Zongzi, glutinous rice balls filled with meat

Zongzi are a typical Chinese recipe based on rice stuffed with spiced meat. Wrapped in bamboo leaves they are a simple and particular dish.

Zongzi, more simply zong, is a typical Chinese recipe based on glutinous rice stuffed with meat and wrapped in bamboo or rush leaves. It is usually steamed or boiled and, depending on the area, it can take on different shapes, from the most common triangular to cylindrical. Also for the filling there are various recipes but without a doubt the most traditional is based on pork meat flavored with soy sauce and five spice powder. The idea of ​​adding mushrooms is excellent, especially the shitake variety.

Zongzi is usually prepared on the occasion of the dragon boat party, celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month which usually falls between the end of May and the beginning of June. According to legend, the zongzi were thrown into a river to appease the hunger of a dragon that lived there.


How to make zongzi recipe

  1. First put the bamboo leaves a rehydratecompletely covered with water for at least 12 hours.
  2. Then put the minced meat, 1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce, the 5 spice powder (they are nothing but fennel, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, black pepper all powdered and mixed), the rice wine, sugar and salt and mix well. Cover and leave marinate for 2 hours.
  3. Rinse the glutinous rice 2-3 times by placing it in a fine mesh sieve then season it with the remaining light and dark soy sauce and a pinch of salt.
  4. Now that all the ingredients are ready, all that remains is to assemble: slightly overlap two bamboo leaves and fold them over, crossing them so as to obtain a cone. Put a spoonful of rice on the bottom, then a spoonful of meat and finally another spoonful of rice to cover. Close the leaves forming a triangle then seal with string.
  5. Boil the zongzi in boiling water for 2 hours then serve them by removing the outer bamboo casing.

Want to try another very famous Chinese dish? Here is the recipe for sweet and sour chicken!


Zongzi are preserved 2-3 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container. We advise you to consume them at room temperature.

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