Eight Treasures Rice Pudding

Eight Treasures Rice Pudding
 
Eight-Treasures Rice Pudding (Babaofan) is a well known traditional Chinese dessert, cooked with sticky rice and 8 different freshly dried fruits and nuts. This food has been through several thousand years and spreads the entire nation. The ingredients used in each place are largely identical but with minor differences. The eight-treasure rice pudding from south of Yangtze River is one of the most well-known varieties and has become a delicacy in Chinese traditional banquet. Eight-Treasures Rice Pudding is traditionally served on the 7th day of the 1st month of the Chinese Lunar Calendar. This marks the end of the Spring Festival (or Chinese New Year).
 
It is said that Eight-treasure Rice Pudding originated from the ancient Eight-treasure Picture. Early Eight-treasure Rice Pudding consists of cooked glutinous rice, sugar and lard, raisins like lotus seeds, Chinese dates, preserved kumquat, longan pulp, preserved cherry, jackfruit, seeds of Job’s tears, and shelled melon seeds, and red and green shredded plum. It not only smells good and tastes delicious, but also carries rich connotations.
 
Lotus symbolizes many descendents to come and fulfilling love relationship. The character Zaozi (Chinese dates) means early have child', which is a traditional wish for Chinese families. Candied winter melon symbolizes growth and good health, while red melon seeds mean happiness and sincerity. The character yuan in Guiyuan (dried longan) means circle' in English, which symbolizes reunion. Also number eight is a very lucky number in Chinese. Its pronunciation is as same as the word rich' (fa). Therefore, the eight treasures contain all the best wishes people might think about happiness, prosperity and health.
 
Later, ingredients for Eight-treasure Rice Pudding were gradually simplified. Preserved fruits of varied colors replaced preserved kumquat, preserved cherry, jackfruit, and red and green shredded plum. Aromatic spices, like golden sweet osmanthus, were added, implying “Gold and Jade” because golden sweet osmanthus has the same color with gold and the cooked glutinous rice is as white as jade (yu in Chinese).
 
Source: http://kaleidoscope.cultural-china.com, www.helium.com,