Recipe for the Dragon Festival Favorite, ZongZi

This year’s Dragon Boat Festival is still a little far away (June 12), but we to give you enough time to find all of the ingredients for today’s recipe, zongzi. Zongzi are relatively easy to make, and are a common dish at the Dragon Boat Festival, for many believe that townspeople threw zongzi into the river to keep fish from eating the body of Qu Yuan. In essence, zongzi are composed of sticky rice and a combination of other fillings, from red beans to corn and pork, all wrapped in a bamboo leaf.  Today’s recipe from Eating China will surely make your mouth water!


          40 large bamboo leaves, dried

          2 lb. long grain sticky rice (must be glutinous rice)

          4 lb. pork belly, sliced and cubed

          10 salted duck egg yolks

          40 dried shiitake black mushrooms

          20 chestnuts, dried and shelled

          10 spring onions, chopped

          2  ¼ cup dried radish

          ½ cup small dried shrimp

          7/8 cup of shelled peanuts with skin

          5 cloves garlic, crushed

          1 tsp. black pepper

          2 star anise

          1 ½ tsp. sugar

          1 tsp. five spice powder

          ½ cup soy sauce

          ¼ cup rice wine

          Vegetable oil


1.      Soak rice for three hours. Drain

2.      Let mushrooms soak in a separate bowl until tender. Remove salt and chop into halves or thirds.

3.      In a separate pan, stir fry the pork until it is lightly browned, and then add in chestnuts, rice wine, soy sauce, 1 tsp. sugar, the star anise the the five spice powder. Let this boil and then simmer for 1 hour. Afterwards, remove the pork and chestnuts and set them aside.

4.      In a separate pan, boil the peanuts for 30 -60 minutes, or until they are tender.

5.      Cut the duck yolks in half and then set them aside.

6.      Finely chopy the dried radish, stir fry with the sugar and garlic. Stir fry shrimp and onions until tender

7.      In a large mixing bowl, add in rice, peanuts, radishes, onions, 2 tsbp. Oil, shrimp and some liquid from the stew. Mix thoroughly

8.      Allow the bamboo to soak for five minutes in warm water, then rinse with cold water.

9.      Wet the string so that they are easier to tie and bend.

10.  Position the leaves on a plate or counter top so that their tips are pointing in the same direction, with the tip of one leaf overlapping the curved end of the other leaf.

11.  Use both hands to bend the leaves approximately 2/3rds along the length of their spines, so that they form a

12.  Mix in rice, pork, mushrooms, egg yolk, and chestnuts. Firmly press with a spoon, and fold the leaves over the top of the zongzi. Once the leaves are secured, tie them as you would a shoelace. They should have a pyramid shape.

13.  Steam the zongzi for one hour, unwrap from the bamboo leaves and serve.

If you want to see other zongzi recipes or learn more about the Chinese Dragon Festival, the following sites are a great start:


Eating China ( where today’s recipe came from):

The Hong Kong Cookery:

Serious Eats:

Travel China Guide:


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