How to Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales)

How to Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales)
Explore this Article
Traditional Zongzi
Zongzi with Pork and Chestnut Filling
Sweet Zongzi
Tips and Warnings
Related Articles
References

Zongzi in Mandarin, or joong in Cantonese, are traditionally eaten during the Dragon Boat Festival, which is held on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese calendar, usually between late May to mid-June according to the Gregorian calendar, to honor Qu Yuan, a famous Chinese poet known for his patriotism. One legend says that after an unsuccessful attempt to prevent the kingdom in which he lived from being conquered, Yuan drowned himself, and people tossed zongzi into the river to prevent fish from eating the poet's body.

Zongzi are often called "Chinese tamales" because they are wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves and thus resemble Western tamales. Inside the zongzi is glutinous rice and a filling. While the preparation, filling, and even the way the zongzi is wrapped varies between regions and families, this article provides a general overview and some specific recipes so you can enjoy these delicious "tamales". The work is well worth the product.

Method 1 of 3:
Traditional Zongzi

Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 1
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 1
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1
Prepare the glutinous rice and filling. This may require overnight soaking. Some recipes also suggest soaking the bamboo leaves overnight. [1] X Research source Glutinous rice goes by many names depending on country, culture or region: sticky rice, sweet rice, waxy rice, botan rice, mochi rice, biroin chal, and pearl rice. It's especially sticky when cooked. It does not contain gluten. Fillings are usually savory, but there are many, many variations: Skinless mung beans Red bean paste Jujubes Char siu (Chinese barbecue pork) Chinese Northern sausage Chinese black mushrooms Salted duck eggs/yolks Chestnuts Boiled peanuts Green beans Dried shrimp Scallops Chicken
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 2
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 2
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2
Boil the bamboo leaves. Let cool and pat dry.
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 3
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 3
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3
Scoop the rice onto the bamboo leaves.
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 4
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 4
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4
Scoop the filling onto the rice.
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 5
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 5
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5
Fold the leaves around the rice and filling and secure with twine. This is the trickiest part, so see the video illustrating one of the many ways you can wrap zongzi.
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 6
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 6
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6
Simmer the zongzi for 2 to 5 hours (as instructed by the recipe; it will depend on the filling).
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Method 2 of 3:
Zongzi with Pork and Chestnut Filling[2] X Research source

Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 7
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 7
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1
Gather your ingredients 5 cups glutinous rice 1/2 pound dried mung beans 20 dried chestnuts 1 tablespoon salt 1/8 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder 10 dried Chinese black mushrooms, soaked with stems removed and caps sliced 20 bamboo leaves 1/2 pound pork belly, sliced
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 8
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 8
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2
Add glutinous rice, mung beans and chestnuts to separate bowls.
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 9
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 9
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3
Add enough warm water to cover the ingredients in the bowls. Soak overnight.
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 10
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 10
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4
Drain the rice, mung beans and chestnuts before combining them in a large bowl. Do this after the ingredients have soaked overnight.
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 11
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 11
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5
Add the salt and five-spice and stir to coat.
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 12
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 12
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6
Soften mushrooms by pouring warm water over them. Cover and let stand approximately 20 minutes. Drain.
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 13
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 13
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7
Discard the mushroom stems and thinly slice the mushroom caps.
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 14
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 14
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8
Add bamboo leaves to a large pot.
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 15
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 15
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9
Pour in enough water to cover. Bring the water to a boil and let the leaves cool.
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 16
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 16
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10
Pat bamboo leaves dry before using to make the "tamales".
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 17
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 17
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11
Place 2 bamboo leaves, slightly overlapping, on a clean work surface.
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 18
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 18
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12
Add about 1/3 cup of the rice mixture in the center.
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 19
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 19
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13
Top each mound of rice with a slice of pork and 3 to 4 slices of mushrooms.
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 20
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 20
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14
Cover with about 2 tablespoons of rice and the mung bean mixture.
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 21
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 21
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15
Fold the leaves over the "tamale" filling to enclose the filling completely.
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 22
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 22
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16
Use kitchen twine or string to secure the "tamale".
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 23
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 23
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17
Place tamales in a large pot, pour in enough water to cover them, and bring to a boil.
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 24
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 24
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18
Lower the heat and cook until the tamales are tender, about 4 to 5 hours. Add more water, as needed, to keep the "tamales" covered with simmering water. Cook until the tamale filling feels tender when you squeeze it gently, four to five hours.
19
Drain the water from the "tamales" and serve warm.
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Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 25
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 25
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Method 3 of 3:
Sweet Zongzi

Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 26
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 26
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1
Gather your ingredients. 50 sheets of bamboo or reed leaves Glutinous rice (1 kilogram), about 2.2 pounds Chinese red dried dates (250 grams)
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 27
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 27
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2
Cover both rice and dates with water. Cover the bowl and let mixture soak for 12 hours or until thoroughly soaked.
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 28
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 28
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3
Wash the leaves.
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 29
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 29
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4
Lay out leaves on a cutting or chopping board.
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 30
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 30
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5
Fold the leaves flat at the leafstalk to make a sheet.
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 31
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 31
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6
Hold the sheet, fold it round in the middle and make a funnel till both ends are laid over each other in one direction.
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 32
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 32
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7
Add about 1/10 of a kilogram of rice and about 6 dates. Be sure to cover the dates with the rice.
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 33
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 33
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8
Fold the leaves up to seal the open side of the funnel and tie the bundle with a band made of twisted leaves.
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 34
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 34
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9
Put the tamales in a pot with water to cover. Make sure the tamales remain covered and pressed together during boiling.
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 35
Image titled Make Zongzi (Chinese Tamales) Step 35
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10
Boil tamales for about 2 hours or cook in a pressure cooker for about 40 minutes.
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