chinese new year cake (nien-gao)
Every Chinese New Year we have this dessert called "nien-gao". It's a chewy sweet dessert that my mom would slice into thin strips, dip in egg and pan fry to get a nice crispy layer on the outside and a gooey warm center. The "cake" is made out of glutinous rice flour, brown sugar, coconut cream and water and steamed instead of baked. I really wanted to learn how to make it this year since I've really only watched my mom make it before. So I called her up to get the recipe and to my suprise she and my oldest sister came over and helped me make it!
1 pkg. glutinous rice flour
1 lb. dark brown sugar
1 can coconut cream
1 cup water
For the batter, mix all the ingredients together and it's best to use your hands to mix it and make sure there are no clumps of sugar and flour. Lighly grease a round cake pan (I used 2 small 3.5" springform pans to make mini ones, but if you use a springform pan be sure to wrap the bottoms with foil to avoid leakage). My mom usually uses an 8" round cake pan. Pour the batter through a sieve as you pour it into the pans to ensure all the clumps are out. Put the pans in a steamer for 20 minutes for the mini ones or up to an hour for an 8" pan (or until a bamboo chopstick/skewer comes out clean). Let cool and garnish with sesame seeds and a dried cranberry (or traditionally a dried date).
When fresh it's soft enough the just slice up and eat as is. But after it's been in the fridge and hardens up a little, it's great to slice up and pan fry. My mom would always dip it in egg (and traditionally I believe this is done) but I found that with a non-stick pan it's fine to just leave out the egg. I love it this way! It's so simple and I'm glad I got to learn how to make this special dessert with my mom and sister.