Hi, I'm Donna from Far Leaves Tea. We opened our teashop in 1998 to provide our community with better access to premium quality loose leaf tea and all the cultural elements and rituals that come with having tea. For me, one of the most important elements of tea is how it fits into daily life, especially as it relates to food. There is a Chinese saying: 開門七件事 - 柴米油鹽醬醋, which translates to tea as one of the seven key ingredients in making a complete kitchen.
In this blog, I hope to share with you my experiences with tea and things I love, in particular, pairing tea with food. For my cooking, I like to build with traditional recipes, but incorporate new ingredients and interesting variations as inspired by the multi-cultural experiences found in today's world.
For this first blog, I will be sharing with you one of my favorite tea desserts perfect for the holidays: Puer 8 Treasure Rice Cake. It's similar to fruitcake in that people typically enjoy this dessert after big banquets. Unlike traditional 8 Treasure Rice Cakes, I make mine with Puer tea and coconut oil. And I pair this dessert with some more Puer tea like this.
Have fun with this: add in whatever 8 "treasures" you want inside. Making this rice cake always reminds me of making mud pies as a kid, except now I use real edible ingredients instead of dirt.
Enjoy! I hope you try this at home and let me know what you think. Happy holidays.
2C sticky/sweet rice
1T puer tea (brewed into 2C of tea)
2T coconut oil (any kind of vegetable oil will work)
1C red bean paste (you can get pre-made paste from most Asian grocery stores)
Assorted dried fruits to create your "8 treasures" in addition to the red bean paste (treasure #1) - raisin, dried cranberries, dried red dates, dried longan fruit, dried pineapple chunks, dried mango chunks, dried apricot (diced)
1. Rinse the rice then let dry for at least 10 minutes
2. Boil water to make Puer tea - make 2 strong cups
3. Pour the tea into the rice and let it soak for at least 2 hours or overnight.
4. Cook the rice. I have a nice rice cooker (like above) which has sweet rice setting that makes it super easy for me to cook. If just using a regular pot, cook the rice in high heat until boiling then turn to low heat until the rice is fully cooked.
5. Add sugar and oil to the rice while the rice is still hot and mix.
6. When the rice is cooling down, prepare a big bowl and grease a bowl (like below).
7. Arrange the dried fruits along the bottom of the bowl.
8. Add 1C of the warm cooked rice to the bowl, then add the red bean paste filling, spreading it all over the rice, and place more dried fruit along the side edges of the bowl.
9. Add the remaining warm cooked rice over the bean paste.
10. Cover the bowl of rice and steam the rice at high heat for 15 minutes. You can also use a pot as a steamer by just adding 3 inches water in the pot.
11. Wait until the rice cools down. Put the bowl up-side down on a bigger plate and flip the rice cake down onto the plate (you may need to scrape the edges of the rice first).