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Monday, June 14, 2010

Chinese Festival : Zongzi (粽子)

Another year has passed and here we are again, it’s Zong Zi( 粽子) time. Zongzi Zong zi is made of glutinous rice stuffed with different fillings and wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves, then you need to boil it for hours. Usually zong zi is traditionally eaten during the Dragon Boat Festival (Duan Wu).
Actually zong zi is one of many traditional Chinese foods that are intended to honor either the Gods or divine persons in history. This meant to honor Qu Yuan (340-278 BC), a famous Chinese poet from the kingdom of Chu who lived during the Warring States period.
Qu Yuan
Qu Yuan was a famous poet who was also concerned about the fate of his government. Unfortunately his stature aroused the jealousy of the king, who banished him to a remote area. The poet despaired of the government and its policies. When the state's capital was captured by enemies, he committed suicide by drowning himself in the Miluo River (on May 5th according to the Chinese lunar calendar). The Chinese people felt this loss deeply, as he was a much beloved poet. Local folk searched for him in the river, meanwhile dropping dumplings of glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves into the river in order to keep the fishes from attacking Qu Yuan's body.
Qu Yuan02Since that time, it has been customary on this day to enjoy Zong Zi dumplings as a memorial to the patriotic poet.
Making zong zi need some hand skill as well, because if you didn’t tie it well, the filling will drop out while you boil them. Besides that, patience is a must as well haha…because you need to boil them for at least 5 hours (that’s what we do at home). I always love to see how my mom wrap them one by one…she have that skill and she did it very well and very fast. I tried it before but failed >.<
Months before this festival, mom always buy duck eggs and soak them in damp salted charcoal to make them become salted duck egg (mom only use the egg yolk).
Mom’s zong zi recipes and wrap skill are passed down through families. That’s why the most delicious zong zi for our family are always zong zi from my grandma and my mom. (Really going to miss my grandma’s zong zi. We don’t have any chance to taste her zong zi anymore – my grandma just passed away last month T^T)
For us, glutinous rice must be lightly precooked by stir frying them with dark and light sauce first to make it tastier and mouth-watery looked.
The filling used in mom’s zong zi :
- mung beans, chinese barbeque pork, chinese sausage, salted duck eggs,dried shrimp, chinese black mushrooms and chili-padi.
Being far away from home, luckily it is very convenient to buy zong zi nowadays. However homemade zong zi by mom is the best (home sweet home). Anyway I got two zong zi from my boss’s wife and she is Chinese Indonesia and her zong zi’s taste is quite similar as my hometown’s taste. She gave all of us two zong zi for each person (she is a very good cook and kind, because she love to share her foods with us haha…btw thanks a lot:), one is traditional one (like mom’s zong zi) and the other one is nyonya zong zi (haven’t taste this one, going to eat it on 16 this Wed :P~ to merries zong zi’s festival hehehe)
DSC_1056 DSC_1095
Going to post the nyonya fyen[8]‘s dumpling before I ate that hehe:P

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