|Now that we have finished our story and the zongzi are ready, dinner can be served.
It takes quite a long time to make the zongzi. The first long step is to soak the leaves overnight to soften them until they are pliable. Glutinous rice, or sticky rice as it is also called, is boiled on the stove. The rice, when properly prepared, sticks together in balls but pieces can easily be broken off by chopsticks. It has a faintly sweeter flavor than ordinary rice. Sticky rice is often used in sweet dishes for this reason, plus it's easier to eat with chopsticks and holds fillings better.
After the rice has been prepared, various fillings or flavors are added. Meats and eggs of every description are used for some. The most common form is the bean paste zongzi. Red bean paste is surrounded by a ball of rice so it forms the center and then wrapped in the zongzi leaves. The whole thing is boiled again to spread the flavorings through the rice. The zongzi can be eaten hot or at room temperature.
Last update: September 2009 2008
© Marilyn Shea, 2009