This time we have cooked Nian gao, a special dessert usually reserved for Chinese New Year, and it is indeed Chinese New Year very shortly! This year will be the year of the Dragon. This dessert is called Chinese New Year Sweet Rice Cake 年糕. Joanne doesn’t like many sweets but she likes this and has fond memories of it being prepared when she was little; then it was made in a huge cauldron and it was so hard to stir it took three grown men and a big stick to mix it all together. We made it in a regular mixing bowl and Joanne stirred the Sweet Rice Cake 年糕 with chopsticks. :)

Chinese New Year Sweet Rice Cake 年糕

Chinese New Year Sweet Rice Cake 年糕

You can also make this Nian gao, Sweet Rice Cake 年糕 with red beans in it. It’s exactly the same method but with (ready cooked) red beans crushed and mixed into the paste with the flour, water and sugar.

The ingredients 食材 are as follows;

  • 4 Chinese bowls of hot water
  • 3 Chinese bowls of sticky rice flour (450g)
  • 2 Chinese bowls of brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp of dark brown sugar
  • batter – (prepared and used before frying, 2 days later) flour, egg and enough water to make the batter like a custard thickness
the cake, chilled after steaming, now ready to slice and fry

the cake, chilled after steaming, now ready to slice and fry

The method 作法;

  1. put the 4 bowls of very hot water in your mixing bowl (approx 1 litre of water)
  2. add the sugar to the hot water and stir it all up with a spoon, you will feel when it’s all dissolved
  3. in another mixing bowl put all your flour
  4. add the hot water/sugar mix bit by bit, stirring continuously with your chopsticks, you want to make a smooth paste
  5. Joanne found the paste to be just right with some of the sugar water left over, about 1 Chinese bowl was left over!
  6. if you want to add red beans (adzuki beans) then add them now.
  7. oil the inside of a large bowl, then pour the paste through a sieve into this bowl, you don’t want a lumpy sticky rice cake for new year!
  8. you need a large pan with a lid into which your bowl will fit because you will be steaming the cake mixture now
  9. the bowl is held above the bottom of the pan on a small stand/rack. 2 cups of boiling water are added to the pan, the bowl is put upon the stand and the pan covered
  10. this has to steam for about 45 – 50 minutes. Half way through we had to add another 2 cups of boiling water!
  11. we tested the Rice Cake 年糕 at 45 minutes but the chopstick poked into the cake came out wet, so another 5 minutes was required, the chopstick test was much more clean!
  12. now it’s ready remove from the steamer and let it cool, cover and refrigerate for at least 25 hours
  13. 1 or 2 days later
  14. remove the Rice Cake 年糕 from the bowl by turning it upside down
  15. cut thin slices from the cake about half a finger size
  16. prepare the batter; mix some flour and one egg, then stir and add water until it’s like batter usually is!
  17. dip the pieces into the batter and deep fry
  18. turn the pieces to make sure they are evenly cooked and browned
  19. you can tell that the cake is ready because it becomes soft inside – poke with a chop stick!
  20. finish them by browning
  21. serve hot with dessicated coconut and/or peanut powder
Another view of the Chinese New Year Rice Cake

Another view of the Chinese New Year Rice Cake

As usual Joanne has recorded a Nian gao cooking video so you can see and follow the timings, chopping sizes and method step by step, as she prepares the Chinese New Year Sweet Rice Cake 年糕. This is a special cake for your Chinese New Year celebrations, we hope you and your friends all like it and you have a great new year of the Dragon!

Chinese New Year Sweet Rice Cake 年糕, cooking video

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