Thursday, June 9, 2016

Happy Dragon Boat's Day Festival with Zong Zi...

Carrying forward and honouring my grandma's culinary legacy wrapping zong zi with momma' again this year!.... Here was last year's post and my first attempt! My wrapping technique this year was smoother, quicker and the results look a lot better-- as they say practice makes perfect although doing them once a year, it may take a few zong zi before you get the hang of it- again. I say, as long as you wrap them tightly with no chance of contents busting out during cooking, it's a success! However, with my second go at it, a nice sturdy hearty pyramid was my goal :).  

Zong zi is a Chinese version of tamales-- bamboo leaves are wrapped around glutinous sweet sticky rice mixed with all sorts of filling- savoury or sweet and boiled until ready. My late grandma passed at 98 and have been making her infamous savoury kind for as long as I remembered as a child, with seasoned pork belly, Chinese cured sausage, peanuts and duck egg yolk. I only wish that I learned the tricks of the trade first-hand when she was still alive-- she probably made them until she was 90. And so here I am in my second year wrapping these bundles of joy and relishing in her spirit with every rice scoop, filling placement, wrap, fold and bind. And of course, when I sink my teeth into the steaming hot deliciousness, no louder do I hear my grandma's voice, ho mo sic, "Isn't it good?" And yes grandma, it certainly is-- thank you!

This year, I prepared the bamboo leaves differently. We found the leaves were a bit hard and crisp to fold nicely without tearing, so before the Zong Zi-making day, I soaked the leaves for two hours, then placed the leaves in a big pot covered with water and brought to a boil, then simmer covered for one hour. I drained the leaves, individually washed and rinsed them and placed them spread out in a basin of cool water to soak overnight. Nice and pliable for folding and wrapping! :)

Refer to my previous post for step-by-step preparations and wrapping. My mom preparing the ingredients. Lap Cheurng (Chinese cured sausage) are sliced into long diagonal strips so that when you bite into the oblong dumpling, you get a piece in every bite. Raw salted duck egg yolk and cut into quarters.

Use two to three overlapping bamboo leaves to create a deep cup for rice and filling, with ample leaves for folding over and enclosing without chancing a slit or opening for contents to spill out.

Duo parcels with mom and me!

Looking pretty good if I have to say so myself! 

Tying them together with string to get ready for the hot steady boil for four long hours!


While it's true this is a lot of work and time consuming to make, there's nothing like rolling up my sleeves and recreating a culinary favourite my late grandma who I adored, helmed the kitchen making! This is my nod to our customs for the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival-- a look into a past food I grew up on and a gateway into the future where I can continue enjoying this family's tradition and hopefully pass on the same culinary legacy, love and skills to my children. 

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