8 treasures is a sweet rice pudding, eaten during Chinese New Year also known as Spring festival. This dessert is made of candied cherries, lotus seeds, red dates, candied orange peel, mango, golden raisins red bean paste, dried sweet fruits. The sweet topping is up to you, whatever you desire for your 8 treasures to be on in the pudding. This is a chewy pudding not a creamy pudding.
I want to stick to tradition so I will be using 8 sweet items for this dessert. Why 8? Eight is a lucky number for Chinese meaning rich. During Chinese New Year, all food items on the dinner table have a sounding and meaning of lucky words, prosperity, good health or plentiful for the coming year. It is very symbolic and full of tradition when you eat during Chinese New Year and very delicious!.
This eight treasure dessert originated south of the Yangtse River. believe to be thousand of years old.
1/2 cup lotus tus seeds*
2 cups cold water
8 chinese red dates(dried)
2 cups glutinous sweet rice
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tablespoon vegetable shortening (old original recipes calls for lard)
a few maraschino cherries
1 cup red bean paste(from a can)
*soak lotus seeds over night before steaming.
Directions: Pudding with 8 treasures
Lotus seeds add to cold water in a pot. Bring to a boil than simmer for about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool. Cut in halves. I steamed all sweet ingredients together in a steamer.
Steam red dates in a steamer until tender but not mushy.20-30 minutes. set aside when done.
Rinse rice under cold running water until water is clear. Cook rice in a steamer or pot according to directions using 2 cups rice. Stir sugar into the rice as it cooks plus 2 tablespoons shortening.
this is how sweet cooked rice looks like
Mix well and set aside.
grease bowl with vegetable shortening
you will be using for your pudding with vegetable shorting, Start to design bottom and side of bowl with 8 treasures,
without disturbing the 8 treasures, carefully spoon rice into bowl, toward the middle of rice layering, spoon red bean paste and spread it around the rice(middle) than continue to layer withe rest of the rice, at this point make sure you press down using a piece of plastic wrap and pack it tight so that all air bubbles are release and there is no small air pockets. Discard plastic wrap.
Place bowl in the steamer, make sure you have enough water in steamer to steam for 35 minutes. (tip: if you don’t have a steamer, place your bowl on an upside down plate inside a pan of simmering water and then cover it all with a large lid).
Directions for almond sauce:
4 tablespoons sugar
1 cup water
1/4 cup lotus seeds cooked
1 tablespoon cornstarch plus 2 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
Place 1 cup of water in a pot and boil adding sugar until it dissolves. Keep stirring. Add cooked lotus seeds
In a bowl mix cold water and cornstarch than add it to sugar/water mixture. As the syrup cools add almond extract and mix well.
When pudding is done, use a butter knife around the edge to loosen pudding. Place a plate on top and flip it over. Can be served hot or cold. Drizzle syrup over pudding before serving. Enjoy 8 treasure dessert for special occasions or on Chinese New Year.
spoon warm syrup over sweet rice