Friday, 1 February 2013

年糕 - Nian Gao


Look what i learned at my Chinese New Year goodies cooking class! This 年糕 (nian gao) is surprisingly easy to do but it is a little time consuming.

This is what i got for Wikipedia about 年糕 (nian gao) - "A food prepared from glutinous rice and consumed in Chinese cuisine. It is available in Asian supermarkets and from health food stores. While it can be eaten all year round, traditionally it is most popular during Chinese New Year. It is considered good luck to eat nian gao during this time, because "nian gao" is a homonym for "higher year." The Chinese word 粘 (nián), meaning "sticky", is identical in sound to 年, meaning "year", and the word 糕 (gāo), meaning "cake" is identical in sound to 高, meaning "high or tall". As such, eating nian gao has the symbolism of raising oneself taller in each coming year (年年高升 niánnián gāoshēng). Also known as rice cake. This sticky sweet snack was believed to be an offering to the Kitchen God, with the aim that his mouth will be stuck with the sticky cake, so that he can't badmouth the human's family to the God of all Gods (Yu Huang Da Di)."

Without further do, let's look at the ingredients and method to make this!

Ingredients (make 2 medium size ones):

600g glutinous rice flour
700ml water
600g brown candy in pieces (see below for picture)
some pandan leaves
1 tbsp oil
banana leaves or plastic wrap

1. Boil the water, pandan leaves and brown candy until the candy is totally dissolved. Leave it to cool down.
2. Mix the sugar syrup with the glutinous rice flour until all the lumps are gone. Using a whisk helps alot.
3. Add 1 tbsp of oil to the mixture. Mix well.
4. Sieve the mixture to remove lumps.
5. Pour the mixture into the moulds you desire. Fill only 3/4 of the mould as the mixture will expand when cooked. You can line the moulds with banana leaves or the plastic wrap (can be bought at Phoon Huat). To sure to use extra banana leaves to line the mould to prevent leakage. (Yes mine leaked abit!)
6. Use a heat resistance cling wrap (those microwavable type) to cover the the mould. This will prevent water from landing on top of the 年糕 (nian gao). One of mine got water on top. See what happens below! 
7. Steam on high for 20 minutes. Turn down the heat and continue steaming for at least 2 hours. I steamed mine for 4 hours. The longer you steam, the darker the colour. The colour will continue to darken over the next 2 days too!

Brown Candy in pieces

年糕 (nian gao)
The one on the left did not have a smooth top due to water droplets landing on it!
The one on the right is absolutely beautiful!

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