Friday, January 20, 2012

Nian Gao (Steamed Sweet Rice Cake) 年糕

Yes! It's another Chinese New Year recipe, because Chinese New Year is coming, and I need to fill this house with food just like it is back home, except on the scale of 0.1%. 

Nian Gao literally means Chinese New Year Cake, since nian means 'year' and gao means 'cake'. However, that name makes no sense, so I shall call it steamed sweet rice cake instead, since glutinous rice is too long, and many people call it 'sweet rice' anyway. People eat nian gao for Chinese New Year because nian also sounds like 'sticky' in Mandarin, and gao sounds like 'high' in Mandarin, as such, eating nian gao has the symbolism of raising oneself higher in the new year.

Ingredients for the Cake
  • 1 2/3 cup glutinous rice flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar (this is already a reduced sugar recipe)
  • 3 tablespoon molasses 
  • 1 cup water

  • In a large bowl (I used my late food processor), add all the ingredients, then mix well.
  • Line the steaming container with banana leaves or just oil the container with regular cooking oil so that it does not stick to the container. [I tried using wax paper, but that didn't work out too well.]
  • Steam the sweet rice cake for about 30 minutes, or until the cake has set.
  • Let cool before slicing and serving.

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