Nian gao, or Chinese New Year rice cake, is one of the most popular food to make for Lunar New Year. It may look plain, but slice it up and pan fry it for a sweet, tasty treat that's crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. Totally additive!Plus, it needs only 5 ingredients! Looking for more LNY recipes? Complete your LNY menu with our pan fried pork and cabbage dumplings or pork and chive dumplings!
In a saucepan, add the full fat coconut milk, brown sugar, and salt. Heat over medium heat and stir frequently until the sugar is completely dissolved. The coconut does not need to boil. Take the saucepan off the heat.
Add the cold water into the sweetened coconut milk and stir to combine. Set aside to cool until warm to the touch.
Prepare a pan or pot of boiling water fitted with a bamboo steam basket or steaming rack. Also prepare an 8 inch cake pan lightly greased with nonstick spray.
In a large heatproof bowl, whisk together the glutinous rice flour and the regular rice flour. Pour the warm coconut milk mixture into the rice flour while whisking. Once all of the coconut milk has been added, keep whisking until the batter is smooth and no more lumps or dry rice flour are visible. The batter should be similar consistency to condensed milk.
(Optional) Pour the batter through a sieve to strain out any lumps.
Transfer the batter into the greased cake pan. Firmly tap the pan on the counter a couple of time to pop large bubbles. Place a dry jujube on the batter, in the center.
(Optional) Cover the cake pan with a sheet of foil. This is totally optional and helps to ensure that the nian gao (rice cake) have a smooth surface on top. If covering with foil, remove the foil about 45 minutes into steaming.
Place the cake pan into the prepared steam basket and steam the rice cake for about 55 minutes to 1 hour on medium heat.The rice cake is done when a skewer or chopstick inserted into the center comes out translucent and sticky like mochi.
Carefully remove the nian gao from the steam basket and let it cool at room comfortable to handle. Then, flip the cake pan to remove the rice cake. Let the rice cake cool completely before covering. Refrigerate overnight or for up to 3 to 4 days.
Pan fried rice cake:
Once the rice cake has been chilled, cut it in half, then into ¼ inch thick slices. Caution:Dry jujubes usually have a pit in the center. So be careful when cutting and eating!
Add a small amount of oil to a nonstick pan over medium high heat. Once the pan is hot, arrange the rice cake slices in the pan. Pan fry each side for about 1 to 2 minutes, or until both sides are golden brown. Remove from the pan and repeat with as much rice cake as you'd like.
Let the pan fried rice cakes for a couple of minutes and enjoy while they are warm!
Please refer to the post above for step by step photo references, tips, and FAQs!
Sweetness - If you prefer your nian gao sweeter, use ¼ cup (50g) more brown sugar. For less sweet nian gao, use ¼ cup (50g) less.
Steaming method - If you don't have a steam basket, you can also use a steaming rack or any steaming vessel you have. Just make sure the water is not touching the bottom of the cake pan. Also, make sure that there's sufficient space for the steam to travel. For example, don't use a steam basket that's too small for the cake pan.