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Xiamen style Zongzi for the Dragon Boat Festival

Xiamen style Zongzi for the Dragon Boat Festival
Zongzi are tamale like steamed rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves that are customarily eaten during the Dragon Boat Festival (Duanwu Jie).  Each region of China has its own special form of zongzi. Here in southern China you will find pork soaked in soy sauce or bean paste in the middle of the glutinous rice. Some will then have the addition of local peanuts and or tiny dried shrimp.  In Beijing zongzi is often found with dried dates. A plain zongzi, is made with glutinous rice and designed to be eaten with honey or sugar. In the weeks leading up to the festival, Zongzi fill the streets of Jimei.
Bakeries, warehouse stores, hotels, everyone wants in on the zongzi frenzy.  My favorite place to get them are at the little stands in the market that specialize in street food.

Soaking Banana leaves for Zongzi
Zongzi on the streets of Jimei

Xiamen style Zongzi for the Dragon Boat Festival


This recipe is adapted from What's On Xiamen


  • Large steamer  
  • Large pot (for boiling rice)
  • Wok or large stir fry pan
  • Chinese strainer with handle 
  • Cotton string




  • 1 cup peanuts Xiamen style Zongzi for the Dragon Boat Festival
  • 1 cup dried shrimp
  • Dried bamboo leaves (24X2) 
  • Dried shitake mushrooms (12 whole) 
  • 2 lbs of pork shoulder butt 
  • 2.5 lbs of Sweet Rice, cooked
  • Salted, aged egg yolk (as many as desired, 1 per zongzi)
  • Chinese 5 spice powder,
  • white pepper
  • Oyster sauce or mushroom oyster sauce
  • Cooking wine 
  • Cooking oil 
  • Garlic
  • Sugar

In a bowl mix together 1/4 cup dark soy sauce, shaoxing wine, sugar, salt, ginger and spring onions. Add pork pieces, shrimp and dried mushrooms.  Allow to marinade for up to 24 hours, minimum 2 Xiamen style Zongzi for the Dragon Boat Festivalhours. Add remaining 1/4 cup dark soy sauce to sticky rice and mix well until grains are well coated. Bring a large pot of water to the boil, immerse bamboo leaves and boil for three minutes until leaves become soft, drain.

Take a bamboo leaf and hold it with the spine facing up. Fold the leaf approximately one third of the way along its length. Fold again, this time lengthways as shown, open out the base of the folds to form a cup

Fill with 1-2 spoonfuls of coated sticky rice mixes with shrimp and peanuts.  Add a piece of marinated pork and a mushroom, then another 1-2 spoonfuls of riceHolding the filled portion in the cup of your hand, fold the long part of the leaf over the topTuck in both sides of the parcel, then pinch the overhanging leaf together and fold sideways as shown

Holding parcel firmly, wrap tightly with string and knot to fastenBring a large pot of water to the boil, add zongzi so they are fully submergedSimmer for two hours (water will darken due to dark soy sauce), then drainWhile still hot snip string wth scissors and unwrap Zongzi for the Dragon Boat Festival

(can be frozen, uncooked, for up to one month)

More rice recipes to love:

More of My China Odessy

  Jennifer and Thilia with Zongzi

Photo Credit:  Julie Cecchini



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daniel karanja

Looks like a very interesting dish.

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