I was lucky enough to check out a lesson wrapping the Taiwanese treat- zong zi- where they supplied all the ingredients and we just had to perform the origami-art of wrapping the bamboo leaves into a pocket to stuff our sticky rice and goods and then around again so that the rice didn't squeeze out.
Not a half bad job if I say so myself! I did two meat ones, one vegetarian and one sweet dumpling with black rice and red bean paste.
I think my relatives are going to wrap some for the upcoming Duanwu festival, so I will be prepared to get my hands dirty!
- When you fold the two bamboo leaves over, make sure one side is much shorter so you have a longer area to work with.
- Make the pocket deep enough to stuff the goods.
- Flatten out the rice a bit to layer your meat and yolk and such
- Squeeze gently on the sides before you tuck the leaf over the rice
- Tie the string tight!
Why do we eat zongzi for this holiday? I am still not sure since it's something I just remember doing since I was a kid- it's like why do you eat gingerbread men at Christmastime- but check out wikipedia.
Can't make it yourself? There are a ton of restaurants that offer it on a daily basis such as Little Shanghai and Jiu Ru, and you can order it from places such as Grand Formosa Regent Hotel or pick some up at Nan Men (South Door) market.
Speaking of cooking, I saw this from the Epicurious newsletter and I don't know if it's a sign I've been in Taiwan too long, but the stuff from homebistro.com looks REALLY good! Too bad they don't ship internationally. :( But the grilled meats and the souffle and the bisque looks good!