The origins of making zong zi or chinese dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves can be found at wikipedia. This year, the festival fell on June 18, and I finally bought the bamboo leaves and made these on the 19th. Made some kan sui zong or otherwise known as jianshui zhong in mandarin, and added homemade red bean filling to it for this year's zhongzi jie. This is my first experience to be so close to raw ingredients for zong as neither mom or grandma made zong. Somehow zong magically appears every year during Duan Wu Jie and mom always knows which store has the best ones that year. That's why I felt like a duck out of water when it comes to making these chinese dumplings, especially with it comes to wrapping and tieing these guys!
Kan Sui Zhong is M's favorite as they are smaller than the savory ones. Made some with red bean filling after seeing the picture at this site. This is Amy Beh's recipe, and it looked simple enough to try. Since I had no idea what or where to find boraz (pansat or peng seh), and reading the definition of boraz almost freaked me out, I decided to omit that ingredient and try the recipe anyway. I also reduced the amount of lye water/alkaline in the recipe. Used a digital scale to help measure out the ingredients in metric.
500 gm glutinous rice, wash and soaked overnight; drain well
dried bamboo leaves, soaked in hot water overnight
3 litres water
3 tsp alkaline water
2-3 tsp boraz (omitted)
1 1/2 tbs alkaline water
Place 1/2 tsp yellow coloring into glutinous rice 1 hour before use. Drain well.
Using the bamboo leaf, fold into cone shape and fill 1 tbs of casing with rice. Add some homemade red bean paste and finish with 1 tbs of rice. Wrap into pyramid shape and tie securely with string.
Bring water to a boil. Add alkaline water. Put the bundles of dumplings into hot water and boil for 3 hours. Remove and hang to dry.
I like mine with gula melaka syrup!
Gula Mela syrup
250g gula Melaka, chopped
50g soft brown sugar
2 screwpine leaves, knotted
Bring to slow boil and stir till sugars are dissolved.
Also made azuki red bean paste using a recipe from Grace Young's cookbook Wisdom in the Chinese Kitchen
2 c azuki small red beans
1 c packed dark brown sugar
3 tsp vegetable oil
Wash the beans, cover the cold water, and soak overnight. Drain beans and discard water. Place beans in a saucepan, add 6 cups cold water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 1 hour, or until very soft. Monitor the pan to make sure water doesn't dry up. Drain and discard the water.
Place the beans in a food processor and process until smooth. Add brown sugar and process until just combined. In a medium saucepan, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add the bean paste and cook, stirring 2 to 3 minutes, or until the mixture is dry. Remove from heat. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator until ready to use; it will keep for 1 week.
Note: It took a while to get them wrapped and tied. There were 2 casualties where the zong didn't stay tied, but they were still wrapped. Dried them for a day and placed in ziplock bags in the freezer. Was going to wait till Saturday before trying one, but I couldn't resist (Sorry Ching!). So I opened one up today to try, and it had a mild 'kan sui' taste like the hongkong wonton noodles. Very surprised with how well it turned out. Now I have to venture onto savory ones next.