Steamed Jujube-cake in Xi’an
The steamed jujube-cake is one of traditional foodstuffs for breakfast in Xian. The materials of the making of steamed cake include glutinous rice and red jujubes, and it is a kind of sweet cakes. As the utensil for steaming the cake is a grid-like wooden-steamer passed on from ancient times hence the name steamed cake. The traditional steamer used to be a kind of pottery, which, riddled with many small holes on the bottom, was mainly used for steaming land. The present steamers are made of iron or aluminium, and its shape and principle for steaming are basically the same as that in the olden days. The basic skill in the making of steamed jujube-cake is like this: First have the glutinous rice washed and soaked in water and then make it air dry, and the red-jujubes are also treated in the same way.
To steam the cake it is necessary to use a specially made bucket-like cauldron, into which water is added to about the middle of it. Then put an iron-grid over me water in the bucket and spread on it a layer of red-jujubes and over it a layer of glutinous rice, thus going on like this till the seventh layer, i.e. a total of 3 layers of rice and four layers of jujubes. Cover it up with a piece of wet cloth and bring the water to boiling point over a blazing fire. And when it begins to steam take the cloth away and shed fresh water on it, repeating like this three times and finally steam it over a slow fire for another 5 -6 hours to bring the steamed cake to a turn.
The special feature of the steamed cake is: The jujubes smell fra- grant and soft rice sticky and sweet. It contains a rich compound of carbon dioxide and the jujubes can also help strengthen kidney function, invigorate blood-circulation and effect composure. It is a kind of food that can help keep fit.