Eating zongzi at the Dragon Boat Festival is a favorite of many people and part of our national history and culture, but how much do you know about the origins of zongzi. There are various kinds of zongzi in the market, how they are made, and how long a zongzi has to be steamed before it is cooked. I think we are all curious about these, so let’s follow the next to see the knowledge about zongzi!
Introduction of Zongzi
The Chinese people have been known for their traditional festive food. Zongzi appeared as early as the Spring and Autumn Period and were initially used to worship ancestors and spirits. By the Jin Dynasty, zongzi became a Dragon Boat Festival food. Zongzi has spread far and wide as one of the most historically and culturally rich traditional foods in China. Zongzi is also eaten in Japan, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, and Myanmar, where Chinese people live.
The origins of Zongzi
According to legend, zongzi was created as a tribute to Qu Yuan, who threw himself into the river and were given to each other as a memento of that day.
As early as the Spring and Autumn period, rice was wrapped in a horn shape with mushroom leaves and called “horned millet”; rice was sealed and baked in bamboo tubes and called “tube zong.” In the late Eastern Han Dynasty, millet was soaked in grass ash water, and because the water contained alkali, millet was wrapped in a four-horned shape and cooked using millet leaves, known as Guangdong alkaline Zongzi. A small number of stuffed Zongzi appeared in the same period. The most popular was the pork dumpling.
Zongzi was officially designated as Dragon Boat Festival food in the Jin Dynasty. At this time, the raw materials used to wrap the zongzi and glutinous rice also added the Chinese herbal medicine puzzle nuts, cooked zongzi called “puzzle zongzi.” The rice is mixed with meat of rare birds and animals, chestnuts, etc., and the variety increases. Zongzi is also used as a gift for communication.
The Dragon Boat Festival is a traditional festival that has been passed down in China for thousands of years and is a reflection of the deep historical and cultural heritage of the Chinese nation. And over the centuries, the culture of the Dragon Boat Festival has evolved, but one custom is as constant as the soul of the Festival, and that is eating zongzi. The custom of eating zongzi at the Dragon Boat Festival has been prevalent in China for thousands of years and has spread to Korea, Japan, and Southeast Asian countries, so why should we eat zongzi at the Dragon Boat Festival? The origin of eating zongzi at the Dragon Boat Festival has many sayings, the most widely circulated one is to commemorate the Qu Yuan said.
Legend has it that Qu Yuan threw himself into the river on the fifth day of the fifth month. The people were all lamenting and mourning, so they rowed boats to salvage Qu Yuan’s body, which is also the origin of the custom of dragon boating; to prevent fish and shrimp from eating Qu Yuan’s body, so they put rice and grain into the river, Qu Yuan told the people in a dream that rice and grain into the river, the river was eaten by the dragon, if wrapped in mugwort leaves, and then tied to the five-colored rope, it can prevent the dragon from eating, because the dragon is afraid of neem leaves and green silk, and thus the birth of the food zongzi.
The Dragon Boat Festival is a celebration of the patriotic poet Qu Yuan, and by eating zongzi, people can promote traditional culture and learn to carry forward the patriotic spirit of the poet Qu Yuan and his family’s sentiments.
Types of zongzi for the Dragon Boat Festival
The Dragon Boat Festival is a traditional festival in China, and the custom of eating zongzi has remained unchanged for thousands of years. Our country is vast and extensive, so the types and flavors of zongzi are exceptionally varied, forming different flavors of zongzi around the country.
1. Honey cold Zongzi
The most traditional and popular in Shaanxi is the honey cold Zongzi, honey cold Zongzi made of glutinous rice, shaped like a diamond horn, white and glittering like jade, calm and relief from the heat, eaten with silk thread or bamboo knife cut into small pieces, placed in a dish, drizzled with honey or flower syrup, taste tendons soft and excellent, aromatic and delicious.
2. Grasswood ash brown
This is a custom in Yunnan and Guizhou, where a plant similar to lemongrass is burnt into ash and mixed with glutinous rice to make Zongzi, which are not bitter but have a unique fragrance and help with digestion.
3. Steamed Zongzi
The steamed rice dumpling is a type from Guangdong wrapped in whole winter leaves and extremely large, generally weighing more than a catty.
4. Pillow Zongzi
Pillow Zongzi, also known as Huzhou Zongzi, are special long Zongzi from the Huzhou region, named after the pillow-like shape.
5. Four Square Zongzi
These are made in Yunnan with a tropical flavor, using banana, or lotus leaves to wrap glutinous rice, green rice, and pork, and can be sliced and baked, fried, or dipped in sauce.
6. Jiaxing Zongzi
Jiaxing Zongzi is quadrangular in shape and is available in fresh meat, bean paste, and eight-pot varieties. Most places in Zhejiang, especially in the mountainous areas of western Zhejiang, have traditionally used sweet tea to cook Zongzi, tea rice, and tea congee for generations.
7. Roast meat Zongzi
They are made with marinated pork, mushrooms, shrimps, lotus seeds, marinated pork soup, sugar, and other ingredients. They are dipped in various condiments such as garlic paste, mustard chili, red chili sauce, and turnip sour.
8. Alkaline Zongzi
The glutinous rice is soaked for at least four hours and then drained, and then mixed with lye oil until the rice is light yellow.
Beijing zongzi is a representative variety of northern zongzi, which are small and obliquely quadrangular in shape. In the rural northern suburbs, it is customary to eat large yellow Zongzi, sticky and fragrant and mostly filled with red dates and bean paste.
Guangdong Zongzi is large and chic in shape. In addition to fresh meat Zongzi and bean paste Zongzi, there is also assorted Zongzi filled with diced chicken, duck, barbecued pork, egg yolk, mushrooms, and mung bean paste.
Southern Fujian Zongzi.
Xiamen and Quanzhou are famous at home and abroad for their roasted meat and lye Zongzi. The rice used in these Zongzi is of the highest quality, and the pork is brined to aroma and taste with mushrooms, shrimps, lotus seeds, brine broth, sugar, etc. The Zongzi are dipped in various condiments such as garlic paste, mustard, red chili sauce, and radish acid.
Ningbo Zongzi is quadrangular in shape and comes in varieties such as lye Zongzi, red bean Zongzi, and red date Zongzi. The usual array, alkaline water zongzi, is made by adding the right amount of alkaline water to glutinous rice and wrapping it with old yellow Ruo leaves. When cooked, the glutinous rice turns light yellow and can be dipped in sugar for a delicious aroma.
Jiaxing zongzi are rectangular and come in varieties such as fresh meat, bean paste, and eight treasures. For example, the fresh meat Zongzi is often made with a piece of fatty beef sandwiched inside the lean meat.
Suzhou Zongzi is mostly long and thin, quadrangular in shape, with varieties of fresh meat, jujube paste, and bean paste, and features elaborate ingredients and fine production.
Spicy Zongzi is made in Sichuan, with a unique flavor due to its elaborate and complex production process.
The zongzi wrapped in yellow sticky rice is sticky and glutinous, sandwiched by red dates for a unique flavor.
Unlike the northern Zongzi, it is wrapped in a square cone by banana leaves and weighs about half a kilo, with salted egg yolk, barbecued pork, bacon, and braised chicken wings.
With a solid southern Fujian flavor, there are wide varieties, including white Zongzi, green bean Zongzi, barbecued pork Zongzi, eight treasure Zongzi, and roast pork Zongzi.
How to make Zongzi for the Dragon Boat Festival
The traditional custom is to eat zongzi at the Dragon Boat Festival. In the past, the family would be their zongzi, although now the bought zongzi is more delicious and convenient, but the family together with the zongzi or more fragrant, then how to package zongzi?
Ingredients: rice dumpling leaves (Ruo leaves, Shuusu leaves, red leaves, etc.), rice dumpling filling (according to preference), glutinous rice, seasoning (MSG, sugar, wine, salt, soy sauce, etc.)
1: Wash the palm leaves, cut off the roots, and take out two dumpling leaves.
2: Put the two rice dumpling leaves together slightly and fold them into the shape of a funnel, taking care to keep the bottom tight to avoid leaking out when putting in the glutinous rice.
3: Fill the funnel with glutinous rice and the filling separately and compact it. In some regions, the glutinous rice and the filling are separated, while in others, the packing, such as pork, is mixed with the glutinous rice and put in directly.
4: Cover the extra rice dumpling leaves with glutinous rice and tie them with a string, taking care to secure them firmly. Otherwise, they may fall apart when they are put into the pot.
5: After the Zongzi is wrapped, put it into the pressure cooker and wait for some time before it comes out of the oven.
Note: The taste of zongzi varies from region to region, but the method of wrapping is primarily similar, except for the filling inside, which can be deployed according to your own and your family’s preferences.
Tips for making Zongzi for the Dragon Boat Festival
If you don’t know how to do it, likely, you won’t be able to make delicious Zongzi, so how can you do it?
1. the selection of materials for the rice dumpling leaves
The leaves used to wrap the Zongzi vary from region to region, with the southern part using Ruo leaves, bamboo, or reed leaves, and the Hainan Island region of China also uses a unique plant called Shuu leaves, which are usually triangular and are cone-shaped or square-shaped. In the Central Plains, the leaves used to wrap zongzi are mostly mistletoe leaves, which are rectangular.
2. Seasoning of zongzi filling
Generally, savory meat Zongzi is made by rubbing fresh pork with a little MSG, sugar, wine, salt, and soy sauce until the seasoning seeps into the pork before wrapping.
3. Tying of Zongzi
The bean paste Zongzi should not be tied too tightly to prevent the rice grains from being squeezed into the bean paste, which can become entrapped if not cooked thoroughly. Salted pork Zongzi should not be tied tightly if fatty pork is used but should be tied loosely enough. If you use lean pork, you should secure it tightly, as the lean meat will shrink when it is cooked, and the fatty juice of the dumpling will leak into the water, which will not keep the Zongzi fat sticky.
4. Cooking Zongzi
Boil the Zongzi only after the water has rolled, soak the water over the dumpling surface, and then boil them for about 3 hours on a high fire after they have moved again. Don’t add raw water during the boiling process, and take them out while they are still hot.
Dragon Boat Festival eating zongzi precautions
Although the zongzi is good, eating zongzi should also pay attention because the heat of zongzi is relatively high. An ordinary salty meat zongzi, containing about a bowl of rice, calories about 400 to 500 calories, so you should not overeat. In addition, also pay attention to.
1. The main ingredient of Zongzi is glutinous rice, which has a high branched chain starch content. Cold Zongzi will age back to life, and the intermolecular coagulation will be strengthened, making them less digestible.
2. Eating Zongzi with vegetables and fruits is advisable to help intestinal and gastric motility and avoid indigestion in the intestinal and gastrointestinal tracts caused by eating Zongzi.
3. Zongzi should be heated sufficiently and cooked hot and soft before eating.
4. Zongzi is a staple food and is most suitable for breakfast, as they are usually eaten with a low appetite and a small amount of food.
5. people with stomach problems eating Zongzi can choose white Zongzi, gallstones, cholecystitis, and pancreatitis patients do not eat meat Zongzi, egg yolk Zongzi, and other Zongzi with high fat and protein content.
Notes on eating Zongzi
1. it is best not to eat zongzi in the morning
It is a traditional custom to eat zongzi as the Dragon Boat Festival approaches, and the leaves are fragrant. Many people like to eat zongzi and eat zongzi daily for breakfast. Individual people who love zongzi even give up the main meal. All the time, eat zongzi as rice.
It takes at least six hours for food to be digested from the stomach to the intestines. Eating them early in the morning will stay in your stomach for more extended periods, stimulating the secretion of gastric acid, which may lead to chronic gastric disease and stomach ulcers. Although Zongzi can be eaten cold, they are complicated, and it is advisable to take them out of the fridge and heat them sufficiently to soften them before eating them. It is worth noting that Zongzi should never be eaten as a midnight snack before bed. Otherwise, they will not be easily digested if left in the stomach overnight.
It is advisable to eat Zongzi with a cup of tea to help swallowing and digestion; eat them a little at a time, and it is recommended that small mini Zongzi can be chosen. It is also recommended that Zongzi be eaten lightly. If you have stomach problems, choose white Zongzi, don’t stick to sugar, and don’t eat too sweet. For patients with gallstones, cholecystitis, and pancreatitis, it is recommended not to eat meat Zongzi, egg yolk Zongzi, too greasy, fat, protein too high Zongzi, may cause indigestion, flatulence so that the acute disease attack.
2. Zongzi can relieve the summer heat, but eating more is not advisable
In Chinese medicine, the reed leaves and lotus leaves used to wrap zongzi are good medicines to clear heat and relieve summer heat. According to Chinese medicine, we enter the hottest summer months after the Dragon Boat Festival. Due to the unbearable suffering of summer, people commonly suffer from fire and heatstroke, and eating zongzi at this time is indeed a good “medicine” to relieve heatstroke.
Although there is a wide range of fillings available in the market, Prof. Chang advises people from the point of view of the TCM diet: as dates are sweet and warm, they have the effect of nourishing the middle of the body and nourishing the blood and calming the mind, while chestnuts have the effect of feeding the air, strengthening the spleen and benefiting the kidneys.
Although zongzi is a fresh product for the festive season, eating it improperly can also hurt. The main ingredient is glutinous rice, which is not digestible and can cause bloating and diarrhea due to damage to the spleen and stomach, so the elderly, children, and people with poor digestion should not eat them. Even those with a strong spleen and stomach should follow the principle of “eat less, eat more.” If you pack your Zongzi for the holidays, you must grasp the guide of “now pack, now eat,” while frozen Zongzi purchased from supermarkets should be steamed and cooked thoroughly before eating.
3. Healthy ways to eat Zongzi
Chinese people are fond of drinking hot tea. A cup of fragrant and warm aromatic tea can help you relieve the heat and eliminate food, which is a delicious healthy drink. Therefore, according to this principle, you can make a cup of hot tea when eating zongzi, which will help you to lift the grease of zongzi.