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Pa-Pao-Fan (Eight Treasure Rice Pudding)

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Chinese Puddings


  • 2 c Glutinous rice
  • 1/4 c Lard
  • 1/2 lb Pitted dates; finely chopped
  • 8 Whole dates; cut in half
  • 1 c Canned red bean paste
  • 20 Dried jujubes
  • 2 tb Sugar
  • 2 tb Melted lard
  • Red & green candied cherries
  • 1/4 c Sugar
  • 1 c ;cold water
  • 1 ts Almond extract
  • 1 tb Cornstarch; dissolve in
  • 3 tb ;cold water


"This dessert is known as eight-treasure or eight-precious or even eight-jewel pudding because in China the design on the top of it was made with 8 different kinds of dried and candied fruits or nuts -- such as dried lotus seeds, candied green or red plums, seeded dragon's eye nuts, watermelon seeds, preserved dates, dried jujubes, candied orange peel, candied red or green cherries, and blanched walnuts. The version described here is simply decorated with pitted dates, dried jujubes and candied cherries."
Prepare ahead: 1. In a large bowl, cover the rice with cold water and soak for 2 hours.
2. In a 12-inch wok or 10-inch skillet, melt the 1/4 cup lard over moderate heat. Add the chopped dates and red-bean paste, and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, for 20 minutes, or until the mixture begins to come away from the sides of the pan. emove from the pan to a small bowl and cool to room temperature.
3. Combine the jujubes and 2 cups cold water in a 2-quart saucepan. Over high heat, bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer the jujubes, covered, for about 10 minutes. Drain the jujubes through a sieve, and, when they are cool enough to handle, cut them in half and remove and discard the pits.
4. Have the rice, date and bean-paste mixture, jujubes, cherries, sugar, water, almond extract and cornstarch all within easy reach.
To cook: 5. Pour enough boiling water into the lower part of a steamer to come within an inch of the cooking rack (or use a steamer substitute). Line the rack with a double layer of paper towels. Drain the rice and spread it evenly over the lined rack. Over high heat, bring the water in the steamer to a rolling boil, cover the pan tightly and steam the rice for 30 minutes, or until the rice is thoroughly cooked, replenishing the water if it boils away.
6. Transfer the rice to a bowl, and stir into it the 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of melted lard. Spoon half the rice into a shallow heat-proof bowl (about 6 inches across and 3 inches deep). On top, place the red-bean-paste mixture, spreading it to within 1/2 inch of the sides of the bowl. Place the remaining rice over it, spreading it out evenly to the edges of the bowl and pressing down on it lightly with the palm of your hand. Put an inverted dinner plate over the top of the bowl, and, grasping the edges of both the plate and the bowl, turn them over together. Lift the bowl up gently to unmold the pudding.
7. Now decorate the sides and top of the pudding with the jujubes, halved dates and candied cherries. Any sort of design you devise would be proper. For instance, the bottom edge of the pudding may be decorated with a row of date halves spaced about an inch apart, the top edge rimmed with jujubes, laid side by side, and the top of the pudding ornamented with flowers and leaves made of cherries.
8. When the decoration is complete, gently spread a long piece of plastic wrap over it to hold the fruit in place, invert the bowl again and carefully set it over the top of the pudding. Grasping the edges of the bowl and plate together, turn the bowl over and remove the plate. Bring the water in the steamer to a boil again, place the bowl on the rack and cover the pan tightly. Steam the pudding for an hour, replenishing the water when it boils away. Have a kettle of boiling water handy.
To Serve: 9. A few minutes before the pudding is done, make the syrup by combining the 1/4 cup of sugar with the cup of water in a small saucepan and boiling it until the sugar dissolves. Add the almond extract, give the cornstarch mixture a quick stir to recombine it and sitr it into the syrup. Cook, stirring, for a few seconds until the syrup thickens slightly and becomes clear. Now remove the pudding from the steamer and place a circular serving plate over it. Grasping bowl and plate securely, turn them over. The pudding should slide out easily. Carefully peel off the plastic wrap. Pour the hot syrup over the pudding and serve at once.
Source: Time-Life Foods of the World: Chinese Cooking
Posted to MM-Recipes Digest V4 #082 by Linda Place <> on Mar 22, 1997