Nian Gao (Chinese New Year Sticky Cake)

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On the day I was making the peanut cookies, I was making CNY treat #2 at the same time. :D The Nian Gao batter was quick and easy to put together, and all I had to do was keep an eye on the steamer to make sure it did not run out of water. What’s so special about eating Nian Gao at this time of the year? Since Nian Gao symbolizes “raising oneself in the coming year,” eating it implies success, good fortune, and prosperity in the new year. I guess it’s a good thing that it tastes delicious as well, right? :D

The original recipe came from Sonia of Nasi Lemak Lover blog (thank you so much once again, Sonia). You can also find my previous Nian Gao post here. Note that I have since then made a couple of slight changes to the recipe and will list them in this post, along with more detailed instructions on the steaming part.

460 grams glutinous rice flour (1 bag)
425 grams sugar
460 milliliters water
100 grams golden syrup
2 tablespoons vegetable oil and more to oil the pans if not using banana leaves
 

Line two 6×2-inch cake pans with softened banana leaves or oil the pans with vegetable oil, line the bottoms with parchment, and oil the parchment paper; set aside. Prepare your steamer by bringing water to a boil over high heat. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, 460 ml water, golden syrup, and 2 tbsp vegetable oil together. Stir mixture until sugar dissolves completely. Pour into prepared pans. Right before steaming, reduce heat to medium (water will still be boiling) and steam for 1 hour (after ½ hour, I switch level 1 and 2 for a more even steaming – I find that this helps to prevent the pan in the first level from overflowing). After the first hour, reduce heat to medium-low and continue to steam the Nian Gao for 4 more hours (I continue to switch level 1 and 2 every hour). If needed, refill the steamer with additional water (use hot water). When the steaming is done, remove Nian Gao to a cooling rake and cool (keep the Nian Gao in their pans). Once they are cool, cover with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm.

When you are ready to eat the Nian Gao, remove it from the pan and slice it thin (about ⅜”). Beat an egg or two with a pinch of salt, dip the sliced Nian Gao into the egg mixture, and fry over medium or medium-high heat in a pan lightly coated with oil. The Nian Gao is ready when it is soft and the egg coating is cooked to golden brown (depending on your heat, it may take only 1 to 2 minutes). Serve hot/warm, and store leftovers in the fridge. Enjoy!

Prepare the pans
Prepare the pans
Combine all the ingredients to make the batter
Combine all the ingredients to make the batter
Ready for steaming
Ready for steaming
I steam in a two level steamer (the bottom holds the water and the two levels above it hold the cake pans) - note that I switch the levels with the cake pans around throughout the steaming process (i.e. first to second and second to first) for a more even steaming
I steam in a two level steamer (the bottom holds the water and the two levels above it hold the cake pans) – note that I switch the levels with the cake pans around throughout the steaming process (i.e. first to second and second to first) for a more even steaming
Cooled Nian Gao
Cooled Nian Gao
Slice it thin when it's still cold
Slice it thin when it’s still cold
Pan-fry until soft and golden brown -delicious!
Pan-fry until soft and golden brown -delicious!

I am submitting this post to Chinese New Year Delights 2013 hosted by Sonia aka Nasi Lemak Lover.

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4 Replies to “Nian Gao (Chinese New Year Sticky Cake)”

  1. I have never made these yet, but would love, too. Looks easy at first sight ;-)
    Chris, I love your steamer !!!!! Did you get that in the Asian store? I’ve been thinking of make bak pao for a long time now. I bought an electric steamer (3-tier) but the compartments are way too small/ narrow :-(

    1. It is easy…just takes a while to steam but that’s essentially hands-off time. I actually got my steamer from importfood.com (an online Thai store)…it’s just like the ones back home but this is smaller…fits just right on my stovetop. Sorry to hear that your electric steamer compartments are too small to make pao – this is an extremely good reason to get another steamer. ;D

  2. Wow, this is real easy peasy. Will try this simple nian gao too.. Thanks for sharing :)

    1. You’ll love it! It is authentic and absolutely delicious…the original recipe came from Nasi Lemak Lover – love her blog! :D

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