San da pao

San da pao

By
From
The Real Food of China
Serves
4
Photographer
Leanne Kitchen

The name of this dish translates as ‘three cannon balls’, referencing the sound the glutinous rice paste makes when pieces are smacked against a metal surface to form small balls, and the fact they are served in groups of three. This is another snack from the traditional repertoire in Chengdu. We love eating these when we visit the city’s charming Renmin Park; there’s a great snack restaurant there, plus one of the most atmospheric old tea houses left standing in town.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
250g glutinous rice, soaked overnight, rinsed and drained
30g soybean powder
230g soft brown sugar

Method

  1. Put the soaked, drained rice in a steamer lined with a tea towel. Place the steamer over a wok or saucepan of boiling water, then cover tightly and steam for 20 minutes, or until the rice is tender.
  2. Meanwhile, put the soybean powder in a large, heavy-based frying pan over a low heat and dry-fry for 8–10 minutes, shaking the pan often, until the powder turns a slightly darker colour and smells nutty. Transfer the powder to a large bowl.
  3. Combine the sugar with 125 ml water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook over a medium–low heat for 5 minutes, or until the sugar has dissolved, adding a little more water if necessary to form a thin syrup.
  4. When the rice is cooked, transfer it to a large mortar or bowl and pound it vigorously with the pestle to break down the grains and form a thick, coarse paste; you may need to add a little hot water. The mixture does not need to be completely smooth, so don’t worry if not all the rice is broken down. Using damp hands, take tablespoonfuls of the rice mixture and form them into balls — they don’t need to be perfectly symmetrical. Toss the balls through the soybean powder to coat well, then divide among four small bowls. Pour over the syrup and serve warm or at room temperature.
Tags:
China
Chinese
Asia
Asian
Real Food of China
Leanne
Kitchen
Antony
Suvalko
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