Summer Dragon Boat Festival Zongzi Wrapped Sticky Rice with Lily Bulb

5 hours
to prep

1 hour
to cook

8 servings

About this Recipe

One of my grandmas is from Guangdong Province. So, for this recipe, I added a vegan egg yolk filling because that’s what’s in zongzi there. I was also inspired to add dried lily bulbs to this dish from a Traditional Chinese Medicine sticky rice recipe; however, sticky rice is not to be confused with zongzi recipes, as they are two separate things.

Recipe Courtesy of Jessian Choy
Photo Courtesy of jaz Boler

Ingredients

  • 4 oz fresh or dried lily bulb
  • 33 fresh or dried bamboo leaves with no tears (I added extra because if you accidentally break one, you might need to use a new leaf)
  • ½ cup dried mung beans
  • 1 teaspoon kala namak salt
  • 16 fresh or dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 4 cups uncooked short grain sticky rice (also called glutinous rice or sweet rice)
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oil of choice (I use untoasted sesame oil)

Instructions:

About 3–6 hours before:

  1. In a pot that can fit at least 11 cups of water, boil bamboo leaves for 5 minutes with 1 tablespoon of oil so rice doesn’t stick to bamboo leaves when you cook or eat zongzi. 
  2. Soak rice and dried bamboo leaves separately so that the water line is ½ inch above.
  3. Cover rice with a lid or plate and put in the refrigerator.
  4. Submerge bamboo leaves with a plate.   
  5. Cover mung beans with 2 inches of water.

3–6 hours later, prepare mushrooms:

  1. If using fresh shiitake mushrooms, rinse mushrooms and remove mushroom stems.  
  2. If using dried shiitake mushrooms, soak in hot water for 10 minutes. 
  3. Gently squeeze out water from the mushrooms. 

Prepare lily bulbs: 

  1. If using fresh lily bulb, tear into segments. Blanch in hot water then remove them. 
  2. If using dried lily bulb, soak in hot water for 20 minutes then remove them. 

Marinate shiitake mushrooms and lily bulbs in soy sauce, ginger and oil. Add more soy sauce as desired.

Prepare vegan egg yolks:

  1. Scoop out mung beans with a ladle strainer into a large pot with a lid that can hold at least 11 cups of water. 
  2. Add 3.5 cups of water.
  3. Partially cover with lid and bring to a boil.
  4. Uncover the lid and reduce heat and simmer until beans are tender, about 30 minutes.
  5. Scoop out mung beans with a ladle strainer into a bowl. Add kala namak salt to taste. Mash with a fork.
  6. Cover the pot with its lid.

Take the soaked rice out of the refrigerator. 

Prepare bamboo leaves:

  1. Clean each bamboo leaf with a towel, shaking off excess water. 
  2. Wrap the bamboo into zongzi (See Notes for tips on how to do this).
  3. Cradle the cone you formed in your hand with the bamboo leaves.
  4. Put ¼ cup rice into the bottom of the cone.
  5. Put 23 tablespoons of mung bean mix on top.
  6. Put 2 shiitake mushrooms on top.
  7. Put ¼ cup rice on top.
  8. Fold bamboo leaves.
  9. Seal with a thin strip of bamboo leaf or kitchen string. Don’t tie the string too tight. That way, the rice can expand while it’s boiled. 

Put all the zongzi in the same large pot where you cooked the mung beans. If you need to add more water to the  mung bean water, fill until water is about 2 inches above the top of all zongzi. Add a tablespoon of salt to the water to preserve the flavor of the zongzi while it cooks.

Use the lid to partially cover the pot. Turn on medium-to-high heat.

Once the water boils, turn the heat to low/medium-low, and let it simmer for at least one hour.

Check every 5 minutes or so to make sure water is still above the zongzi. If there are large bubbles of water boiling, turn the heat down. If not, add hot water.

Notes

  • Eat everything but the bamboo leaves.

  • If you have leftovers, refrigerate them and eat them within four days. Re-boil for 1520 minutes. You can also freeze them; to reheat, first defrost the zongzi by taking it out of the freezer a few hours prior to cooking time. Re-boil for 1520 minutes.