Eight Treasure Glutinous Rice Dessert (八宝饭)

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INTRODUCTION

This is a recipe that you can keep for Chinese New Year.. It is a famous Chinese traditional dessert called eight treasure glutinous rice dessert or 八宝饭。

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Of course you can also prepare it to satisfy your craving now like what I did for myself.

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I have wanted to blog this dessert but it was on hold because of the ugly first set of pictures. I prepared that almost a year ago and because I am not satisfied with the decolourization of the red and green cherries, I have decided to hold on the post.. When my blog reached its 5 millionth readership, I have firmed up my decision to prepare it again for my self celebration.

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This is a dessert that I truly liked.. About 15 years ago when I stationed in Shanghai, whenever I went to Nanjing street, I will sneak into Sofitel’s Shanghainese restaurant to have a bowl. It never failed me whenever I passed by there. It is sweet, gooey and come with assorted ingredients. I loved  it especially the red bean paste or lotus paste enveloped by the sticky rice..

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Of course what is sold in hotel for individual servings will not be as complete as what the original authentic recipe called for.. Theoretically, 8 ingredients shall be used and each ingredients have a meaning attached to it..

  • Lotus seeds (莲子) – signify harmonious marriage (和谐婚姻)
  • Dried longan (桂圆) – signify reunion (团圆)
  • Dried tangerine peels (金橘脯) – signify auspicious and luck (吉利)
  • Red dates (红枣) – birth to healthy kids (早生贵子)
  • Candied Melons or Candied cherries (蜜樱桃 或 蜜冬瓜)– Close rapport relationship (甜甜蜜蜜)
  • Barley (薏米)– signify longevity (长寿)
  • Melon seeds (瓜子仁)– signify discipline in life (生活有规律)
  • Shredded red plums  (红梅丝)– signify progressing smoothly (鼓励进取、祝福顺利)
  • Shredded green plums (绿梅丝)– signify longevity (长寿)

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I do not get all the ingredients in Singapore like shredded red plums and shredded green plums, therefore I have resorted to substitute with orange peel and pomelo peel. However, as far as the ingredients are concerned, as long as there are 8 ingredients, it can be considered as 8 treasure glutinous rice dessert. I have also eaten many  variations being sold in restaurant.

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“八宝饭是汉族传统名点,腊八节节日食俗。流行于全国各地,江南尤盛。各地的配方大同小异,基本上是把糯米蒸熟,拌以糖、油、桂花、倒入装有红枣、薏米、莲子、桂圆、等果料的器具内,蒸熟后再浇上糖卤汁即成。味道甜美,是节日和待客佳品。民间认为八宝饭来源于古代的八宝图,各百科全书也是采用了这种说法。早期的八宝饭是将蒸熟的糯米饭拌上糖和猪油,放点莲子、红枣、金橘脯、桂圆肉、蜜樱桃、蜜冬瓜、薏仁米、瓜子 仁等果料,撒上红、绿梅丝做成。色香味美,还有涵义:莲子是八宝图中的和合转化而来,象征婚姻和谐和好;桂圆象征团圆;金橘象征吉利;红枣象征早生贵子;蜜樱桃、蜜冬瓜象征甜甜蜜蜜;薏米仁系仙鹤转化而成,象征长寿、高雅、纯洁;瓜子仁是鼓板的变体,象征生活有规律,平安无灾祸;红梅丝与龙门同色,含有鼓励进取、祝福顺利的意思;绿梅丝象征长寿。后来八宝饭的用料日趋简化,用各色果脯代替了金橘脯、蜜樱桃、蜜冬瓜和红、绿梅丝。后来又增添了桂花等香料,寓意“金(所用桂花必须是金桂)玉(糯米呈玉脂白色)满堂”。 (Source: http://baike.baidu.com/subview/95344/8137503.htm

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Just like the recipe in the Buddha’s delight, I will not share the exact quantity of the ingredients but will share only what I have included because variations are many. I have used osmanthus syrup but if you do not have, you can also used other type of clear syrup too.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: 5-6 adult servings

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  • 250 grams of glutinous rice – soaked for at least 3-4 hours
  • 50-80 grams of castor sugar
  • 100 grams of red bean paste or black sesame paste or lotus paste or other paste
  • 50 grams of lard or cooking oil

Eight treasures

  • 15 grams of walnuts
  • 15 grams of barley – soaked
  • 15 grams of red dates – soaked
  • 15 grams of lotus seeds- soaked
  • 15 grams of raisins – soaked
  • 15 grams of dried longan – soaked
  • 15 grams of candied red cherries (replaced by orange zest)
  • 15 grams of candied green cherries (replaced by pomelo zest)

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  • 50 grams of sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of water
  • 2 tablespoons of dried osmanthus

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Soaked the glutinous rice for at least 2-3 hours. Drained and steamed until cooked. At in the sugar and lard, stir until well combined.  Set aside.

  • Steamed the red dates, barley and lotus seeds for 10-15 minutes until cooked and soft. Set aside.

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  • Depending on the size of the steaming bowl, divide the red bean paste (or other paste) and cooked glutinous rice into the number of bowls (if there are 3 bowls, divide into 3 portions. If there are only one bowl, there is no need to divide.). Wrap a ball of red bean paste with a ball of glutinous rice.

  • Lightly greased the steaming bowl. Put all the ingredients inside the bowls ensuring all the bowls have every ingredients. If you wish, you can design pattern of your eight treasure items in the bowl before the next step.

  • Press the glutinous rice into the bowl firmly and steam under high heat for at least 30 minutes for the flavour to be incorporated. If your glutinous rice is too dry, you can add 1-2 tablespoons of water to the glutinous rice.

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  • To make the syrup, put the water, sugar and osmanthus flower in a pot. Bring to boil and let it simmer for a few minutes. This osmanthus sugar syrup is best to be prepared on the day before so that the flavours can develop.

  • Drizzle the syrup on top of the eight treasure glutinous rice before serving.

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CONCLUSION

The attractiveness of this dish will very much depends on your creativity skills. The fruits and nuts can be pre-arranged for beautiful plating. This is a presentable dessert that can be served for Chinese big festivals such as Chinese New Year or even elder’s birthday.    Lastly, while I understand osmanthus flower is not common here, you can always used pandan to substitute or totally omit if you find the dessert is already sweet to your taste bud.

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

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  • 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.

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4 thoughts on “Eight Treasure Glutinous Rice Dessert (八宝饭)

  1. Very nice dessert. Thanks for sharing your recipes and taking the time to explain every ingredient and its significance. I will definitely make it for my family to enjoy. I remember having this dessert years ago and they have red bean paste in the middle.

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