Bubble pudding or paopao you gao is a dessert made from flour, shortening or lard and sugar. The paopao you gao is steamed, then fried; in the process of frying, bubbles start to form on the surface of the dough, thus creating the ‘bubble’ effect. The crisp texture of the bubble pudding sweetly punctuates the rich, velvety sweet date soup in this tribute to northern Chinese desserts.
Green tea powder½tsp
Purple potato flour (optional) ½tsp
Prepare date soup. Combine red dates and water in a pot. Simmer for 5 hours over low heat, until the skin of the dates turn brown. Strain mixture and discard dates. Reheat date soup over medium heat and add sugar. Stir constantly until sugar is completely dissolved. Set aside.
Prepare bubble pudding. Place flour on a tray and steam for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. When cooled, sift flour into a mixing bowl. Combine with lard or shortening and boiled water, kneading into a smooth dough.
Divide dough into 15g (½oz) portions. Flatten each portion slightly in the palm of your hand. Place about 1 tsp red date or red bean paste on centre of dough. Shape dough into balls, covering red date or red bean paste completely. Repeat for remaining dough and paste.
Heat oil in a wok over medium heat and deep-fry dough balls until bubbles start to form on the surface of balls. Drain and place on a serving plate.
Reheat red date soup and pour into a tea cup. Serve with bubble pudding and garnish with honey date, green tea powder and purple potato flour, if using. Serve immediately.