration of Zong Zi Rice Dumpling 肉粽子 Festival -2019

Every year since I first came to UK two decades ago I have been wrapping these bamboo leaves dumplings. Decades ago it was very simple as I lived in Devon, out in the sticks where ingredients are not easy to come by like nowadays. My very British husband can eat these for breakfast, lunch and dinner for days if I let him. I get tired of them on the third day! This year he ate a total of 10 over 6 days! I have never know anyone who loves 粽子 (zongzi) so much!

I have often been asked what sort of zonzi type is mine and my truthful answer is – “my mother’s”

Nowadays there are so many types/styles of zongzi! I cannot keep up with all the names people made up for their types/styles, mostly to grab attention for business purposes. As for me I only wrap this way years after years because these are the types I grew up with. Always start with a tablespoon of rice and ends with a tablespoon of rice, no more no less.

Bak chang wrapping by my mother as I remembered in Kuching, Sarawak, she used pandan leaves. There is not a cat in hell’s chance that I can buy them here in London so reconstituted dried bamboo leaves will have to suffice. Some years you get excellent nice leaves and some years you get all broken and holey leaves. It’s hit and miss but we just have to use them like patchwork on bad year.

This post is not a recipe as such but is to document my mother’s and my revised recipe so I can remember it in my old age. 😀 some years I really have to refer to old pics to make my shopping list so that I do not miss a thing.

I have also marked it as main because if you eat one of my zongzi I guarantee you it’s a main.

I will however attempt to translate my pinches and ‘by eye’ ‘by feel’ and give as much tips as I could with each pics. Mushrooms, pork belly, winter melon and dried shrimps are fried with pork lard, five spice powder and celery salt with the exception of pork belly added with dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice wine and pepper. Do your cooking a day before so that they can marinate in the fridge overnight.

TIP – The week before make peel and fry your shallot, garlic oils and pork lard oils

TIP – The lentils and black-eye peas do not over soaked. You want them al dente not mushed.

TIP – First wok I always boil for 3 hours as my rice is not fried or soaked. Second wok onward 2.5 hours as the marinate has tenderised the rice a bit.

p/s The size of the zongzi depends on the sizes of the bamboo leaves.

p/s The person who dare suggest for me not to add my mother’s winter melon and dried shrimps combo has not eaten my zongzi for the last 5 years. True! it is not that I cannot accept constructive criticisms but this is my style of zongzi. You may suggest ways to better it but not to change it!

To know more about the History and Legends of the Dragon Boat Festival please read – it’s very interesting. read for your children, least not we forget our Chinese legends. https://www.chinahighlights.com/festivals/dragon-boat-festival-history.htm

Just for a laugh these are MY personal criteria for MY zongzi (bak chang) aka Chinese sticky rice dumpling

Must be able to see the fillings amongst the rice.
Must have a balance of sweet from the winter melon & Chinese sausage to savoury.
Must be able to taste/eat the fillings with every mouthful.
Must have a whole egg yolk. 
Must have equal balance of fat and lean pork.
Must have al dente rice and beans, not mushy.
Must have nice mushrooms.
Must have nice dried shrimps.
Must hold the 3D pyramid shape.
Must not have a waist.

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