Steamed Fluffy Jujube Ricecake (CNY2021)
A friend came for tea yesterday and wondered if I could show her how to prepare the flour in my previous recipe – Steamed Fluffy Red Bean Ricecake. It was Dahan (Major Cold) yesterday, and very cold during this period even in South China. It also foresees spring is coming. Traditionally Chinese would start preparing for the coming Chinese New Year. Thus I thought it was nice to make warm and healthy dessert for tea. I didn’t have much time so I simply used some jujube dates for the filling of this ricecake.
Most Chinese would keep some dried jujube dates in fridge. They are essential healthy ingredients for soups, teas or some dishes. It’s known as jujube but Chinese call it red date. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, jujubes can reinforce blood and energy; It is a “warm” herb that helps to benefit the spleen and stomach, reinforce energy, nourish the blood, and soothe the nerves. Simply put some jujubes and goji berries with hot water in your Thermos and it’s healthy to have such tea in any cold days.
Why ricecake fluffy?
This fluffy ricecake is one of the easiest Chinese cakes that you can make at home. The ingredients are simple and can be obtained in any Asian grocery store. It’s made with rice flour and glutinous rice flour. The proportion of rice flour and glutinous rice flour can be differed. Generally speaking, more rice flour could make fluffier steamed cake, while more glutinous rice flour could make chewier cake. You can use rice flour or glutinous rice flour only, but that makes the texture completely different. Anyway, as a ricecake lover I am, I can’t resist any, no matter ricecake is chewy or fluffy.
But you must know such cake is made with rice flour so it would not be as ‘fluffy’ as chiffon cake or sponge cake that are made with wheat flour, egg and baking powder. However, it wouldn’t be ‘chewy-gum’ alike as typical white ricecake, such as nian-gao or tteokbokki.
Some suggest to mix a little lard in the flour. However this is a vegan recipe so I wouldn’t do so. But traditionally lard is a must in most Chinese cakes, just like butter, and I agree it would make the cake tastier, moist and flavourful. If you don’t mind, simply add in 10g of lard when mixing the rice flour with water.
There are some simple techniques to make the cake airy –
- Mix the two types of flour with less water than usual ricecake;
- Rub the small lumps and break them as finely as possible;
- When layering the cake, don’t press the flour firmly.
More of my nian-gao recipes, savoury and sweet –
Ingredients – for 2 serving
How to do –
- Prepare the flour. In a big mixing bowl, put in 150g of rice flour and 50g of glutinous rice flour, seasoned with 20g of white sugar and a nip of salt, mix them well; Slowly add in 100ml of water, little by little, and mix with spatula at the same time;
- Rub the lumps with your palms and fingers to break the lumps. Feel the flour, if they are too wet, then you would find it difficult to break them apart. Sprinkle a little more rice flour or glutinous flour on, mix and keep rubbing till all lumps broken apart finely and the rice flour moist evenly;
- For a better texture, sift the rice flour with colander. Then cover it with cling film, set aside for at least half an hour; (If you can’t finish the rice flour, keep them in freezer)
4. While the flour is resting, prepare the jujubes. Wash them in running water, then steam them for 20 minutes till soft. Some would suggest to simmer jujubes in water but I think the fragrant would lost a little. Let the steamed jujubes cool down for a few minutes then remove the pit, it should be easy when they are soft;
5. Blend the jujubes with food processer till smooth, add in 2tbsp of water while blending. I don’t sweeten with sugar since jujubes are sweet enough. Also, you could mix a little lard with the blended jujubes if you don’t mind.
(Note that this is not the recipe of jujube paste. You could just buy jujube paste in Chinese grocery store, they are available especially before Chinese New Year. Jujube paste is silky and smooth, but you should check if it’s vegetarian.)
6. It’s easy to layer the cake. Wipe a thin layer of oil inside the container surface. Put a layer of rice flour at the bottom, shake the container so that the flour flatten evenly, don’t press with spoon, then a layer of jujubes, and a layer of rice flour on top. The flour should be layered loosely;
(I like to use this Ikea glass food container when making steamed cake. They are in the right shape and size. Once the cake is cooked, I could put the lid on and keep them in fridge, or give it to friend or family for present. This amount of ingredients can fit 1 cake container.)
7. Now let’s steam the cake. In a steamer, put in plenty of water, make sure you wrap the lid with cotton kitchen cloth. Steam in high heat for half an hour. After heat off, let the cake sit in the steamer for 15 minutes, let it cool down a little;
(If you are not using a bamboo steamer, remember to wrap the lid with cotton kitchen towel, it can absorb the moisture.)
8. It should be easily loosen from the mould. Cut apart and have it warm. If you can’t finish it, just keep them in the food container and keep in fridge. Reheat it by steaming for 5 minutes before serving.