Rice was considered a delicacy during the Han dynasty (202 BC-AD 220) and symbolises good fortune and happiness. To the Chinese, white rice is also valued as cultured refinement, as only the rich could afford to eat rice in the old days.
Taking a leaf out of an old la pa chu recipe – a sweet rice porridge with lotus seeds, red dates, almonds, two types of candied fruit, sweet bean paste and syrup to represent of the “eight immortals” – this eight-treasure rice recipe or Pat Poh Farn includes dried longans for longevity, assorted dried seafood for bountiful prosperity, pumpkin for its precious golden colour and sweet peas for a new beginning.
NOTE: For a vegan version, substitute dried oysters and bacon with lotus seeds and red dates. Use vegetable stock or plain water to cook the rice. This recipe was first published in Flavours magazine.
Related recipes for CNY
- Condiments A:
- 100g sweet peas (cut into half-inch pieces)
- 50g Chinese wolfberries (washed and drained, kei chi)
- 1tbsp cooking oil
- Condiments B:
- 100g gingko nuts (boiled for 20 minutes to soften)
- 100g dried oysters (soaked for 30 minutes to soften)
- 50g dried mushrooms (soaked for 1 hour to soften)
- 100g dried longan (washed and drained)
- 100g bacon (cut into ½ inch strips)
- 200g pumpkin (diced)
- 2tbsp salt
- 2tbsp light soya sauce
- 20ml water
- 300g rice
- 200ml vegetable/chicken stock
- Heat up oil in a wok and sauté sweet peas and wolfberries for about 1 minute. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Heat up oil in another wok and sauté gingko nuts, dried oysters, mushrooms, dried longan and pumpkin. Add in salt, light soya sauce and water. Simmer for 5 minutes then dish out and set aside.
- Use chicken stock instead of water to cook rice in rice cooker the usual way.
- When stock is almost fully absorbed, add in condiments A, spread out evenly on top of the rice and cook for a further 10-15 minutes. Once rice is thoroughly cooked, fluff up the rice to mix the ingredients. Then add condiments B and mix well before serving.