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Friday, May 15, 2009

Dragon Boat Festival making you hungry? Try Joong or Zong Zi

During Dragon Boat Festivals, the food in demand is the Zong Zi, or Joong, a kind of Chinese rice tamale.

It is said that after patriot-poet Qu Yuan perished in the water, fisher folk throw rice into the river to ensure that Qu Yuan's spirit will be well-fed and that the fish and River Dragon will not feed on his body. The story also goes that a little later, about 200 years after his death, the spirit of Qu Yuan told the fisher folk that the rice they are leaving for him are being eaten. To avoid this, the spirit advised the fishermen to wrap the rice intended for him in bamboo leaves and tie this in red, blue, white, yellow and black string. The Imperial colors will protect the rice from the River Dragon and make sure the rice goes to the designated spirit.

I've been looking about for a nice, easy recipe for Zong Zi. While my favorite reference book on Chinese culture, The Good Luck Life has a nice Zong Zi/ Joong recipe, I still looked about for something that seems simpler to prepare, and ingredients easier to find.

I found this from the eG Froum, this is hzrt8w's recipe, thanks so much. I am not copying the recipe word per word, but to give you an idea of how it is done and what it contains.

For the cooking nuts who really want the recipe, you can ask around or try the recipe in The Good Luck Life.

Day 1.
  • Soak the following the day before in separate bowls, making sure there is enough water for each : Sticky rice, mung beans, conpoy, black mushrooms, raw peanuts.
  • Cut the pork, marinade into special sauce.
  • Soak bamboo leaves, making sure they are weighed down into the water.

Day 2.
  • Soak dried shrimp for a short while only, drain. Drain all ingredients soaked the night before. Slice mushrooms, conpoy, also Chinese sausages, get yolk from salted eggs.
  • Pan-fry soaked shrimp, add mushrooms, add cooking wine and soy sauce. Set aside.
  • Get sticky rice, add soy sauce, some cooking oil and salt.
  • Get soaked bamboo leaves. Pour some boiling water on it to sterilize and also soften.
  • Wrap Joong by: Take 1-3 bamboo leaves this will be the rice's container. Add sticky rice, mung beans, pork, saled egg yolk, shredded conpoy, 1 or 2 chestnuts, then shrimp, mushroom and peanuts. Finish by adding mung beans again, then rice. Close with another leaf. Tie with string.
  • The wrapped joongs are put in a pot and boiled for about 2 hours.
There you go, a very general way to make Zong Zi. I hope you'll be interested to make some for the family, and if you do, please tell us about it :-) (If not, maybe a nearby chinese deli has some? heehee.)

Happy Dragon Boat Fest eating!



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