冰饭 (Bīng fàn) or “ice rice” is a traditional snack from Fuzhou, Fujian Province. This cooling dessert is gluten-free, vegan and easy to make with whatever you have in your kitchen.
All you need is steamed or boiled glutinous rice, ice and a light simple syrup. You can also substitute the light sugar syrup with milk tea.
A tip: I recommend that you eat the ice rice as soon as you can. The rice becomes mushy and unpleasant after soaking for a long time.
You can store the liquid, the toppings and the rice separately and assemble when you want. Try to finish the ice rice within four days.
Here is the recipe:
The Rice: Steaming Method
Measure out two cups of glutinous rice (also called sticky rice or sweet rice). Wash the rice once and then soak in a vessel with water for at least 3-6 hours. There should be at least two inches of water above the rice. Soaking the rice for longer periods results in softer rice, which isn’t what you want for this recipe. You want loose chewy grains.
Drain the rice and transfer to a lined steamer basket heat-proof plate. You can line with steamer paper, cheesecloth or parchment paper.
Fill a large pot (with a lid) that can fit your steaming vessel with water. If you don’t have a large enough pot, steam the rice in two batches. Place a steam rack on the bottom of the pot, place your rice in the pot and cover the pot with a lid.
Steam the rice for 30-45 minutes. You may need to increase or decrease time depending on your batch size. Check your rice after 20 minutes to assess. Again, you want loose and chewy grains of rice.
The Rice: Stovetop Method (smaller portion)
- Measure out half a cup of rice and wash it once.
- Place the rice into a small saucepan and fill with ¾ cups of water.
- Cook the rice on high until the water is mostly gone. The water should be a thin layer on the bottom.
- Put the lid on the saucepan, turn the fire to medium-low and steam for about 10 minutes. The grains should be cooked through but still have a bite to them.
Measure out two cups of water and stir in two tablespoons of granulated sugar. You can do this over the stove in a saucepan to speed it up. You can add more sugar if you want a sweeter syrup or if your toppings are not that sweet.
Add orange blossom water, vanilla extract, banana extract or other flavorings to your syrup. Start with half a teaspoon and adjust to taste.
Chill the syrup.
The Milk Tea
- Prepare two cups of very strong tea of your choice and add milk. Ice rice with a peony milk tea base is delicious. I have also seen recipes where people just pour their boba order onto the rice.
You can add in any toppings you’d like! Some popular toppings include: bite-sized cubes of watermelon, cantaloupe, raisins, peanuts, pistachios, walnuts, snow fungus, lychee jelly, herbal jelly, canned longan, canned pineapples, canned palm seeds and crushed ice.
Here is what your finished product will look like. I chose to add sultanas, canned pineapple, canned longan, watermelon and peanuts. Enjoy!