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Eight Treasure Porridge (Ba Bao Zhou 八宝粥)

by Shirley
Published: Updated:
Ba Bao Zhou {eight treasure porridge} with salted duck egg and rose fermented bean curd

Eight treasure porridge is a popular breakfast item in China

It is native to my hometown Yangtze River Delta area, home to Huai Yang cuisine. In the eighties, eight treasure porridge gained national recognition thanks to a popular canned version product introduced by a Taiwanese snack company.

eight treasure porridge ingredients

So what is eight treasure porridge?

It is a combination of mother nature’s best grains, legumes, seeds, and additional goodies such as red jujubes, Goji berries, or dried lily bulb, slow cook together with water for 2 hours or more. The slow cooking process creates magic and turns the mixture into this smooth, gooney, and melt-in-your-mouth yumminess, which is super easy for the body to digest.

The porridge is popular both for the plain version to pair with salty side dishes such as boiled salted duck egg, Zha Cai, fermented rose bean curd, or a sweet version with brown sugar.

How to make good eight treasure porridge like a pro?

First is to pick a good balance of grains, legumes, and additional goodie items

While it is quite flexible in terms of what goes into the porridge. The best practice is having a good balance as each category serves a purpose.

Grains are the major bonding ingredient that brings everything together and creates this gooey yumminess.

Brown sweet rice, brown rice, whole oats, pearl barley, adlay (薏米), purple rice (riceberry), black rice are among the popular grains.

  • Brown sweet rice or browns rice are great for porridge as the cooking process thoroughly softens the grains so we can fully enjoy the additional nutrients they bring to us.
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) adores adlay and frequently adds it to a wide range of prescriptions to soothe the body and nourish the systems from the inside out.

Make sure you have about 50%-60% porridge content in grains. Out of the grains, make sure you have grains that have a glutinous or gooney nature. Other than the brown sweet rice mentioned, there are sweet or glutinous versions of many varieties of rice such as glutinous purple rice, glutinous black rice, or white sweet rice.

Legume adds substance and textures. Peanut, black beans, black soybeans, soybeans, red beans, adzuki beans, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas are among those that are suitable for the porridge.

eight treasure porridge ingredients

Note that lentils and chickpeas are not traditionally native to the Yangtze River Delta area. Therefore, they are not necessarily a typical item for Eight Treasure Porridge. However, I tried adding them into the porridge all the time and love it.

Legumes typically come as dried beans, which require soaking properly at least 4 hours in advance.

Make sure you have only 50% or less legume content in the porridge.

soaked soybeans black beans and lily roots

Dried Lily bulb, red jujubes, and Goji berries are optional but popular additional goodie items.

Lily is one of nature’s wonder plants. The flowers are elegantly beautiful, and both its flowers (dried lily flower buds) and roots (dried lily bulb) are popular healthy edible items in China.

Dried lily bulbs are lily flower roots that were previously cleaned, separated, and dried. Dried lily bulbs need proper soaking in advance, just like dried beans.

The second is to choose the color appealing items

We like the eight treasure porridge to have an array of colors such as white, yellow, purple, black, and red. The black beans, purple rice, and red jujube serve just like that on top of their nutritional value. Alternatively, you can add red beans or black rice.

eight treasure porridge ingredients soaked and ready for cooking

The third is to pick items we can cook at a similar speed

One thing to keep in mind is not to include something that is very easy to cook and very gooey themselves to the mixture such as steel-cut oats or millets. This is because they are potentially fully cooked in 10 minutes, way before the remaining ingredients in the mix. As a result, they might stick to the bottom of the pot and get burned.

If you like oats, try to add whole oats.

Last but not least is to pick a pot that contains the heat and slowly releases the heat

Cast Iron stockpot is perfect for this. Stainless steel Tri-ply works well too.

This is also a perfect dish for slow cooker or crock pot to make.

Do you enjoy cooking with a slow cooker? Make sure you try my other two delicious recipes that are also excellent for the slow cooker.

Ba Bao Zhou {eight treasure porridge} with salted duck egg and rose fermented bean curd

Eight Treasure Porridge Recipe (八宝粥)

Yield: 6 servings
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours

Eight treasure porridge is a popular breakfast item in China. Slow cooking with water turns nutritious grains and legumes combination into a smooth gooey melt in your mouth magic. It is the simplest way to enjoy all those extremely healthy & nutritious mother nature's superfood ingredients. Porridge is especially popular during wintertime when our bodies need extra care. Either sweet or savory version is suitable.


1 cup brown rice and other sweet rice varieties, such as

  • Brown Sweet Rice
  • Purple Rice
  • Brown Rice
  • Black Wild Rice
  • Purple Sweet Rice

1 cup grain variety, such as

  • Adlay
  • Barley
  • Lentils

1/2 cup bean/seeds/nuts varieties, such as

  • Soy Beans
  • Black Soybeans
  • Red Beans
  • Kidney Beans
  • Adzuki Beans
  • Peanuts
  • Chickpeas

1/4 cup dried fruits or roots varies, such

  • Goji Berries
  • Red Jujube
  • Dried Lily Bulbs


  • 2 liters of water


  1. Soak dried beans, nuts, chickpeas and dried lily roots 4 hours in advance, change the water once and wash/rinse and clean them well
  2. Gather all remaining ingredients, use a strainer to wash/rinse them thoroughly
  3. Place everything in a large cast-iron stockpot or slow cooker and then add water

Use Cast-iron Stockpot:

  1. Turn the heat to medium-high, bring it to boil, stir slowly
  2. Once it reaches boiling point, turn heat to simmer mode, and cook for 2 hours
  3. Check and stir at the 1-hour mark to ensure everything is blended and properly cooked and nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot
  4. Add 1-2 cups of boiled water if the porridge looks too thick. Slowly stir to blend/mix.
  5. Turn off the heat at the 2-hour mark, stir & mix gently and then put the lid back on. Let it continue to simmer inside the castiron stockpot for another 30 minutes before serving.

Use Slow-Cooker:

  1. Turn the heat to high until boiling. To expedite the process, use boiling water instead
  2. Once the water is boiling, turn the heat to simmer mode, and let it cook for 2 hours
  3. Check and stir at the 1-hour mark to ensure everything is blended and properly cooked and nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot
  4. Add 1-2 cups of boiled water if the porridge looks too thick. Slowly stir to blend/mix.
  5. At the 2-hour mark, if the porridge looks gooney which is a good indicator it is ready. Then gently stir & mix and turn off the heat.
  6. If the porridge is still kind of looks watery, then stir gently and cook for additional 20 minutes or until the whole thing looks smooth, blended, and gooey.


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Nutrition Information
Yield 6 servings Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 517Total Fat 7gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 5gCholesterol 0mgSodium 34mgCarbohydrates 88gFiber 17gSugar 6gProtein 29g

Nutrition calculation is provided by Nutritionix to the best knowledge per ingredients description and isn't always accurate.

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Leave a Comment


Fani Mushkova January 29, 2023 - 7:54 am

For how long can it be stored in the fridge?

HomeNaturallyMade January 29, 2023 - 9:27 am

No more than 5 days, especially when you use lots of beans. For instance, cooked soybeans and black beans do not stay fresh long at all. If the porridge is made just with grains and adzuki beans, it will last a little bit longer. Hope this helps. Please let me know should you have additional questions or comments.

www.xmc.pl Info December 14, 2020 - 3:24 am

Several with the points associated with this blog publish are generally advantageous nonetheless had me personally wanting to know, did they critically suggest that? 1 point Ive got to say is your writing expertise are excellent and Ill be returning back again for any brand-new blog publish you come up with, you might probably have a brand-new supporter. I book marked your blog for reference.

Shirley December 14, 2020 - 9:28 pm

Thank you!

WWW.XMC.PL November 25, 2020 - 9:50 am

Ive meant to post something similar to this on my webpage and youve got given me a concept. Cheers.


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