The tradition of eating zongzi (sticky rice parcels) during the Dragon Boat Festival is still very much alive. The festival is held to honour Qu Yuan, a patriotic poet who threw himself into a river 2000 years ago, when he heard the kingdom of Chu had been conquered. To protect Qu Wan’s body from being eaten by fish, people threw rice-wrapped parcels into the river while boats tried to retrieve the body of the beloved poet.
- 400 g (2 cups) glutinous rice, soaked for 1 hour
- 1 tbsp peanut oil
- 2.5 cm piece ginger, finely shredded
- 1 tbsp dried shrimp (see Note), soaked in hot water for 20 minutes, drained
- 2 (400 g) chicken thigh fillets, chopped
- 2 (60 g) dried Chinese pork sausages (see Note) or rindless shortcut bacon rashers, sliced
- 1 tbsp Chinese rice wine (see Note) or dry sherry
- 4 large dried black mushrooms (see Note), soaked in hot water for 20 minutes, drained, sliced
- 4 spring onions, sliced, plus extra, to serve
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 4 dried lotus leaves (see Note), trimmed, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes, drained
- chilli oil, to serve
Spring onion vinegar
- 2 tbsp malt vinegar
- 60 ml (¼ cup) rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- ½ tsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 cm piece ginger, finely shredded
- 2 spring onions, finely shredded
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Soaking time 1 hour
DRINK 2011 Josef Chromy Pepik Pinot Noir, Tas ($20)
To make spring onion vinegar, place vinegars, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar and ginger in a bowl, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add spring onions and set aside.
Line a large steamer with baking paper. Drain rice, then spread evenly over the top and steam for 40 minutes or until translucent. Set aside.
Heat peanut oil in a wok over high heat. Add ginger, shrimp, chicken and sausages, and cook for 4 minutes or until meat is cooked through. Add Chinese rice wine and mushrooms, and cook for a further minute or until wine has evaporated.
Add rice, spring onions, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar and season with salt and white pepper. Mix well to combine and cook for a further minute. Remove from heat.
Pat lotus leaves dry with paper towel. Divide rice mixture among lotus leaves, then fold in sides (not too tightly), fold up edges and roll up, securing with kitchen string. Place rice parcels in a large bamboo steamer set over a saucepan of gently simmering water and steam for 20 minutes or until soft to the touch.
Serve glutinous rice parcels with spring onion vinegar, chilli oil and extra spring onions.
• Dried shrimp, dried anchovies (ikan bilis), frozen shredded coconut and Asian red eschalots are available from Asian food shops.
• Dried Chinese pork sausages (lap cheong) and dried black mushrooms are available from Asian food shops and the Asian section of select supermarkets.
• Chinese rice wine (Shaoxing) is available from select supermarkets and Asian food shops.
• Dried lotus leaves are from Asian food shops and select florists (use unsprayed leaves). Substitute baking paper.
Photography by Chris Chen. Drinks suggestions by Dan Coward.