Nan Gua Bing (Chinese pumpkin pancakes)

Angela says, ‘Like a lot of Asian desserts the recipes aren’t really recipes but more like guidelines. The more often I make something the better I get at it. This truly applies to nan gua bing, the texture changes a little with the weather and humidity, I add the flour little by little so that I can feel the texture of the dough in my hands to know when it’s right. It’s like fresh pasta, it’s an ever changing friendship that weathers the seasons; my hands always know and keep the memory of when it’s just right.’

Fresh from the garden: pumpkin
Recipe source: adapted from a recipe on
Makes: 12 small pancakes that we halved to share


  • Chopping boards and knives
  • Bowls – large, small
  • Steamer basket & wok
  • Baking paper
  • Scales
  • Measures – jug, cup, ½ cup, tablespoons
  • Mouli & metal spoon
  • A non-stick frying pan
  • Rolling pins
  • Serving plates

  • 1 small pumpkin (kabocha or jap is ideal)
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • 1½ cups glutinous rice flour (not the rice flour for gluten-free baking)
  • Rice bran or vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons icing sugar for dusting 

What to do:

  • Carefully chop the pumpkin into 2cm wedges and then carefully peel the slices with a very sharp knife or peeler. Weigh the peeled pumpkin to yield 225g, then cut each slice into 2cm cubes.
  • Put the steamer basket into the wok and then using a jug, fill the wok with cold water to just touch the bottom of the basket. Remove the basket and turn the wok on to boil the water.
  • Line the basket with baking paper, then pop the pumpkin cubes in and place the basket on to steam for 20 minutes or until fork-tender, making sure the water doesn’t touch any paper or pumpkin.
  • While the pumpkin is still very hot pass it through the mouli so the pumpkin is smooth with no lumps. Then, working quickly to make sure the pumpkin stays hot, stir in all the sugar and flour bit by bit, mixing and kneading until the dough is slightly sticky yet smooth.
  • Shape the dough into small balls and then either using a rolling pin or your hands, flatten each ball out into a small circular pancake about ½cm thick.
  • Heat the frying pan on medium heat and pour in a thin layer of oil. Add a layer of pancakes and fry until lightly colored golden brown, flipping and turning heat down to medium low to cook through.
  • Transfer to serving plates and spoon the icing sugar into a sieve, lightly dusting over the pancakes – serve immediately.

Notes: What other vegetables can be eaten as dessert? What is a mouli?

Categories: Kitchen Garden, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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