You Can Have Zongzi Anytime Of The Year (2007-10-29)

Who says you can only eat zongzi in Dragon Boat Festival (Duen Ng)?  I can't remember the last time I had a zongzi, the savory glutinous rice with fillings wrapped in bamboo leaves, but I've always loved this specialty food.  It is dense, heavy and full of fatty pork belly and salted yolk in the filling which I'm sure won't do much good to your cholesterol and triglyceride levels.  But zongzi is too tasty to pass up, everything in moderation is ok, right?

When I saw news about zongzi in June around Duen Ng, I just had such a craving for them rice snacks.  However I didn't have salted yolk then and I didn't want to spend all that effort and make half-ass zongzi.  So I started to make salted eggs in order to harvest the yolks.  The process of making homemade salted eggs is very simple (I'll post the method tomorrow), it just takes so darn long, six weeks for the size of the eggs I use.

After a long, long six weeks, I could finally set out to make zongzi.  The process of wrapping it isn't too labor intensive but perfecting the skill is hard.  Most of my zongzi won't win any Miss Zongzi Pageant, but they do taste great!  If you've never tried making your own, it isn't that difficult to do.  I found that even if you didn't wrap the rice perfectly, it still won't lose its shape or fall apart in the boiling process.  You just won't end up with a perfectly shaped zongzi on the plate, that's all.

Zongzi is also freezable which makes it a handy and tasty frozen meal.

Points in making zongzi:
Wash and soak bamboo leaves at least an hour (or overnight), then boil them for 15 minutes.  Cool and lightly dry them.
Soak grains for 3 hours, drain and season them with salt, bit of sugar and oil.
Marinate shiitake with sugar, salt, soy sauce, wine, oil and corn starch.
Marinate pork (preferably overnight) with salt, soy, sugar, wine, five spice powder.
Smaller zongzi need shorter boiling time (medium heat).  Cool zongi in the cooking water before removing them.

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