I’ve been in a very Chinese food making mood the past few weeks. Possibly the result of a sudden burst of appreciation for my family’s culture? Or the large amount of “Chinese” ingredients I’ve been buying since starting a job 2 blocks away from an oriental food store.
Anyway, this weekend, I decided to try my hand at Nian Gao – directly translating into Year Cake. It’s typically made for the Chinese New Year to symbolize and bring growth in the new year. Depending on the region/ and location where it is being made, it can be prepared in many different ways – baked, fried, steamed, stir fried, etc. I’d always loveeee the baked version that my mom would make for Chinese New Year at home, so I got another of her wonderful recipes and tried it out!
Makes 2 8-in Diameter Cakes
1 16 oz. bag Sweet (Glutinous) Rice Flour
1 1/2 C Sugar
1 C Water
1 C Milk
1/2 C Chopped nuts or red bean paste (I used chopped almonds)
1. Mix ingredients 1 to 5 until smooth (slightly thinner in consistency compared to pancake batter).
If using nuts:
2. Pour batter into 2 8 in. diameter pans.
3. Add nuts on top – sprinkled around the top of each cake.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 min.
If using bean paste:
2. Pour 1/4 of the batter in each 8-in diameter pan.
3. Add a thin layer of bean paste on top of the layer (can be done however you like – I scooped some with a spoon, flattened it ,and placed it on top of the batter in sections).
4. Pour the rest of the batter over each cake to cover the bean paste layer.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 min.
Toothpick insertion method works to tell if it’s done, but you can also tell it’s done once the top of the cake starts looking dry or cracked.
You can wait for the cakes to cool before cutting to make cutting easier, but cutting is also fine when the cake is still a little warm.
Cut the cake into squares or slices and serve warm or cold! I prefer warm because it’s stickier and gooier, but to each their own!