Sweet Sticky Nian Gao


Nian gao

We are having a virtual Sweet Lunar New Year Party  to welcome the year of  a Rooster!
and I am bringing my first time trying out... Homemade Sweet sticky Chinese New Year cake known as Nian Gao or known as Kuih Bakul in Malaysia.

Check out at the end of the post for food bloggers attending the CNY party ;P

Sweet sticky Nian gao


What is Nian Gao?

Nian Gao, a sweet and sticky Chinese New Year cake, made from glutinous rice flour, water and sugar.
This sweet sticky cake can only be found during Chinese New Year celebration.
An interesting read on Nian gao could be found on wiki :P
Sweet sticky cake


I grew up in a multicultural neighbourhood.

Without failed, every Chinese New Year, either neighbours across our house or my dad's friends would send us Chinese New Year goodies. A plateful of goodies would have Kuih Bangkit (Tapioca Cookies)kuih kapit (Love letters) plus the sweet and sticky Nian Gao.

Chinese New Year is the only time we get to eat Nian Gao.

How we ate them? By slicing the hardened Nian Gao into thin slices, and just ate it as it is, like eating cheese :D.

However, my husband only enjoy eating Nian Gao, when it is thinly sliced, sandwich between equal thickness of sliced yam, dip into rice flour batter and deep fried! or re-steam,  roll Nian Gao in slightly salted desiccated coconut.

Banana leaves to line ramekins

The Sweet sticky Nian gao only needed 3 ingredients, but it is time comsuming.

I was told by hubby that his late grandmother took at least 12 hours to steam Nian Gao... and she did not use kerosene stove or gas stove! She used wood fire and steamer, for all her Nian Gaos!
Imagine... huffing and puffing to keep the fire going!

I can say I tried to simulate, without huffing and puffing the fire of course ;P!
I tried to cook Nian Gaos using the steamer, and was planning to keep the steamer going for at least 10 hours.


Ramekins and banana leaves

... but my plan was backfired!

I was using my portable induction cooker and that 'beeping bl**d*' thing (read with angry -swear tone ;p) switched off after 4 hours!

My sweet sticky Nian gao, was still pale and gooey .. no where near "Done"!!!
With swift action, I transferred to slow cooker and continue cooking until the cake turn to golden in colour (another 10 hours).

Once bitten twice shy!

Not happy with my first trial, I decided to experiment for the second time, this time to use slow cooker and pre-cooked the batter.

Main reason is ... if I were to steam the cakes using conventional method, I have to keep on checking water level in the steamer.... and that... my friend, is 'troublesome' and dangerous, because I can be forgetful at times!

But with slow cooker, its easy... fill up water and check again after 6 hours!

Another point I'd like to add is that... the pre-cooked Nian gao batter yield much better caramel colour, plus the batter didn't "run" in between the banana leaves.
The non pre-cook batter, left a great mess in the ramekins, stuck to the sides and makes it difficult to pull out once cooled!

Ti kuih

Earlier in the post, I mentioned that we are having a virtual Sweet Lunar NewYear Party to welcome the year of a Rooster, right?

Many thanks to Christine from Vermillion Roots for organising such a fun event :D.

So...  come and join us and lets celebrate and PARTY :D. 

Snow Fungus Soup by Vermilion Roots
Chinese Peanut Cookies by Wok & Skillet
Vietnamese Steamed Rice Cakes by A Taste of Joy and Love
Black Sesame Shortbread Cookies by Little Sweet Baker
Ice Cream Mooncakes by Brunch-n-Bites
Coconut Red Bean Pudding by The Missing Lokness
Cashew Nut Cookies by Anncoo Journal
One Bite Pine Nut Cookies by Yummy Workshop
Baked Coconut Walnut Sticky Rice Cake by Jeanette's Healthy Living
Cashew Nut Cookies by Roti n Rice
Mini Peanut Puffs (Kok Chai) by Malaysian Chinese Kitchen
Thousand Layer Cake (Lapis Legit) by Daily Cooking Quest
Year of the Rooster Mochi by Thirsty for Tea
Sweet Sticky Nian Gao (Kuih Bakul) by Lisa's Lemony Kitchen
Chick Egg Tarts by Dessert Girl
Red Bean Soup by Nut Free Wok
Orange Scented Sweet Red Bean by Lime and Cilantro

Sticky sweet  steam cake



yield: 4print recipe

Sweet Sticky Nian Gao

prep time: 40 MINScook time: 12 hourtotal time: 12 hours and 40 mins
Sweet sticky Chinese New Year Cake that is made of glutinous flour, sugar and water. It is cook by steaming for 10-12 hours, leave it to firm by sunning for another week or two before consuming.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 300g glutinous rice flour
  • 300g water
  • 300g caster sugar
  • Banana leaves, ramekins and some strings

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Mix flour and water in a bowl
  2. Leave to stand for at least 4 hours
  3. Add sugar
  4. Transfer the mixture to a non-stick wok
  5. Cook on medium heat
  6. Keep stirring
  7. Pour onto the pre-prepared ramekins. (refer to photo)
  8. Arrange bowls or unused ramekins in slow cooker ( I used 6l oblong slow cooker)
  9. Add hot boiling water to the slow cooker.
  10. Gently and carefully lower the filled up ramekins with Nian gao batter.
  11. Top up with hot boiling water above the level of the bowl (or to the base of ramekins filled up with batter)
  12. Cover and steam for 10-12 hours.
  13. Fill up with water when needed.
  14. Leave the Sweet sticky cake in its ramekin to cool completely (preferably 48 hours) before taking out from ramekins.
  15. If your part of the world is as sunny as Perth, Transfer the Nian Gao into a roasting pan, cover with muslin cloth (pegged the cloth to roasting pan, to avoid sand or fly getting to soft and sticky Nian gao plus to hold cloth in tact)
  16. Dry in the sun for at least a week.
  17. Its ready to eat when its firm to touch.
Prepare 4 ramekins
  1. Wash and wipe dry banana leaves.
  2. Heat each fronds over low fire to make them malleable.
  3. Cut into strips and gently lower onto ramekins (as per photo)
  4. Tie a string over the leaves (refer to photo)
Created using The Recipes Generator



32 comments:

  1. What a great idea - making this in a slow cooker - will have give this a try!

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  2. Woah, I usually just bought mine instead of making it from scratch! Your nian gao looks amazingly smooth and just like store bought ones :)

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  3. Your nian gao looks so professional and exactly how I remember them from Malaysia! Can I use coconut sugar instead?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Christine,
      I have not thought of using coconut sugar :). Let me know the results when you do use coconut sugar :D

      Delete
  4. Hi Lisa, Your nian gao looks awesome and I've never thought that slow cooker can makes nian gao before. Thank you for sharing this recipe.
    Happy Chinese New Year to you and your family!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Ann, and Gong Xi Fa Cai to you n family

      Delete
  5. its such a beautiful kueh keranjang!! I would love to give a try make myown, thank you for sharing Lisa. My favorite is steam and add coconut but my dad prefer slice and dip into batter and fry :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lets make some :D, you may have to ‘dry' it in the oven ;P

      Delete
  6. I love that beautiful caramel colour! The banana leave is such a fine touch.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Angie,
      Banana leaves gives Nian gao some flavour

      Delete
  7. BIG YES to these! I love nian gao made with banana leaves. So fragrant !!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Marvellina, banana leaves is marvellous with anything :D

      Delete
  8. OMG, these nian gao looks super awesome. I can't even dare to try making it. haha.... Love how's the colour turns out and the texture is perfectly done. Kudos, Lisa !
    Blessings, Kristy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Kristy :D.
      Actually its not that difficult, just the cooking time seems endless :D
      Gong Xi Fa Cai to you and family :D

      Delete
  9. Wow, these look great! Happy new year!

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  10. This is beautifully documented. We also have similar cakes cooked this way! And I didn't know you could use a slow cooker for this. You're awesome!
    Happy New Year Lisa!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Wow! I love traditional recipes done the right way, there is something so nostalgic and romantic about it. This looks amazing and your photos are gorgeous <3

    Gina

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  12. Nian gao is so delicious! Love your slow cooker method. I have never seen nian gao make in banana leaves. They sure look gorgeous and I am sure they must taste extra good!

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    Replies
    1. Banana leaves gives Nian gao a very faint aroma and taste :D

      Delete
  13. I love nian gao, but haven't had in years. Thanks for reminding me what a wonderful dessert it is. Happy Chinese New Year to you and yours:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you and Happy New Year Lily :D

      Delete
  14. There's no one selling banana leaves in my town. Do you think an oven bag could be used to line the ramekins?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Meike,
      I am not sure Meike but I have seen the commercial Nian Gao line with other than banana leaves... sorry :(

      Delete
  15. I miss eating nian gao. I remember my mom will use it and sweet potato and make into fritters :)

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  16. Oh, I love how beautifully your nian gao turned out! I like how you tied down the leaves to hold them in place and how tiny the cakes are. Happy #sweetlunarnewyear!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Sharon :D
      Have a good happy Rooster year

      Delete

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