Every year, for over twenty years, I have served this pudding for Chinese New Year. No relative or friend is allowed to leave without the blessings of this pudding. It conveys best wishes for a happy new year and sweet and gluey relations that will not come apart. No one has ever left without this sumptuous pudding, ever since I infused the tasteless, traditional sauce with Grand Marnier.
1 lb white, glutinous rice: soak in cold water overnight or until plump; steam for 20 minutes or until it is done
2 tbsp lard or butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups sweet red bean paste
Third of a cup assorted candied fruit (such as fruitcake mixture) for decorating
For the sauce (Mix in a pot)
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
rind from one orange: cut into very thin strips
2 tbsp cornstarch, mixed with ¼ cup water
Grand Marnier to taste
Combine hot, glutinous rice with ½cup sugar and 2 tablespoons lard or butter. Set aside.
Line a 9-inch, round-bottomed, 2-inch deep plate with plastic wrap. Evenly spoon half of the rice on plate, and evenly spread sweet red bean paste on top of rice. Spoon and spread remaining rice on bean paste.
Turn the plate with rice upside down on a slightly larger serving plate. Decorate pudding with candied fruits. (You may prepare pudding up to this point; cover and refrigerate for at least 3 days.) Steam pudding until it is hot and soft (about 30 minutes).
Prepare sauce about 10 minutes before serving pudding. Heat sauce over medium-low heat; stir and cook until it almost comes to a boil, add cornstarch-water. Cook and stir until it is clear and thickened. Add Grand Marnier, and stir to mix well. Remove from heat.
Serve each portion of hot rice pudding with hot Grand Marnier sauce on top.
Taken from Mai Leung’s book “The New Classic Chinese Cookbook” with permission. © Mai Leung Thayer. Published by Council Oak Publishing. ISBN 1-57187-052-1.