This local sweet is connected with the Muslim population of Beijing. Ingredients include red dates, Chinese yams, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, brown sugar, and a thin lard pancake. The fruit and potatoes are chopped up and mixed with flour and water and then placed on the lard pancake. This is rolled up into a column and then steamed for thirty minutes. It is then shaped into a triangle and sliced into small cubes that are fried until golden brown. Brown sugar is boiled into a syrup and poured over the rolls, which are stacked into a pyramid. The finished product has a reddish color, and the rolls are soft and sticky with a pleasant aroma.
These yam and date rolls have been made for at least 100 years and were created as a way to use the skins of the Chinese yams, sweet potatoes and potatoes. The red dates and flour were added to the recipe to help everything stay together.
This sweet has become very popular among the people of Beijing and become a representative product of the local Chinese Muslim population. However, this product is made following a technique that is passed down is families, and those still producing yam and date rolls are few.