Eight Treasure Rice Pudding (Ba Bao Fan, 八宝饭)
A delectable treat consisting of sticky rice, dried fruits, nuts and red bean paste, eight treasure rice pudding is a must-have for Lunar New Year.
For the rice
- 200 g glutinous rice (aka sticky rice, sweet rice) about 1 cup
- 1 tablespoon white sugar or brown sugar
For the toppings (see note 3)
- 1 handful mixed dried fruit and nuts e.g. jujube (Chinese dates), apricot, cranberry, raisins, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, etc.
You also need
- ½ teaspoon coconut oil or butter, neutral cooking oil
- Honey for serving (optional)
Prepare the toppings
Deseed and slice dried fruits if necessary. If using Jujube (Chinese dates), peanuts, lotus seeds or almonds, soak in water overnight to soften. Other dried fruits and nuts can be used directly without soaking.
Assemble the bowl
Evenly coat a bowl with coconut oil (or butter, neutral cooking oil) to prevent sticking.
Spread a layer of mixed dried fruit and nuts over the bottom of the bowl. Design a pattern if you wish.
Lay half of the rice over the dried fruit and nuts. Shape the red bean paste into a flat circle (smaller than the bowl). Place it on top of the rice. Put in the rest of the rice and flatten it with a spoon.
Pour in water just enough to level with the rice (Be very gentle to avoid pushing the rice around).
Serve the pudding
After steaming, leave to cool for 10 mins or so. Then use a knife or spatula to gently run along the edge of the pudding to help separating. Place a serving plate over the bowl. Flip over then gently remove the bowl.
The rice pudding tastes great both warm and at room temperature. Drizzle some honey when serving if you like a sweeter taste.
Store and reheat
You can keep the rice pudding in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months (wrapped tightly with cling film after it cools completely).
Steam for 10 minutes to reheat (defrost beforehand if frozen).
1. I have a blog post dedicated to Homemade Red Bean Paste which includes two types of paste: smooth red bean paste and chunky red bean paste. You may use either of them.
2. Be flexible and creative with the choice of the toppings. If available, mix different colours and textures. I don’t recommend you use fresh fruits though.