I like researching about Chinese dishes as most of them have a colourful legend on how it originated, like this dish called Zongzi. This dish is said to be a commemoration of the death of Qu Yuan, a very famous Chinese poet from the kingdom of Chu during the Warring States period. The poet is well known for his patriotism, it was said that Qu Yuan drowned himself in the Miluo River after grieving so hard when he was unsuccessful in trying to warn his king and countrymen against the expansion of their Qin neighbours. The legend stated that after had had drowned his countrymen had thrown packets of rice into the river to prevent the fishes from eating Qu Yuan body.

Zongzi or simply zong is a traditional Chinese dish that is made out of glutinous rice filled with a variety of ingredients like salted duck egg, pork belly, Chinese sausage, red bean and shiitake mushrooms wrapped in a flat leaf like bamboo, lotus, maize and banana to name some. It is traditionally consumed during the Dragon Boat Festival which usually fall on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar. There are two varieties where it can be served as a dessert or something savoury, for this post we will be doing a savoury version filled with red beans, pork and shiitake mushrooms.

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 5 cups glutinous rice
  • 250g red beans
  • 250g pork belly, sliced
  • 10 pcs shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated and sliced
  • ¼ tsp Chinese five spice powder
  • salt
  • 20 pcs prepared large leaves (bamboo, banana or corn husk)
  1. Place glutinous rice and red beans in separate bowls, add enough water to cover the ingredients then leave to soak for at least 24 hrs.
  2. Drain the rice and mung beans then combining them in a large bowl together with salt and five spice powder.
  3. If you are using bamboo leaves boil if first in hot water.
  4. Place leaves in a flat surface, if the leaves are small overlap them together.
  5. Spread ¼ cup of the rice mixture in the middle then top it with a slice of pork and 4 slices of mushrooms.
  6. Top it off with ¼ cup of rice mixture.
  7. Fold the leaves over the filling to enclose then using a cooking sting or kitchen twine secure leaves to prevent them from opening.
  8. Place zongzi in a large steamer then steam for around 5 hours in low heat.




14 Responses

  1. Wow, never seen anything like this before, looks so nice.
    🙂 Mandy

  2. Yummy! This looks so exotic 🙂

  3. Marnelli says:

    awesome! My friend gave some to me during the festival, a couple of months ago – and it was awesome. Now I can make it 😀

  4. Tessa says:

    What an interesting dish! I’m now curious about the sweet version!

  5. Great story, and very interesting, exotic dish. I’d love to try its sweet version!

  6. This made me stop and ponder for an entire minute, and then I got super hungry, and then I went to make it 🙂

  7. Karen says:

    This is something that I haven’t heard of but it sounds good. I have tell my husband about the name…two “z’s”, he will love it for scrabble. 🙂

  8. This is a new dish to me, but one I know I’d like. Really terrific stuff – thanks so much.

  9. How interesting and tasty looking!

  10. What a marvelous food–something I may have to try making, indeed–and also a tragic, romantic tale about its origins. Fascinating!

  11. Marissa says:

    My husband has been yearning for basuso. He said their grandma used to cook it but nobody in their family knows anymore. He says he thinks it’s kamoteng kahoy with brown sugar wrapped in leaves, shape is triangular. Will appreciate it so much if you can post recipe.

  12. Roy says:

    Were you able to find the recipe for basuso? I’ve been searching everywhere and all I get are definitions and pictures but sadly, no recipes.

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