My sister-in-law’s mother makes the best jong 粽 I’ve ever tasted, so I asked her to show me how. This video reveals the fun techniques behind this delicious traditional Dragon Boat Festival recipe.
Often the amazing delights of authentic Chinese food shines during festival seasons. Just like all of our cultures, we strive to bring out the best of our recipes during the holidays. For the Dragon Boat Festival the best food going is surely the tasty jong 粽, also known as sticky rice dumplings, it’s a lovely blend of flavours in rice, all wrapped up in bamboo leaves–for an extra aromatic delight–and steamed until the rice has a lovely sticky texture.
Each jong is packed with traditional Chinese flavours: rice, egg yoke, pork, and dried seafoods.
Once you figure out how to properly fold–& hold–the bamboo leaf to make a pocket, you can add a bit of all of the ingredients. Next, artfully weave a bamboo leaf on top, fold it up, and carefully wrap it with the grass twine. It’s tricky but you can get into a good rhythm once you get the hang of it.
I learned how to make sticky rice dumplings from the queen of jong herself, my sister-in-law’s mother. Every year she sends my husband and I the best jong I’ve ever tasted. Seriously, it’s to die for. So several years ago I told her daughter (wife to my husband’s brother if you’re keeping track), Hoi Yee, that I need to get her mom to teach me how to make it!
Finally, in June 2015 the time finally arrived but then I nearly slept through it! I was sleeping in on a Saturday morning and my husband ran into the bedroom saying he got a message from my sister-in-law asking if I was still coming. Oopsies! I bounded out of bed and was out the door in 15 minutes flat. You can probably tell from the pictures of me! Nonetheless, if you ignore my crazy hair, and my no-makeup look, there’s something pretty special here.
My nephew was there with his mom and his jong making grandmother, Frozen was playing on the TV–you can probably hear it in the background! The jong master taught her daughter, and her daughter explained to me in English. The 3 of us sat there stuffing the last of the jong that needed wrapping, which she kindly saved for me while I rushed from home. Even my nephew eventually joined us for 3 generations of simultaneous jong making. In all the years, Hoi Yee said she’d never helped her mom before. Consequently, I felt pretty good for getting them all together so her mom could pass down a traditional Chinese skill. Not to mention, I was thrilled to acquire this knowledge for myself!
This one is not necessarily the best quality photo but it’s my favourite; the jong master teaching her eldest grandson, the knowledge of generations past and present converging in one sweet moment. After doing a few he got bored and went back to playing and watching TV. Haha!
In the video below you can see me prepare jong like a pro. Totally worth getting out of bed on a Saturday!
Note: It’s not actually yellow rice it’s mung beans
Bridget’s Jong Demo
Happy Dragon Boat Festival everyone! If you’re not out paddling I hope you’re eating lots of jong!
Here is a handy link for very specific instructions, if you’re really interested in trying to make sticky rice dumplings on your own: Zongzi Chinese Bamboo Leaf Dumplings (The name is different because of the different Chinese dialects, in Cantonese it’s pronounced ‘jong’ and in Mandarin it’s pronounced ‘zongzi’).