Nian Gao is usually referred to as the Chinese New Year cake but it’s not like your typical western cake. This “cake” is made of glutinous rice flour, which results in a delicate, chewy (sticky) texture. Wonder what it tastes like? I’ve been racking my brain trying to think of something to compare it to but I’m coming up with zilch! I would like to say it’s like eating something mildly honeyed but that’s not entirely accurate either…you’ll just have to make it and find out. :-D
I actually made Sonia’s Nian Gao several weeks ago but we didn’t eat it until CNY. Having never made my own Nian Gao before this, I totally did not know what to expect. I did get a little alarmed at how extremely soft and sticky the Nian Gao was after its long steaming process but I guess that’s how it’s supposed to be (and it did firm up in the fridge). I was also a little worried that the Nian Gao would turn out too sweet but that wasn’t the case at all. Although I did reduce the sugar slightly, judging from the result, I think it would have been fine even if I had used the full amount. In my family, we eat our Nian Gao lightly dipped in beaten egg and pan-fried (kinda like french toast). Delicious!
|Glutinous rice flour can be found in any Asian grocery store|
|The Nian Gao batter looks pretty much like your typical pancake batter|
|Ready to be steamed|
|The bottom level holds the water and the next two levels are basically racks with holes to allow steam to pass through and circulate|
Note that the two things I did differently from Sonia is that I reduced the sugar by 50g and instead of making my own golden syrup, I used Lyle’s (see below).
Line two 6×2-inch round cake pans with the softened banana leaves. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, water, golden syrup, and vegetable oil together. Stir mixture until sugar dissolves completely (will look like a pancake batter) and pour into prepared pans. For the full preparation method, refer to Nasi Lemak Lover blog.
When you’re ready to eat the Nian Gao, just take it out of the fridge 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.
|Cooled Nian Gao|
|Easy to handle once it has firmed up, slice thin (thinner than what’s shown in the picture)|