- Wash and soak the bamboo leaves in water until soft (usually 30 minutes will do). Cut off the hard, pointy end so it's easy to fold afterward.
- Wash and soak the glutinous rice for 3–4 hours or overnight.
- Wash and soak the dates if you are using dried dates.
- Grab 2–3 bamboo leaves at the larger end and fold into a cone shape. Use a spoon to fill it partway with glutinous rice, then add the dates in the middle and more glutinous rice on top. Use your thumb to press the leaf down on one side, then fold the longer side of the leaves over. Wrap the string around the zong zi several times to secure the sides.
- Place wrapped zong zi into the pot and add enough water to cover. Boil for 1–1 1/2 hours, then simmer for 30–60 minutes.
Zong Zi were originally eaten around the time of the Dragon Boat Festival, because that was when fresh bamboo leaves were ready. But now you can find dried bamboo leaves, so zong zi are made any time of the year.