Thursday, November 24, 2011

Rice Dumpling(Ba Zhang or Zongzi)

Zongzi, a pyramid-shaped mass of glutinous rice wrapped in leaves, is eaten by people at Duanwu Festival(Dragon Boat Festival), May 5th in Chinese lunar calendar each year. The origins of rice dumplings are traced to the legend of Qu Yuan, a well-loved poet who drowned himself in a river. To stop the fish from eating his body, people made rice dumplings and threw them into the river. Another version of the legend states that the dumplings were made to placate a dragon that lived in the river.

Zongzi originally is called Bamboo Tube Zong the fillings wrapped into a bamboo tube. Later, it gradually develops with various shapes, like triangle-shape, pagoda-shape, and cudgel-shape, ect. And more and more materials can be made of fillings, providing all kinds of flavor. At present, Zongzi is not only a kind of traditional food at Duanwu Festival, but also become a common food in daily for its delicate taste.

Dumpling Type:
Generally, Zongzi can be divided into 4 types: Beiping Zongzi, tasted sweet; Guangdong Zongzi, used all kinds of materials and cost the longest time in making among the four; Taiwan Zongzi, mainly made by meat; and Huzhou Zongzi, having two flavors of sweet and salty

The dumplings need to be steamed or boiled for several hours and one superstition says that dumplings will never cook if a pregnant woman enters the kitchen whilst they are being steamed. Dumplings may also be frozen for later consumption, but must be boiled instead of steamed when stored in this fashion.

The Zongzi that you find in Sibu is mixture of everything. The common one will be the meat dumpling which show in the 2nd picture above. It usually make with pork, sausages, Chinese mushrooms, salted egg, and chestnuts. Other filling like peanut is quite common. This is the salty version.

Sweet version you can get the filling with red beans paste or mashed yellow beans.

Some types of zongzi contain no filling at all, in which case they are usually eaten with sugar or kaya(coconut egg jam).

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