Stuffed Red Dates with Sticky Rice Balls | Hong Kong Food Blog with Recipes, Cooking Tips mostly of Chinese and Asian styles | Taste Hong Kong

Stuffed Red Dates with Sticky Rice Balls

Stuffed Red Dates with Sticky Rice

It is easier to make this sticky (glutinous) rice ball than the classical ones because a filling, be it a sesame paste or a red bean paste, is not necessary. Instead, the rice ball takes the opposite role, acting as the filling for the pitted red date (in Chinese ็ด…ๆฃ—) and giving this healthy, simple dessert a bouncy kick.

These stuffed dates actually have more kicks to themselves while serving warm, that is, when the aroma of them still floats and their fillings are still soft but springy. But as the rice balls are just steamed and hot, they are very sticky, even sticker than those cooked in soups. Eating cool is not a bad idea, but they should not be stored in fridge or consumed the next day.

I like using brown sugar than white sugar for the fillings because, after steamed, the rice balls will turn translucent and expose the color of sugar. I simply prefer them to look slightly brown than purely white. My bias.

Stuffed Red Dates with Sticky Rice Balls

  • Ingredients
  • 15 dried red dates
  • 20g sticky/glutinous rice flour
  • 15g water
  • 5g brown/white sugar

Removing Pit or Stone from a Red Date


Soak dried red dates in about 2 cups of water for 30 minutes to soften them slightly. If there are are any dirts on their skins, rub them off gently (actually some impurities merely detach themselves after soaking). Discard water and pat dry dates. As the dates are softened, you will find it easy to make a vertical slit along one side thus having an opening to remove the stone. Be careful of the knife, you may try to envelop the date with a towel to avoid cutting your fingers.

Dissolve sugar in water, then mix the solution into the flour and knead the dough until no more lumps exist. Unlike those shown in my picture which has rested a while after stuffed, your dough should be slightly wet and sticky. Lay the dough on a clean, flat working surface and shape (by rolling it under your palms) into the shape of a rolling pin, about 1 cm in diameter.

Slice the dough crosswise into 15 equal portions. As you portion the dough by cutting, the original disc shape will be flatten a bit. But don’t worry, as long as each portion is in similar thickness and can be housed into the dates, that will be fine.

Arrange the stuffed dates on a steam-proof dish (try avoid having the dough face downward as it will glue to the dish when cooked). Set up a rack in wok like this and cover. After the water is brought to a boil, steam over medium heat for 10 minutes.

Serve warm and enjoy!

Feel free to multiply the amount to share with your friends and family. The amount of flour in this recipe yielded a dough just slightly larger than an egg.

For variations, actually a simpler version, just stuff the pitted red dates with roasted nuts, like walnuts, almonds, etc., and enjoy them without steaming. But do limit eating to only a few pieces a day because both red dates and roasted nuts are heaty foods, or you may end up with a sore throat.

Stuffed Red Date with Roasted Walnut

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  1. Angie's Recipes

    You are an artist! These are my type of sweet treat!

  2. Little Inbox

    This is something new to me. I have never come across this sweet treat. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. penny aka jeroxie

    Good call on not eating too much of it! I did it once and just say that I didn’t feel too good after that.

  4. TasteHongKong

    @penny aka jeroxie,
    I usually limit myself to about half a dozen in one day. But there are individual differences. Like eating deep-fried foods, which are also classified as heaty items, some easily get a symptom of sore throat while others do not.

  5. noobcook

    I’ve never seen red dates so beautiful. what a genius idea ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Carolyn Jung

    I bet these would be great with a nice, strong cup of tea.

  7. Pepy @Indonesia Eats

    Very nice pictures! I never know that we can stuff the dates with sticky rice flour

  8. tigerfish

    What a great ingenious idea! such a nice sweet snack.

  9. Jessica

    brilliant idea

  10. TasteHongKong

    Hi There,
    Thanks for all your kind words. I don’t invent this recipe. I once ate a similar dessert years ago in a restaurant, which served the stuffed dates with some diluted syrup, but that was too sweet for me. I later saw this again in some Chinese blogs, and thereby created my version here : ).

  11. Christine@Christine's Recipes

    That’s a great creation indeed. I have ever thought of using red dates to make sticky rice balls like this. The balls look very beautiful.

  12. Mary Moh

    These look really pretty and would be great for parties. I’m sure my friends will like them though I’m quite doubtful about my western friends. Most don’t like soft sticky food.

  13. Tastes of Home

    I don’t think I’ve ever had this dessert – but looks pretty and sounds yummy ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Juliana

    Wow, I Iove everything that is made with sticky rice…and this stuffed dates looks great…yummie!

  15. Mei Teng

    This is something new. Never tried stuffed dates. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Amy @ cookbookmaniac

    Gorgeous photos. I love red dates, stuffing them with sticky rice balls makes them even more enticing. yum!

  17. 5 Star Foodie

    These are such scrumptious bites – I love the idea!

  18. Heidi- Apples Under My Bed

    Yum! These look great! I adore dates, and love sticky rice too. Love the picture of the dates all lined up – gorgeous.
    Heidi xo

  19. Heavenly Housewife

    I absolutely love dates. I remember when i was little i thought they were pretty gross, but now that I’m older I cant get enough of them. I love this recipe because its simple and looks so pretty. Great job.
    *kisses* HH

  20. Alisa

    First time to see this treat, it looks wonderful. I love your photos

  21. Cooking Gallery

    This sounds very interesting! I am not dates eater, but I am sure my husband would love it!

  22. Shirley@kokken69

    This looks so lovely! Most auspicious for Chinese new year!

  23. Lori

    On a recent trip I purchased some red dates to try. I have enver had them before and am looking at all the recipes with them in it. This one looks very itneresting.

  24. Von

    hehe…..these are so cool!! I’ve never just eaten red dates before- my mum usually puts them in soup, so I don’t really have much of an idea what they taste like….
    but these look really cute and they sound delicious too!

  25. mycookinghut

    This is such an interestting dish!

  26. pigpigscorner

    wow, very interesting. I’ve never had red dates like this. Most of the time, they are all mushy in soups.

  27. Lisa

    You take pretty amazing photos!

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  29. naenae

    this looks amazing im going to do this for a school food prodject ๐Ÿ™‚