This post is super exciting for me because it marks the first recipe in my Authentic Chinese Series where I hope to share with you some authentic Chinese dishes that I learn to prepare while living in China.
I feel like all of my Chinese friends know I love to cook. Whenever I go out to dinner with friends or attend a party at someone’s house, I’m always asking questions about how the food was prepared, what ingredients were used, what those ingredients are called and where I can buy them. I usually make little notes on my phone so that I can look up the recipes later, but I’ve finally decided that, instead of trying to look up recipes online and figure things out myself, I’m going to make it a priority to have my friends teach me how to make certain popular Chinese dishes in person. I feel like this will allow me to learn more authentically how to make Chinese food.
I hope you guys enjoy these random Authentic Chinese Recipes and that you can give some of them a try. The food where we live is beyond delicious and I hope that soon I can prepare some of these dishes in my own home. Also, if you have friends from China, I’m sure they’d be thoroughly impressed with your thoughtfulness and cooking skills!
So, without further ado, the first recipe in this series is called 8 Treasure Soup or Ba Bao Zhou (八宝粥) in Chinese. The first time I had it was at a dinner potluck that my friend hosted. She made a big pot of this soup (or congee) and it was one of the most delicious, sweet, creamy soups I’ve ever had. I was hooked at first bite! I asked her about the ingredients and planned to make it soon after the party, but it wasn’t until just last week that I had her come to my house and show me how to make this amazing soup in person.
8 Treasure Soup is actually more of a porridge or congee. It calls for 8 main ingredients, but in reality, it’s super adaptable and you could make it with as little as 3 or 4 ingredients. My Chinese friend kept telling me, “It’s up to you!” We measured everything by handfuls and she told me I could even add other ingredients, such as sweet potato, depending on my preference.
But for today I’ll tell you the 8 authentic ingredients that are used to make 8 Treasure Soup (八宝粥), and this list doesn’t include the sugar that you also add to make it sweet and irresistible.
INGREDIENTS YOU’LL NEED:
1. Red Mung Beans
2. Black Rice
3. Glutenous Rice
5. Dried Lily Slices (百合)
6. Dried or fresh Chinese Yam (山药)
7. Lotus Seed (莲子)
8. Chinese Pearl Barley (苡仁)
I know the last 4 of these ingredients are really unique, but the good news is that you don’t have to use them! Just like I said, this recipe is super adaptable and could be made with just the first 4 ingredients. But if you did want to try the fully authentic recipe, I was able to find all the ingredients on Amazon too!
The last two ingredients you’ll need are LOTS of water and sugar. This soup isn’t 8 Treasure Soup without sugar. It needs to be sweet. My Chinese friend had be buy the block of red sugar that you see in the picture below, but I used Coconut Sugar when I re-made it at home and it turned out deliciously! I’m sure any liquid sweeteners would be delicious as well.
Once you have all the ingredients on hand, this soup couldn’t be easier to make. All you have to do is soak all of the ingredients, except for the glutinous rice, for about 8 hours. Then you drain the soaked ingredients, put them in a pot with tons of water, and allow everything to boil down into a thick, sweet soup.
It’s that easy. It just takes some time.
I hope you try out this recipe! Even just using the first four ingredients and some sugar would make a delicious version of this Authentic Chinese: 8 Treasure Soup (八宝粥). If you are brave and give this recipe a shot, I would LOVE to know! Leave a comment letting me know your thoughts or take a picture and tag #theconscientiouseater on Instagram so I can see your creation!
- 2 tablespoons red mung beans
- 2 tablespoons black rice
- 3 tablespoons peanuts
- 2 tablespoons Chinese Pearl Barley (苡仁)
- 2 Tablespoons Dried Lily Slices (百合)
- 3 lotus seeds (莲子)
- 1 slice dried Chinese Yam (山药), broken into pieces
- ¼ cup glutenous rice
- 8-9 cups filtered water
- 1 lump red sugar (1/4-1/2 cup sugar of your choice)
- About 8 hours before preparing this soup, put the red mug beans, black rice, peanuts, Chinese pearl barley, dried lily slices, lotus seeds, and dried Chinese yam into a bowl and cover with water to soak.
- After 8 or so hours, drain and rinse the soaked ingredients and place them in a large sauce pan.
- Add in the glutenous rice and 8-9 cups of filtered water, stir, and bring everything to a boil
- Continuing boiling/simmering the ingredients on high heat for 1 - 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally and being careful to not let the water or foam overflow. The bigger your pan the less you have to monitor the soup.
- You'll know the soup is ready once most of the water has been absorbed by the ingredients and a thick porridge has formed.
- Once thickened, add in about ¼ cup of sugar, or more to taste and allow it to dissolve before serving.
- Serve warm.
You can also pick and choose which ingredients you want or add in other ingredients that you think would go well.
If you use less than 8 ingredients, you may need to reduce the amount of water you use.