Friday, March 4, 2016


This is a scheduled post. 
I came across this Nian Gao recipe in one of my food magazines and is quite skeptical if it is a workable recipe. In the recipe, there is no water to mix with the glutinous flour except coconut milk. With the quantity given, it is impossible to obtain a sticky batter [thick consistency like condensed milk]. To play safe, I added 250 ml water together with the coconut milk to knead the flour into a rough dough before adding in the sugar. This way the sugar will melt easily when mix with the wet dough.
With this batter, it cooks within 3 hours instead of the usual 8-10 hours.  The dark brown sugar gives an intense brown colour to this cake.  It is aromatic with the coconut milk.  If you like to enjoy Nian Gao within hours, this is a good recipe to use.  
By the way, Nian Gao is a sticky sweet snack, was believed to be an offering to the Kitchen God [Taoist faith] on the 24th day of the 12th month of the lunar calendar, with the aim that his mouth will be stuck with the sticky cake, so that he can't badmouth the human family in front of the Jade Emperor.

Recipe adapted from my selected cookbook for Cookbook Countdown Event #3] - Home Cooking Magazine [January 2001] with modifications 

[makes 5 pieces]
500 gm glutinous rice flour - sifted
250 ml water
250 ml thick coconut milk
200 gm dark brown sugar
100 gm sugar

  1. Sift flour into a big bowl, add in water and coconut milk.  Mix into a rough dough.
  2. Add in both sugars and mix until it becomes a thick batter and sugars are dissolved.
  3. Bring water to boil in a steamer, wrap the cover with cloth to prevent water condensation.
  4. Line steaming moulds with cling wrap or banana leaves.  Pour batter into moulds until the height you prefer.
  5. Place in steamer and steam over high heat for 15 minutes, then reduce to medium low heat and simmer for a further 3 hours until batter is cooked through.
  6. Remove from steamer to cool before removing from moulds.  Trim off the excess cling wrap.
Note:  This rice cake can be sliced into desired thickness and size to be fried with beaten eggs.  Coat sliced rice cake with egg, pan fry for a few minutes, turning once to ensure even coating.  Serve.

I'm submitting this post with Cookbook Countdown hosted by 


faithy said... I know what nian gao is for! I thought nian gao is for CNY.. Coconut milk will smell nice! Wish I can try a piece... I feel like making it but then nobody in my family will eat it.. so better not waste food...maybe I book mark and make next CNY to give away :D Can this keep long time like the normal nian gao?

Kimmy said...

Hi Faithy, like the normal nian gao, it will be mouldy too. Do keep them in an airy place, don't store them in airtight containers. I didn't fry them but instead ate it with grated white coconut with some salt.

EmilyC said...

Great to have a simplified nian gao recipe, thanks!

kitchen flavours said...

Hi Kimmy,
We call nian gao as "Kuih Bakul". Very leceh to make! Thumbs up to you for making your own, as not many people are willing to make this kuih nowadays. Used to watch my late mother make this kuih when we were young, and there are taboos not to say "any nonsense" while this kuih is being cooked! Your nian gao has very nice dark brown colour! Yes, steamed slices of this kuih and while still soft, coated with salted young grated coconut is very yummy! Missed eating it this way! Thanks for sharing with CC!

Kimmy said...

Hi Joyce, it is because of the taboos and the long waiting for the kuih to be cooked that put ppl off from making their own. It is becoming quite costly to buy ready ones at the market place. There are those in plastic cases and banana leaves, the latter fetching very good prices. This recipe is very easy and much faster using just normal pot. Another recipe worth trying if you wish to have nian gao done in a shorter time.

PH said...

Kimmy, I salute you for making your own nian gao. Back home we call it "tee kueh". It's been a long time since I had it. It is very nice when still fresh and soft eaten with grated coconut. I also love it deep fried with yam. Just thinking about it makes me "lau nuar".

Kimmy said...

Hi Phong Hong, I just had steamed tee kuih with grated coconut last Sunday. Very nice.

Chloe said...

Hi Kimmy. Your nian ko looks so good with a deep caramel color and smooth surface too. What size mold are u using and if using banana leaf do I need to scald the leaf and grease it? I have never made this before. By the way how is the sweetness? Thanks for help. Very interesting to make at home. Chloe.

Kimmy said...

Hi Chloe, I think the mould size is about 2 1/2 to 3 inches in diameter. Yes, you need to scald the banana leaf but no need to grease it. Sweetness is acceptable and goes well with the grated coconut with a little salt.