Eight Treasure Sweet Rice Cake

八宝饭bā bǎo fàn


2 cups sweet glutinous rice

1/2 cup red bean paste

1/4 cup sugar

2 tsp olive oil

5-6 whole lotus seeds

8-10 peanuts

6 walnut halves

5-6 pieces dried apricots

3-4 pieces dried mango

4-6 pieces other dried or freeze dried fruit

4-6 Chinese red dates (or raisins)

1 tbsp dried goji berries

Note: You can replace any of the ingredients from lotus seeds down with dried fruits, nuts, and seeds of your choice!

Prep Ingredients

  1. Wash the sweet glutinous rice, then soak in a bowl of cold water where the water level is ~2 inches higher than the rice.

  2. While you're at it, soak the lotus seeds (if you're using them) in cold water as well.

  3. Soak for 4-5 hours.

  4. While you're waiting, you can make fresh red bean paste using this recipe (or you can use store-bought).

Steam the Sweet Rice

  1. Brush a tsp of olive oil in a large bowl.

  2. Strain the rice and spread in the bowl.

  3. Add cold water to the bowl so that it's at the same level as the rice.

  4. Add water to a steamer and heat over high.

  5. Add the bowl of rice to the steamer, cover, and steam for 10 minutes at high heat and 20 minutes at medium heat.

  6. Once all the water is fully absorbed by the rice, turn off the heat and let cool for a few minutes.

  7. Slowly mix the sugar into the rice and then set aside.

  8. Keep away from sweet tooths, because that sweet, sticky rice is super tasty and is in danger of being immediately eaten.

Arrange the Rice Cake

  1. In a shallow bowl that can fit in the steamer and also fit the rice, brush a tsp of olive oil to fully cover the inside of the bowl.

  2. Break each lotus seed in half, slice the dried fruit into smaller pieces, split all nuts in half, and remove peanut skins if you're using peanuts.

  3. Arrange all the dried fruit and nuts into patterns in the bowl - let the bowl be your canvas 🤩.

  4. Sprinkle the goji berries and raisins (if you're using them) on top.

  5. Carefully arrange half the steamed rice into the bowl. Once you add the rice to the bowl, don't shift it around, just use a spoon to gently press it into the bowl.

  6. Add a layer of red bean paste on top of the rice.

  7. Add the rest of the rice on top.

  8. Gently press down with a spoon so that the top is roughly level.

  9. Drizzle 1/4 cup of water on top of the rice.

  10. Fill a steamer with water and heat over medium-high.

  11. Once the water boils, add your bowl of rice to the steamer and cover.

  12. Steam for 30 minutes.

  13. Turn off the heat and let sit for another 30 minutes.

  14. When ready to serve, use a knife to gently separate the rice from the bowl around the edges.

  15. Cover the bowl with a serving pan, then flip the rice cake onto the plate quickly.

  16. Add honey or sugar on top if you prefer a sweeter taste, and serve!