Updated: Mar 30, 2022
It's all about P'ng Kueh 红桃粿 today.
Yummy Red Peach Treat! Here's a Vegetarian Recipe by Grace Chen just in time for Chinese New Year Celebrations :)
Red and Blue Peach Rice Pastry or 红桃粿 or P’ng Kueh is essentially a Red Peach snack (or cake/pudding/dumpling) and whatever it is called, YUMMY is the word! It is simply a Red Peach Treat!
What is so special about this steamed cake?
Many of us with Chinese Heritage may recognise it and have fond memories of it. It is very much part of the Chinese culture and we have all tasted it at some point when we were children.
One of our colleagues misses this steamed cake and also having the chance to converse with someone in her dialect back in Kuala Lumpur. You can imagine her excitement when some of her friends made this steamed cake.
There is nothing better than food to help ease the pangs of homesickness and bring back nostalgic memories of one's childhood and youth.
The thing about this steamed cake is you need its own specific mould to make it and we know someone who actually has the Png Kueh/Peach Rice Pastry mould! It is in her “museum” stashed somewhere in her pantry. We are rather hoping, very subtly, that perhaps if we share this recipe, it would be a really big hint for her to do something about it and start making beautiful P'ng Kueh! (Maybe we should put this last bit in font size 30 and in bold...we really want to taste this treat!)
Red peach cake (Chinese: 紅桃粿; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: âng-thô-kóe), also known as rice peach cake (Chinese: 飯桃粿; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: pn̄g-thô-kóe) and rice cake (Chinese: 飯粿; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: pn̄g-kóe) is a small teardrop-shaped Chinese pastry with soft sticky glutinous rice flour skin wrapped over a delicious savoury filling of glutinous rice, peanuts, mushrooms, and shallots. (Oh my mouth is watering already as I write this!)
The cake is shaped with a wooden mould before steaming. The cake is native to the Teochew people who originated from the Chaozhou prefecture in Guangdong province in China.
“Essentially, this Teochew delicacy is shaped like a peach, features a pink coloured sticky but tender skin that is stuffed with the most fragrant glutinous rice. The Teochew people always prepare this during the Chinese New Year celebrations because the peach is a symbol of good fortune and immortality and is used by Teochews to worship ancestors and simply for their own (very happy) consumption.
Growing up as a child, I used to watch my mum and aunts sit around the table and make these during the Chinese New Year festive season. My cousins and I used to patrol the work stations and watch them in amazement ... chopping, stirring, mixing, kneading, wrapping, moulding, shaping, arranging, steaming ... amidst constant chatter and intermittent bursts of laughter. There would be trays and trays and trays of these Red Peach Kuehs. The Kuehs will be distributed among the aunties, packed into boxes as gifts for relatives, friends and neighbours.
In the later years when I was old enough to work in the kitchen, I was allowed to help with the stirring and mixing and later got ¨promoted¨ to the wrapping station. As my mum and aunts grew older, and the younger generation flew off to different countries, the making of this Kueh and many other treats also gradually started disappearing ... I was blessed with this traditional recipe handed down over the generations and I was also gifted the pastry moulds by one of my aunts a couple of years ago.
To keep the tradition, I make this Kueh and many other traditional Chinese pastries with my children. We make these Kueh in Autumn in celebration of “harvest” and “preparation” for winter. According to my grandmother, eating glutinous rice during chilly weather is good and beneficial to the body. Glutinous rice helps keep the body and limbs warm.
My teenage children love this Kueh. We (the family) made some of these P’ng Kueh on the weekend. It was a tedious process and there weren’t as many pairs of hands. Nevertheless, there were lots of laughter and chatting, just like in the old days. It was what I miss a lot and it is comforting to me that I am able to recreate part of it with my own family today. Times like these are a good bonding time for the family.”
红桃粿 Red /Blue Peach Rice Pastry (P’ng Kueh). The pink dough is made with Roselle powder from My Blue Tea.
P'ng Kueh Recipe
* 165gm glutinous rice washed and soaked overnight
* 55gm peanuts, washed and toasted*
* 160gm homemade chicken stock or store-bought soup stock
* 5 dried mushrooms, soaked and thinly sliced
* 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
* 3 cloves shallots, thinly sliced
* 2 stalks spring onion, chopped
* A small bunch of coriander, chopped
* 20-25 gm dried shrimps, soaked and roughly chopped
* 1/2 tbsp of quality grade light soya sauce
* 1/2 tsp of white pepper
* 2-3 tbsp of cooking oil or lard
Steam the glutinous rice over high heat for at least 30-45 minutes until soft. Alternatively, you can cook the glutinous rice in a rice cooker. For rice cooker function, you need to add 170ml of water.
In a wok, put the oil and sauté the sliced shallots until fragrant and golden. Add in the mushrooms, dried shrimps and white pepper. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes until the dried shrimps are fragrant.
Add the glutinous rice and peanuts, followed by chicken stock and soy sauce. Stir fry until well mixed.
Remove from heat and add the chopped spring onion.
Stir until well mixed. Set aside.
* 250 gm glutinous rice flour
* 275 gm rice flour
* 30 gm tapioca flour
* 550 gm water
* 3 gm Red Yeast Rice powder or Roselle powder (from My Blue Tea)
* 30 grams of lard or other cooking oil
* Pinch of salt to taste
Hint: For Blue P'ng Kueh, add 1 tspn of @my.blue.tea Blue Butterfly Pea Powder into the glutinous rice flour instead
Mix all the flours (glutinous rice flour and rice flour) and divide into two bowls of equal portion.
In a pot, add 550gm of water. Add the Red Yeast Rice powder or Roselle powder or Blue Butterfly Pea powder. Bring the water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, bring down the heat to the lowest setting, add in one portion of the mixed flour. Stir with a spatula or wooden spoon to form a thick paste. Cook for 1 minute on the lowest heat.
While the cooked dough is still hot, quickly transfer the cooked dough to a mixing bowl or kitchen bench. GRADUALLY ADD THE REMAINING FLOUR and knead the dough until it forms a pliable dough. Work with a spatula or a stand mixer. Add in the cooking oil or lard and knead until it becomes a smooth dough.
Blue Butterfly Pea - P'ng Kueh
Photos credit to Chef Celina Joseph, the Zero Waste Chef in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia
Some of Celina's contribution to MY BLUE TEA Blogs are Blue Ayurvedic Tea and Fried Assam Laksa with Torch Ginger
You may or may not use up all the flour. Every batch of flour will have different water-absorbing properties. As long as it forms a pliable dough, it is acceptable. If you can handle sticky dough in the shaping, avoid adding more flour. The more flour you add, the harder will be your crust.
Pat your hand with flour, pinch a dough, make a round shape, press it and make it flat. Put a teaspoon of the filling into the centre of the flat dough. Seal the edges such that it looks like a samosa triangular shaped dough.
Press down the dough following the shape of the mould. Invert and knock the mould gently but firmly on a tea towel.
Put the Kueh on a piece of banana leaf or baking paper, then arrange them in a steamer tray.
Bring the water to a boil, then steam over medium to low heat for 13-15 minutes.
It will turn hard if you leave it on the kitchen bench overnight. We recommend keeping it in an airtight container once it is completely cooled. Steam it for 5-10 minutes to serve. It is also common to serve the rice cake pan-fried till crispy.
Traditionally, 100% rice flour is used to make this Kueh and the Kueh hardens very fast just like rice. Over time, glutinous rice flour and tapioca flour have also been introduced to improve the texture of the pastry.
You can always play with different proportions of these three flours to get a dough that you like.
Enjoy your P'ng Kueh with some beautiful Blue Butterfly Pea Tea!
P'ng Kueh perfect with our Blue Goddess Tea and both make for an absolutely divine treat.
About Grace Chen
"I am a happy homemaker living in Melbourne. I am blessed with 2 beautiful teenage children and a loving husband. I enjoy cooking and baking for my family. One of our household principles is “ pragmatic, sustainable and healing suburban living”.
I spend a great amount of time in the kitchen cooking for my family. I always ensure that my family eats healthy, nutritious, and delicious home-cooked meals. I like to use natural ingredients because we are what we eat. I use a lot of homegrown herbs and spices in my cooking and baking. I am constantly sourcing for natural ingredients for my pantry.
You might like to follow Grace on her FB Page - https://www.facebook.com/gracechenho
Thank you, Grace!