Chinese New Year is a time of enjoying many delicious foods and snacks. One of popular desserts eaten during this festive season is Chinese New Year’s cake (nian gao 年糕), that made with sticky, glutinous rice flour (mochi flour) with brown sugar because it’s symbolic of growing taller, achieving higher every year, that signifies a prosperous year awaiting ahead.
It’s often served warm as it is. However, in Hong Kong, people like to have the steamed sticky rice cake, sliced and then pan-fried with egg. If it's pan-fried without egg, the texture would be slightly crispy outside and still pasty inside. When some relatives or friends come to visit them (bai nian拜年), they’d serve the sticky cake warm, with some other snacks, like turnip cake and taro cake.
Prepare a cake mould (removable base preferred), 5-inch round
- 200 gm glutinous rice flour
- 70 gm wheat flour
- 250 gm brown sugar in pieces (片糖)
- 1 cup water
- 80 ml coconut cream
- 30 gm oil + a dash to brush cake mould
- 1 egg, whisked
- Use a saucepan to bring 1 cup of water to boil. Add brown sugar and cook until completely dissolved. Stir in coconut cream and oil. Drain syrup through a fine sieve to make the mixture smoother. Let cool.
- Sift glutinous rice flour and wheat flour twice beforehand. Add flour bit by bit into syrup, stir constantly along the way, and combine well. If you'd like your batter really smooth, drain through a fine sieve once more.
- Transfer batter to a greased cake mould. Place in a wok and steam over high heat, covered, for about 60 to 75 minutes. As the cake is very sticky, even if it’s cooked through, it still sticks to your needle/chopstick if you test it. But if you can’t taste any raw flour, it’s done. Make sure to steam the cake for enough time.
- Let cool. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. When the cake is cold, it’s much easier to slice into thick pieces. Coat the sliced cake with whisked egg, fry on medium-low heat until both sides are brown. Serve hot.
- The time of steaming cake depends on how big and thick your cake is.
- I followed the traditional way of decorating the cake and inserted a date in the middle, after steaming 15 minutes or so when the surface is slightly set.