Lunar new year is among us and one of my FAVORITE things to have this time of year is nian gao or new year cake.
It’s made out of glutinous rice flour so the texture of the cake is both sticky and chewy, resembling mochi which makes it super fun to eat as well.
It can be prepared one of two ways, either baked or steamed.
Although I guess it’s technically three ways because if you have the steamed version, you would typically cut it into slabs and pan sear it to create this unique contrast of textures since the outside would be crispy while the inside remains gooey.
I like the baked version better though because not only is it more convenient because they you don’t need to heat it up every time you want to eat it, but you get to put all sorts of fun add-ins if you make the baked version!
Most commonly red beans or azuki beans are used for this but nuts, seeds, and dried fruits can be used in it as well.
Usually nian gao is baked or steamed in a round container because it symbolizes unity and togetherness because a circle is round and has no edges or broken lines.
I made a coconut based glutinous rice cake (recipe here) last lunar new years and because I made it in a pie plate…it disappeared way too quickly because we kept cutting out huge slices out of it! And being the nian gao lover that I am, portion control was definitely NOT taken into account.
So this year, I decided to bake them off in mini muffin tins instead so that they’re all individually portioned and so much more portable because then you don’t have sticky exposed edges of cake to deal with!
Genius? I would say so!
Try these other recipes that are perfect for lunar new year!
- 3½ cup glutinous rice flour
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg (optional for richness)
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups milk of choice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1½ cup add-ins (nuts, seeds, beans, dried fruit, chocolate chips)
- Prepare your filling ingredients. Then, combine glutinous rice flour, egg, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
- Stir in the milk and vanilla. Fold in your filling ingredients.
- Pour the batter into a greased baking pan. Bake at 375F for 30 – 35 minutes until golden brown and crispy on top.
This post was created for Fiesta Friday, a weekly foodie link-up party. Please feel free to come join the fun, I promise you won’t regret it!