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台式肉粽 Taiwanese Style ZongZi

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Zongzi is a triangle shaped sticky rice dumpling most commonly wrapped in bamboo leaves.

It’s a delicious comfort food that is enjoyed especially during Dragon Boat Festival, one of the biggest holidays in East Asia. Streets in Taiwan are often lined with big pots boiling or steaming these delicious rice triangles and racks and racks of these dumplings are hanging and being sold by the bundle. This recipe is closer to a Southern Taiwanese style rice dumpling, with the rice dumplings being boiled instead of steamed, the rice dumplings are filled with braised pork, salted duck egg yolk, shiitake mushroom, peanuts and chestnut; they’re savory and delicious.

Prep Time

Cook Time

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¼ cup skin-on dried peanuts
Salt for soaking peanuts
1 pack of large dried bamboo leaves (you’ll need about 1-2 bundles out of the package)
10 dried shiitake mushroom
10 salted duck egg yolk (鹹蛋黃)
Cooking rice wine (米酒)
½ cup frozen fresh chestnut
4 cups long grain sticky rice
½ cup lard, divided
10 Asian small shallots (about 2 cups sliced)
½ cup medium dried shrimp(蝦米)
1½ pounds pork belly, cut into 1-inch x 2-inch pieces
2 cups water
¾ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon five spice powder
½ teaspoon ground white pepper
½ teaspoon salt
Taiwanese Style ZongZi
10 (2½-foot) thin cotton twines, folded in half and tied with a knot on top to make 20 strands of twine


For the Prep

  1. Soak peanuts in salt brine (ratio of 1 part salt to 4 parts water) overnight.

  2. Soak dried bamboo leaves overnight. Cut off the top and the bottom, about 1 inch on both ends so it’s easier to fold later.

  3. Soak dried shiitake mushrooms in warm water until soft (30 minutes), remove stems and cut in half or quarter if the mushrooms are big.

  4. Cut salted egg yolk in half, spray with rice wine (michu) and bake at 350°F for 5 minutes.

  5. Clean and steam frozen chestnuts for 10 minutes.

  6. Wash and drain rice, set aside.

For the Filling

  1. Add mushroom pieces to a dry wok over medium-high heat. Stir fry until fragrant, about 1 minute, remove from wok. Set aside.

  2. Peel and slice shallots into thin pieces.

  3. Add lard to wok over medium heat. Add shallots. Slowly cook and fry the shallots until crispy and golden. Remove the crispy shallots from the wok with slotted spoon. Let cool.

  4. To same wok over low heat, add dried shrimp. Slowly fry on low until they’re golden and fragrant, remove from the wok. Set aside.

  5. Add pork belly to the wok, stir fry on medium until the color has turned, the meat doesn’t have to be cooked.

  6. Add water, soy sauce, sugar, five spice powder, white pepper and salt. Braise 20 minutes on medium-low heat, adding water during the process to make sure pork is covered.

  7. Add the shiitake mushroom to pork. Braise another 10 minutes. Remove pork and shiitake mushroom from broth. Set aside.

  8. Drain rice. Stir into broth. Turn the heat to medium, stir fry the rice in the broth until all the liquid has been absorbed. Add shrimp and fried shallots. Mix well. Remove from the wok and set aside, let cool.

For the Taiwanese Style ZongZi

  1. Fold soaked and softened bamboo leaves, fill it with one small spoon of rice, a small scoop of peanuts, one of each condiment, and top it with rice. It should only be 80% full as the rice will expand when boiled.

  2. Close bamboo leaves and tie with twine. Repeat until all the ingredients are used.

  3. Bring a large pot of water to boil, place the wrapped ZongZi rice dumplings in the boiling water with lid on, making sure all the rice dumplings are submerged in water. Boil the rice dumplings 90 minutes and up to 3 hours depending on how you prefer your rice- harder or softer and stickier.

  4. Remove rice dumplings and enjoy!

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Zongzi is not just a dish, it holds significant cultural and symbolic value.
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