Chinese New Year Cake (sweet sticky rice) | 年糕 Niángāo
Chinese New Year cakes can be eaten year round, but traditionally, they're served around Chinese New Year to celebrate the holiday. In Mandarin it's called 年糕 (Niángāo) and the literal transition of that is Year Cake. Because the second word 糕 also sounds like the word "higher" in Chinese, it was thought to be a lucky food as eating cake would help you achieve a higher status or prosperity. : )
You can usually find this cake in it's steamed form, sold at Asian supermarkets around the Lunar New Year, or maybe even your local Chinese bakery, but it's only 3 simple ingredients and fairly straight forward to make. (Plus it's fun!)
In this recipe video tutorial I'll show you how easy it is to make this Chinese New Year Cake. If you're considering making this at home, do make sure to watch the video for full instructions. Watching is the best way to learn! Tip:The great thing about homemade goods, is you're able to control the ingredients. I'm not a big fan of super sweet cakes, and this recipe's brown sugar has just enough to make it sweet. But (for example) if you like eating super sweet American style birthday cakes vs. the less sweet Asian fruit cakes, you may want to increase the amount of brown sugar to 1 3/4 - 2 cups. You can also use dark brown sugar instead to give the cake a darker appearance.
1 lb. bag of glutinous rice flour (Erawan Brand look for the green bag)
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
2 Tbsp. oil
2 1/4 cups filtered water
I'm using 2 mini loaf pans for steaming which this recipe makes perfectly, but you can feel free to use any other moulds you'd like. You may need to adjust steaming times accordingly.
*Prep Time (includes cooling & refrigeration time) & Cook Time:
Boil the water and brown sugar until fully mixed. Let cool to about room temperature. Do not use until it's cooled or else you'll end up cooking the rice flour mixture (instead of steaming it).
Steam the batter for 50 minutes.
Let the cakes cool on your countertop for about 2 hours, then remove from the moulds & store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. It's best if you plan to store it overnight in the fridge, that way you're not impatiently waiting around for it to cool.
Slice the cakes, coat with egg and lightly pan fry on medium-low heat for about 3 min. on each side or until it's soft and gooey.