Tag Archives: rice

Zongzi: A Recipe in Pictures

So. I promised you some real Chinese food and here it is! This is a snacky-type-thing called zongzi (pronounced dzong-zuh..kind of..my pronunciation is horrible), and  they are basically sticky rice and some kind of filling wrapped up in reed leaves and boiled. They are tastier than that description might sound. Zongzi is traditionally eaten during the Dragon Boat Festival which just so happens to be occuring the weekend after next. So you can make these and have your own little celebration at home! You can make them salty (usually with some kind of pork inside) or sweet (with red beans, or corn or nuts or whatever you like, really).

They are not at all difficult, but there is a certain technique to it, and they are rather time consuming. But I say, grab some friends, a bottle of wine (or disgustingly strong rice wine in our case.. mixed with orange juice because we’re classy like that..) and you’ll be amazed how fast it goes! These are one of my favorite things I’ve eaten so far in China, and I can’t wait to try all kinds of different combinations when I get home. Whoo!

our resident zongzi experts..

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Recently, I had reason to celebrate. Brett and I have been together for 3[!] years. Holy dang. I know that may not sound impressive to some of you (yes, I’m talking to you, parents-who-have-been-married-for-26-years), but for me? That’s a serious accomplishment. And since we’ve never bothered to celebrate any anniversaries before (in fact, we made up a date, but that’s normal right?) I thought we ought to at least recognize this one. So I decided to be fancy and nice and make dinner! [and possibly drink too much wine, I’m not telling.]

I had been wanting to make paella for-ev-errr and had a recipe bookmarked in my cookbook. So when searching through it to find something to make, lo and behold, the book fell open to the paella page! Perfect! I don’t know if I’ve ever had paella before this… but it sounded really good and looked a little fancy (I mean, it had shrimp and mussels.. can’t you call that a little fancy?) so decided to splurge on the saffron and go for it.

Turns out, my grocery store is not as well-stocked as I expected. I could find no chorizo, no saffron and no mussels. Hm. Issue. Okay, I figured, we have fresh fish that Brett just caught, we can use that instead of mussels (which I wasn’t entirely sure either of us liked anyway) and I can use portugese sausage instead of chorizo..but no saffron?! It seems like that would be kind of essential, right?!  After much searching and fretting and eyebrow scrunching and asking the workers oh-so-nicely-yet-with-a-slight-tone-of-desperation-and-urgency-and-yes-I-might-cry-if-you-don’t-have-saffron, I found both saffron and real chorizo. In the fancy section. Yeah, uh-huh that’s right, my grocery store has a separate section for fancy things. Why? Probably just so they can charge me more. But hey, I’m a sucker for fancy packaging so I bought. Mussels were still on the outs though, but I didn’t cry about it or anything. Really. Continue reading