Steamed Pears with Sticky Rice

Purple sticky rice and mung beans fill the interior of these perfectly steamed pears for a light and refreshing dessert.

Steamed Pears with Sticky Rice

Charissa Fay / Food Styling by Nora Singley / Prop Styling by Maeve Sheridan

Active Time:
25 mins
Soak Time:
8 hrs
Total Time:
9 hrs
4 servings

Subtly sweet with a silky richness from ghee, these pears, stuffed with chewy mung beans, are perfectly tender with a lightly floral flavor. Chef Zoey Xinyi Gong, a traditional Chinese medicine food therapist and chef who shared this recipe, notes that steamed desserts are popular in Chinese cuisine and commonly used for traditional Chinese medicine food therapy because they are light and easy for the body to digest.


  • 2/3 cup uncooked short-grain sticky white rice (about 5 1/2 ounces)

  • 1/2 cup uncooked glutinous millet (about 3 1/2 ounces)

  • 2 tablespoons skinless dried mung beans (about 1 ounce)

  • 6 small or 3 large jujube dates (about 1/2 ounce)

  • 5 tablespoons grass-fed ghee, melted

  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon salted roasted pepitas (about 1/3 ounce)

  • 1 tablespoon sunflower seed kernels (about 1/3 ounce)

  • 2 teaspoons dried osmanthus flower (see note)

  • 4 large (10-ounce) Asian pears

  • 1 cup water, plus more if needed


  1. Rinse rice, millet, and mung beans in a fine wire-mesh strainer. Combine rice, millet, and mung beans in a large bowl, and add water to cover. Let soak, covered, at least 8 hours and up to 12 hours. Drain; set aside. Remove and discard pits from jujube dates. Chop pitted dates into small pieces.

  2. Combine rice, millet, mung beans, chopped pitted dates, ghee, brown sugar, pumpkin seed kernels, sunflower seed kernels, and osmanthus flower in a large bowl; stir to combine. Set aside.

  3. Cut off about 1/2 inch from the top of each pear, as if you are making a “cap” for the pear; reserve removed “caps.” Using a small spoon or melon baller, scoop out center of each pear, leaving about 1/2 inch of pear flesh around edges. Discard scooped-out pear flesh, or reserve for another use.

  4. Stuff each pear with about 1/2 cup rice mixture, taking care not to pack them too tightly. Cover each pear with its “cap."

  5. Place a steamer basket in a deep pot; add 1 cup water to pot. Bring water to a simmer over medium-high. Arrange pears, cap side up, in steamer basket, and cover. Cook until pears are tender and rice is cooked through, about 35 minutes, checking pears halfway through cooking time and adding more water if it has evaporated. Serve hot.

To Make Ahead

Rice filling mixture can be prepared through step 2 up to 1 day in advance.


Dried osmanthus flower has a bright, sweet flavor with notes of apricot and apples. Find both dried osmanthus flower and glutinous millet online at

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