Hong Kong Red Bean Steamed Rice Cake aka Put chai ko (砵仔糕)



This is a traditional Hong Kong snack that I can’t recall  seeing it being sold in Singapore or Malaysia. However, it is rather common in Facebook Groups where members are preparing it..


The pictures looked delicious and it prompted me to try out a recipe.. I have digested many recipes but what deter me to use the recipe is that the traditional method of preparation are rather consuming. Time consuming in the preparation of  the red beans and steaming the rice cake.. The preparation of red bean will took about 1 hours of continuous boiling and the steaming, depending on the size of the bowl will take about 45 minutes.


I am some one who lack of patience and recipes that required such a long time always deter me from trying. I have therefore decided to to try shortening the timing of preparation . I used 1/2 hour to pressure cook my red bean and use about 15 minutes in the cooking and steaming. With this approach, unlike the traditional method where there is a hole in the centre of the cake and the red beans are deposited at the bottom of the bowl, my method will not have this problem. It will be nicely levelled and beans are distributed evenly throughout the cake.


I am very happy with this adventure. I am surprised that I like the cake very much especially the texture. It is slightly springy and the sweetness is just nice to my liking. Since original recipe requires brown cane sugar, I have used local palm sugar instead. It gives some fragrance to the rice cake as well.


“Put chai ko is a popular snack in Hong Kong.[1]” The pudding cake is palm size and is sweet in taste. It is soft, but can hold its molded shape outside of a bowl.The cake is made from white or brown sugar, long-grain rice flour with a little wheat starch or cornstarch. Sometimes red beans are also added. The batter is poured into porcelain bowls and steamed until cooked through. Then it is let cooled and served at room temperature. Traditionally, the hawker inserts two bamboo skewers into the cake to turn it out and the eater holds the skewers to consume. But nowadays, most Put Chai Ko are sold in plastic bags. The snack is also known by a number of English names, including Put chai pudding, Earthen bowl cake, Bootjaigo, Red bean pudding or Bood chai ko. The pudding is made like other traditional Cantonese steamed cakes. It is said to have originated in the Chinese county of Taishan, which is 140 km (87 mi) west of Hong Kong. The pudding reached its popularity peak in the early to mid-1980s when hawkers sold it all over the streets in their push carts. At the time, there were only a small handful of flavors. One of the dish’s cultural trademarks is that it is served in a porcelain bowl or an aluminium cup. The snack is still available today in select Chinese pastry or snack shops, or from street hawkers. The pudding can also be served like an ice pop, held up by two bamboo sticks.” (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Put_chai_ko)



Recipe adapted from: 懷舊砵仔糕(附食譜)|我的手作料理| Karen Petite Kitchen

Servings: About 8 egg tarts size steamed rice cake


  • 50 grams of red beans
  • 3 pandan leaves (optional)
  • 10 grams of sugar


  • 100 grams of rice flour
  • 30 grams of wheat starch
  • 40 grams of brown cane sugar or gula melaka or other palm sugar
  • 40 grams of white sugar
  • 440 grams of water
  • 1 tablespoon of oil



  • Lightly greased 8 egg tarts tin and get ready a steamer capable of steaming at least 15-20 minutes.

PicMonkey Collage1

  • Wash the red beans, add sugar and pandan leaves. Add water until it is about 2 cm above the red beans. Pressure cook the beans for 30 minutes.


  • In this illustration, I have cooked 400 grams of red beans for other purposes. All my remaining red beans has been used in making desserts and bread. You may want to consider prepare a bit more to fully utilize the pressure cooking.

  • If after 30 minutes, you found that the bean is too hard, you can consider adding a bit more water to continue cooking for another 15 minutes.

  • If you do not have pressure cooker, you can cook over the stove or rice cooker until soft. In this case, to expedite the process, it is advisable that you soak the red bean overnight.

PicMonkey Collage2

  • Put all the flour, white sugar, brown sugar, water and red bean in a non stick pan. Cook until low-medium heat until the batter thickens. Constant stirring is required for this step and the thickening process can be rather fast. If it become too thick, add some water to dissolve the batter.

  • Transfer the thick batter to the greased tin, level it and steam under high heat for 10-15 minutes. Insert a toothpick in the centre of the tin and ensure that it comes out clean. Once cooked, let it cooled completely before unmoulding using two tooth pick  insert on the side.



I am unsure if there are similar recipe in the internet that use this pre-cook method to expedite the preparation. I get this idea from the preparation of Chwee kuih which is common in Singapore and Malaysia. i have therefore extend this method to prepare the Hong Kong well liked snack..


Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.


food bloggers[4]

Food paradize[8]


  • If you are a Pinterest user and you are interested to have more recipes, you can join or follow this Pinterest Board set up by me  where there are more than 2600 recipes worldwide and pinned by various bloggers: FOOD BLOGGERS AND FOODIES UNITED PINTEREST BOARD.


2 thoughts on “Hong Kong Red Bean Steamed Rice Cake aka Put chai ko (砵仔糕)

  1. Pingback: Adzuki Bread Loaf aka Red Bean Bread Loaf (红豆面包条) | GUAI SHU SHU

  2. Pingback: Special Compilation Of 45 Chinese Steamed Cakes And Kuihs (45 种华人蒸糕特备汇编) | GUAI SHU SHU

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