On today’s menu we have a very traditional Chinese recipe, Zong Zi. I know a lot of people are unfamiliar with this recipe, but it is quite common in China! I grew up begging my mom to make this for me, and it only happened a couple times a year. If you get a change I definitely recommend trying these out because they are probably one of my favorite foods.
If you don’t know what a zong zi is, it is basically marinated sticky rice with some pork filling all wrapped in some bamboo leaves. Most of the recipes I have on my site are super easy and quick to make, however, this ones takes some love and patience. You want to start prepping your ingredients the night before! The bamboo leaves and rice need to be soaked in water so that they are ready to use the day of. The pork should also be marinating to soak in all that salty flavor!
Key ingredients for these Zong Zis
- Bamboo leaves
- These are SUPER important for this recipe because this add so much flavor to the rice while cooking. It may be intimidating to use these, but they are actually very easy to wrap. Once you get the hang of it, you will be flying through the wrapping process. You can find these at and Asian supermarket or here on amazon.
- Short grain sweet rice
- This is also known as sticky rice. It is super important to get this type of rice. Other kinds of rice will not be as sticky, and the zong zis will most likely fall apart. You can get this at any Asian supermarket or on amazon here.
- Pork shoulder
- I definitely recommend this cut of pork or pork butt. These a juicer cuts that add so much flavor! The night before you should marinate the pork with the pork marinade in the recipe below.
- Soy sauce
- This is key in both the rice and pork marinade! It just adds a delicious salty, umami flavor!
- Shaoxing wine
- This is a essential in Chinese cooking for marinating meat. It adds a vinegary, Carmel flavor that helps balance out the meaty flavor. If you do not have this on hand you can substitute it with dry sherry, mirin, or chicken stock if you want to keep alcohol out of it. I got my Shaoxing wine on amazon, but there are tons at any Asian market.
- This helps balance the saltiness from the soy sauce, and it adds a beautiful sweet flavor to both the rice and pork.
Authentic Chinese Zong Zi
- 48-50 bamboo leaves
- 3 ⅕ lbs short grain sweet rice
- 2 lbs pork shoulder
- Kitchen twine
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ cup soy sauce
- 2 tbs Shaoxing wine
- 1 tsp white pepper
- 2 ½ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- The night before soak the dried bamboo leaves in a large bowl. Make sure that there is 2-3 inches of water on top of the leaves. Soak the rice with 3-4 inches of water above the rice. Cut the pork up into 1"x2" cubes. Marinate the pork with soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, white pepper, salt, sugar and sesame oil. Make sure the pork marinade is wet, and cover every piece of pork.
- The next day, drain the rice and season the rice with soy sauce, sugar, and salt. Take the bamboo leaves and cut off the tips of the bamboo leaves. Take two of the bamboo leaves and over lap them making sure that half of each leaf is overlapped. Take on end of the bamboo leaves and fold it in to make a cone shape. Follow the tutorial in the video below on how to fold the bamboo leaves.
- Fill the tip of the cone shape with some rice, then place 2-3 pieces of pork on top of the rice. Then cover the pork with more rice. Fold the remaining part of the leaf over the rice and them tie it tight with the kitchen twine. Follow the video to see how to fold the leaves and tie the zong zi tight.
- Place as many zong zi's in an pressure cooker pot. Cover the zong zi's with water, then pressure cook them under the poultry setting for 1 hour.
- Let them cool slightly and enjoy!