Recipes Stomach

Pumpkin Glutinous Rice Cakes

Chewy, delicious sweet treats, packed full of healthy pumpkin goodness, gluten free and vegan! Oh so easy to make with only 3 ingredients, there isn't any excuse not to give them a try.

A Chinese Sweet Treat

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Chinese pumpkin glutinous rice cakes or “Pumpkin cha guo” are not so much crumbly like a cake but more like a soft chewy pancake. The glutinous rice flour in this recipe is responsible for their chewy texture.

These are really moorish and suitable for both vegans and those with a gluten intolerance. Don’t be mislead by the word “glutinous” in the name, as this points to the fact that when cooked the rice flour becomes sticky, and not because there is any gluten in it.

With only 3 ingredients plus a little oil for frying, they are really easy to make, so why not give them a go.

<em>Written by Anna</em>
Written by Anna

Anna is an avid baker, gardener, traveller and dog-loving person. If not in the garden tending to her plants or in the kitchen designing show-stopping celebration cakes, she will be hanging out with Gracie, her Westie, whilst planning her next holiday.


  • Peeled and de-seeded pumpkin 700g
  • Sugar 200g
  • Glutinous rice flour 500g
  • Oil for frying
  • Optional white or black sesame seeds


Cut your pumpkin into medium sized chunks and steam for about 35 minutes till softened (drain away any liquid and reserve for later).

pumpkin, steamed pumpkin
Steam the pumpkin cubes till tender.

Allow the pumpkin to cool a little and mash it down with a fork or puree it with a hand held blender.

pumpkin puree
A hand held blender makes light work of pumpkin puree.

While the pumpkin is still warm, add the sugar and mix in.

Split the flour into 2-3 batches and mix in one at a time.

Take care when mixing the flour to avoid it going all over the place.

Using your hands, knead the mixture till all the ingredients are completely incorporated into an even textured dough. It should feel fairly sticky. If it is too dry, add some of the liquid reserved from the steaming process.

kneed the dough
Knead until smooth
pumpkin dough
This is what your dough should look like. Now is the time to do a taste test if required (see notes and tips below). You can cover this with cling wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes to make it more manageable or if you are preparing in advance, it can be stored in this way for up to 3 days.

Take pinches of dough and roll them into balls, set aside.

pumpkin doughballs
Pumpkin glutinous rice dough balls

Optional: Dip or roll some or all of your pumpkin dough balls into sesame seeds.

pumpkin, vegan dessert
Optional: Dip or roll in sesame seeds
Pumpkin, vegan, diary free, egg free, dessert
I prefer the taste of the plain pumpkin glutinous rice cakes but I think the sesame ones look nice so I usually like to make half and half.

Put your frying pan on a low heat and coat the bottom with some oil.

Using the part of your palm at the base of your thumb and the middle of the other palm, flatten the pumpkin dough balls into disks.

Pumpkin, vegan, diary free, egg free, dessert
Flatten the balls into disks.

Place as many of the pumpkin glutinous rice cakes in the pan as can fit without actually touching. Fry on a gentle heat turning once or twice.

Pumpkin, vegan, diary free, egg free, dessert
Pan fry both sides on a low to medium low flame
Pumpkin, vegan, diary free, egg free, dessert
Don’t be tempted to speed things up by turning the heat up too high, this will just burn the outside before the inside has time to cook through. They only take 2-3 minutes on each side any way.
Pumpkin, vegan, diary free, egg free, dessert, sesame
The sesame version coated on one side.

Best served warm but also not too shabby when cooled.

Pumpkin, vegan, diary free, egg free, dessert, sesame, Chinese dessert
A lovely teatime treat.


Notes and tips

As pumpkins can vary in sweetness and water content, you may find that the measurements stated above may need adjusting slightly to account for the natural variations.

My personal preference for sugar is “less sweet” so naturally this recipe reflects that. If you have a sweeter tooth you may want to roll out one piece in step six and fry that first to see how it tastes to you before rolling out the whole lot. You can kneed more sugar into the mixture if that is your preference.

It is important to pan fry these on a low to medium low heat so that the flour has a chance to cook through properly before the cakes burn on the outside. I find that a very slightly sticker mixture works better for this than a mixture on the dry side. Add a teaspoon of the reserved steaming water if you find the taste of raw flour coming through.

These pumpkin glutinous rice cakes can also be filled with red bean paste or deep fried for a crispy outer coating.

Pumpkin, vegan, diary free, egg free, dessert
Egg free and gluten free and oh so yummy! This image shows slightly less than half of what the recipe yields (my little monkey insisted on a number of taste tests before the photo was taken). I always make double of the dough so that I can cook some now and save some for later, they never last long in my house!

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