Ba bao zhou

16 Nov

My colleagues tell me this sweet porridge is so good for your health, and as I love the taste and flavours, I eat it at least twice a week in the winter months(although come to think of it actually a little more!!!). Ba bao zhou (eight treasure porridge) is often eaten at breakfast, lunch and as a snack. I can buy it from my local 24-hour zhou restaurant, so I guess you can eat is anytime you feel like it, or it’s also easy to make at home. You can choose to make your own and go to a nut and seed seller, and make your own eight treasures to eat, or you can even buy a pre-packaged canned or dried one, soak it for a few hours, then boil it for a few hours in a normal saucepan, or even a pressure cooker, which doesn’t take as long.  Cook it until the rice is sticky and cooked. It goes as dark red/purple colour. Different places seem to have some different ingredients, but the ones I’ve tried have been made up of wild rice/normal rice, glutinous rice, maize, black rice, red beans, mung beans, oats, peanuts, barley, red dates (jujubes), dried lotus seeds and/or dried longan.  All of these things are available in packages or from your local nut/seed section of Chinese supermarkets. It’s a sweet mixture so after cooking most recipes recommend adding some sugar, but it’s nice not too sweet.

 I’ve found ba bao zhou to be a great pick-me-up when feeling sick, and a lot of Chinese think so too – on an overnight train I was on a local had about 4 cans of ba bao zhou which he kept filling up with water and drinking. When I asked him, he motioned it was for his throat.

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