SNACK

ZONGZI WITH MEAT FILLING, TRADITIONAL FOOD FOR THE DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL

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Zongzi, also called the sticky rice dumpling, is a traditional dish for the dragon boat festival. It is Chinese “arancino” made of sticky rice and wrapped with bamboo leaves. If you are a fan of glutinous rice, or into gluten free diet (glutinous rice does not contain gluten. Surprise!), it is time to set your foot in making Zongzi!

Fai bollire acqua in una pentola. Metti i Zongzi nella pentola assicurati che siano ben coperti dall'acqua.

WHY WE EAT ZONGZI DURING DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL

Zongzi, being the typical food for celebration of the dragon boat festival, has been embedded into our tradition for thousands of years. The dragon boat festival is called Duān Wǔ Jié (端午节) in Chinese. It is an important celebration of the dragon totem. For this reason, we host events of dragon boat races. While Zongzi is believed to be prepared as an offer to our ancestors during the worship ceremony.

However, there is a popular legend among people explaining why we eat Zongzi: to grieve over the death of the great poet Qu Yuan.

Qu Yuan was a politician but was much better known as a poet. His position in the Chinese history of literature could be seen as (according to my humble knowledge) the Dante Alighieri to Italian literature. Qu Yuan committed suicide by throwing himself into the river on the day of the Duan Wu in 278BC. To commemorate him, people prepared Zongzi and threw them into the river, hopping the fishes would be fed by Zongzi instead of eating Qu Yuan’s body.

Many regions in China do not connect this festival with the death of Qu Yuan. No matter for which reason we eat Zongzi, this sticky rice ball wrapped in bamboo leaves is deeply rooted in our culture!

Ripeti i passi 5-9 finché non avrai finito gli ingredienti.

SWEET OR SAVORY? IT IS A QUESTION!

Like many other traditional foods, there is always a debate on which version to make (this year): sweet or savory.

The fillings of the Zongzi vary region by region in China. There is no such concept of which version is more authentic. It is purely which flavor suits your personal taste.

The sweet filling usually contains candied jujube or red bean marmalade. My first memory of Zongzi was a quite plain one with a tiny red date wrapped inside (talking about more than 30 years ago). My grandma taught me the “right way” to enjoy it: take a piece of Zongzi and dip it into sugar!

Nowadays the sweet Zongzi is no more humble like this. You will find much more red dates together with other nuts or legumes.

As for the savory ones, the flavors are majorly from marinated meat. Being a faithful member of Team Savory, I am preparing the Zongzi with filling of chicken and shiitake mushrooms.

WHY YOU SHOULD TRY THIS RECIPE OF ZONGZI

There are so many reasons for giving Zongzi a try. One practical reason is that you can divide the work into two days! The first day: soak the ingredients in water (in this recipe the glutinous rice) and marinade the meat. Easy and quick! The second day: wrap the Zongzi and cook them. Easy and exciting!

It is also our tradition to share the homemade Zongzi with family and friends. If you happen to attend friends gathering, Zongzi could be a very seasonal and authentic gift as a Chinese treat!

You can also conserve the Zongzi that cannot be consumed, so that whenever you want to have some, just take it from the freezer and reheat it. You will find all the instructions on how to do these in the following recipe!

ZONGZI WITH CHICKEN AND SHIITAKE MUSHROOM FILLING (鸡肉香菇粽)

Recipe by Sasha WangCourse: SNACKCuisine: ChineseDifficulty: Media
Portion

20

Zongzi
Preparation

40

minutes
Cooking

3

hours 
Soaking

8

ore

Zongzi, also called the sticky rice dumpling, is a traditional dish for the dragon boat festival. It is Chinese “arancino” made of glutinous rice and wrapped with bamboo leaves.

INGREDIENTS

  • Rise + Condiments
  • Riso glutinoso: 400g

  • Light soy sauce: 2 tbsp

  • Dark soy sauce: 1 tbsp

  • Meat + The Marinade
  • Chicken thigh without bone: 400g

  • Soy bean paste: 2 tbsp

  • Light soy sauce: 2 tbsp

  • Dark soy sauce: 1 tbsp

  • Five spice powder: 1/2 tsp

  • Sesame oil: 1 tbsp

  • Other ingredients for the filling
  • Funghi shiitake: 15-20

  • Mung bean without skin (optional): 100g

  • Utensils:
  • Bamboo leaves: “L” 28-32cm

  • Kitchen twine

  • Pot for cooking pasta

Preparation

  • Day 1
  • Soak the glutinous rice and mung bean in water for 8 hours. You can do this step in the evening and soak the ingredients overnight.I fagioli Mungo
  • Cut the chicken meat into bite size pieces. Mix the meat with rest of the ingredients listed in the section "Meat + The marinade". Leave it seasoning overnight.tutti gli ingredienti per fare i Zongzi festa delle barche dragone
  • Day 2
  • Drain the water from the rice. Mix the rice with the other ingredients listed in "Riso + Condiments".
  • Soak the shiitake mushrooms in water for 15 minutes. Squeeze out the water and cut each in half.
  • Drain the mung beans from water.
  • Take the bamboo leaves from the package. Cut off the hard stem at the end.
  • Overlap two leaves about half part. Bring the end towards the head to create a cone.
  • Fill the cone with 1 spoon of glutinous rice, 1-2 pieces of chicken, shiitake mushroom and a little mung bean.Metti un cucchiaio di riso glutinoso nel fondo del cono, aggiungi 1-2 pezzi di pollo, funghi shiitake e un po' di fagioli Mungo.Metti un cucchiaio di riso glutinoso nel fondo del cono, aggiungi 1-2 pezzi di pollo, funghi shiitake e un po' di fagioli Mungo.
  • Cover the top with another spoon of glutinous rice.
  • Bring down the bamboo leaves to cover the cone. Fold away the leaves following the instructions.
  • Tie the Zongzi with the kitchen twine. Leave a long tail of the twine for later use.Leghi il Zongzi usando lo spago da cucina. Lascia una
  • Repeat the step 5-9 until you finish all the ingredients.Ripeti i passi 5-9 finché non avrai finito gli ingredienti.
  • Cooking
  • Tie 5 Zongzi together by making a node at the end of the twine.
  • Boil water in a pot. Put the Zongzi into the boiling water making sure all Zongzi are well covered by water.
  • Lower the fire to the lowest (note), cover the lid and cook on simmer for 3 hours.ricetta Zongzi con ripieno di carne, cibo tradizionale per la festa delle barche drago
  • Conservation (for cooked Zongzi)
  • Wrap each Zongzi with plastic wrap.
  • Put them in the freezer and take them out whenever you would like to consume them.
  • Reheat the frozen Zongzi on steam for 20 minutes before enjoying it.Zongzi con ripieno di carne, cibo tradizionale per la festa delle barche drago

Video Recipe

NOTE

  • Make sure to use a very low fire so that the boiling water is not going to destroy the Zongzi during long time cooking.

To make the Zongzi more interesting, I recommend accompanying it with some sweet-spicy sauce. The Thai style Sriracha and the Korean Gochujang are both great options.

Per rendere questi Zongzi ancora più interessanti ti consiglio di accompagnarli con una salsa piccante dolce. Un paio di opzioni sono il Sriracha Tailandese o il Gochujang Coreano.

This year the Dragon Boat Festival falls into the 3rd June, same period of the Republican Day in Italy. Wish you all a great time! If you make Zongzi at home, don’t forget to share them with beloved ones!

When you prepare this dish, don't forget to SHARE IT on your social media using hashtag #cinaintavola and TAG ME @cinaintavola. FOLLOW ME on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube to stay in touch!

↓ ↓ ↓ SHARING IS CARING ↓ ↓ ↓

 

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