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.
- 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).
Allow the pumpkin to cool a little and mash it down with a fork or puree it with a hand held blender.
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.
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.
Take pinches of dough and roll them into balls, set aside.
Optional: Dip or roll some or all of your pumpkin dough balls into sesame seeds.
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.
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.
Best served warm but also not too shabby when cooled.
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.