Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Zong Zi (Rice dumpling) for Dragon Boat Festival

Duanwu Jie, also called Dragon Boat Festival, is June 16th.  With the date varying every year, the holiday completely snuck up on me this year.  I didn't realize that it was coming up until I saw lots of "zong zi" which is the rice dumpling eaten during this holiday, on sale at Ranch 99.

During this day, it is traditionally celebrated with Dragon boat racing as well as the eating of zong zi. Last year I did a more thorough post about the holiday and various rice dumpling offerings. I'm going to keep this one simple since I didn't buy as many dumplings this year.

The story of why Dragon Boat Festival is a holiday goes something like this: It is to celebrate Qu
Yuan, who was a famous poet and scholar.  He was an officer
for the Chu royal house during the Zhou Dynasty.  When the king decided
to align with the state of Qin, Qu Yuan opposed the alliance and then
was accused of treason and banished.  When Qin conquered Chu, Qu Yuan
committed suicide by drowning himself in the Miluo River.

As the story goes, the local people threw food in the river to feed
the fish so that the fish would not eat Qu Yuan's body.  The food was
the zong zi.  Local people also paddled boats to scare away the fish,
which is where the dragon boat racing came from.

The rice dumplings are wrapped in bamboo leaves. Inside is a ball of glutinous rice, which is a very sticky rice. The rice is cooked with different things. There are sweet ones which are usually filled with red bean paste.  The savory ones can be filled with peanuts, mushrooms, egg yolks, meat, seafood, etc.

I've never seen them being made or tried to make my own. I usually just buy them at the store. The frozen ones are usually available year round. But during the holiday, you'll find fresh ones as well, and more variety for sale.

To cook them, the dumplings are usually steamed. I cooked mine in a bamboo steamer, which I placed inside a pot with boiling water.

This year I bought some seafood ones. Here is a picture of the inside.

For more pictures of different zong zi you can read my post from last year here.

 

9 Responses to “Zong Zi (Rice dumpling) for Dragon Boat Festival”

  1. 1

    Carol — June 16, 2010 @ 7:25 am

    Holy Dragon, I completely forgot about the festival. I’ll have to swing by 99R and pick some up since I’m in no mood to make any. :-p

  2. 2

    Rosa — June 16, 2010 @ 11:19 am

    I never knew Zong Zi was associated with a holiday. I just thought it was another dish they served up whenever I went to dimsum. :) Cool bit of knowledge there!

  3. 3

    Kirbie — June 16, 2010 @ 11:56 am

    Heehee. Yeah, you can eat them year round now so it’s not as special. And it’s not really as celebrated here either. But during the weeks right before the holiday you’ll find a lot more different varieties compared to what you usually will find. Lots of different, unique fillings. Usually you buy a lot, and give them as gifts to other families. And you get them in return also. So you end up with lots of different zong zi to eat.

  4. 4

    Kirbie — June 16, 2010 @ 11:56 am

    I always forget when the holiday is. I just happened to be at Ranch this weekend and was wondering why they were sampling zong zi and then realized the holiday must be coming up! It’s hard to remember, since not much hoopla is made about the holiday around here.

  5. 5

    Faye — June 16, 2010 @ 12:47 pm

    I thought Zong Zi had something to do w/ a love story ?
    I love Zong Zi. I swear i can eat like 5 of them on my own. I really love finding a black mushroom in mine – that’s the treat for me in em.
    I tried making these from scratch a few years back. My uncle tried to help me and it was SOOOOO hard. Wrapping the rice and goodies in the tea leaves was exceptionally complicated!! Actually, i can’t remember if they were tea leaves or bamboo leaves.
    Have you tried making them before? That could be a great project for you! Yums!

  6. 6

    Kirbie — June 17, 2010 @ 2:35 pm

    I haven’t heard of a love story associated with Zong Zi, but I could be wrong.
    I’ve never made them from scratch before. I heard that it’s pretty complicated, a lot of prep work, and it’s hard to make them look pretty too.

  7. 7

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