In tropical countries like Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, and many others that celebrate the Lunar New Year, Chinese people eat foods that represent special meanings during their Chinese New Year celebrations. Those foods normally carry auspicious meanings or good blessings.
Eight Treasures Rice aka Ba Bao fan (八宝饭) or Eight Treasures Porridge (腊八粥) is a dish that Chinese will eat on the 8th day of Chinese New Year. Eight ingredients with specific meanings are used. Traditionally this dish is very sweet as lots of sugar is used. I created this gluten-free, grain-free and refined sugar-free version that is suitable for people who need to watch out for their sugar intake or are having a low carbohydrate diet.
Prep time: 15 to 20 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Serving size: serves 4
- ½ cup of green peas or sweet peas (new beginning)
- ¼ cup of wolf berries or goji berries (auspicious & lucky)
- ¼ cup of almond flakes (happiness)
- ¼ cup of dried logans (reunion)
- ¼ cup of dried mushrooms or shiitake mushrooms (harmony & wealth)
- ¼ cup of bacon or Chinese sausage (bountiful wealth)
- ½ cup of pumpkin or butternut squash (prosperity) – steamed or baked, cubed
- ¼ cup of water chestnuts (sweet marriage) – sliced or diced
- Cauliflower rice – a head of a big cauliflower, grated until the florets look like rice grain.
Note: you can also use lotus seeds (good marriage & fertility) or gingko nuts (good health). For vegetarians, you can replace the bacon with red dates (sweet life).
Dried mushrooms need to be soaked for one hour to soften before cooking. Wolf berries and dried logans just need to be washed and drained. If you are using lotus seeds and gingko nuts, they need to be boiled for 15 to 20 minutes to soften as well.
- Sautee the sweet peas and wolf berries in a wok with some oil and salt. Remove from the wok and set aside.
- Sautee the rest of the ingredients except the cauliflower rice in the wok with oil.
- Season with a bit of sea salt or rock salt, coconut amino or sugar free soy sauce and water. Cook for a few minutes then remove from the wok and set aside.
- Cook the cauliflower rice as you normally do. I like to cook it with some eggs. It takes only a few minutes for the cauliflower rice to be cooked.
- Once the rice is cooked, add in all the cooked ingredients, mix well and serve it hot!