Saturday 29 January 2011

Sweet And Savory Nian Gao - 双味年糕

In Singapore the most common way to eat Nian Gao(年糕) is to cut it into thin slices, sandwich it with either sweet potato, yam or both then dipped them in flour batter and deep-fried till golden and crispy. Or some of you might even just like to have it plain on it’s own with Chinese Tea. In this post I will share two different methods of eating Nian Gao which I learnt one of it from f an elderly lady selling Nian Gao near my area.

Nian Gao(年糕) or Chinese New Year's Sticky Cake is a sweet dessert/snack prepared from glutinous rice and consumed during Chinese New Year. Although this cake be eaten whole year round but it is usually consume in Chinese New Year as it symbolized good luck, harmony and raising oneself higher in each coming year. There are also different ways of preparing and cooking Nian Gao depending on the country and its culture.

Since this Nian Gao is for consuming purpose rather than "pray", the stall aunty purposely choose one that is freshly steam on that day.  She told me to reheat a portion of the sticky cake for a few minutes before coating it with some fresh grated coconut which reminds me of the Nonya Kueh Kosui.

This can be a great and fun family after meal dessert where everyone can gather around the dining table with either chopsticks or lollipop sticks to enjoy this fulfil time.

Ingredients: (serves 4)
1 Small Nian Gao, wrapped in banana leaf, 10cm wide
1 Cup Freshly Grated Coconut
A few Pandan Leaves, optional
Pinch of Salt

1. Clean and rinse the pandan leaves, tie it into a knot and set aside.
2. Put the grated coconut in a large steamer plate together with pandan leaves and Nian Gao on the side.
3. Steam it over medium heat for about 5 minutes or till Nian Gao soften.
4. When done stir in pinch of salt to the hot grated coconut and mix well.
5. Use either small teaspoon or lollipop sticks, scrap/twirl the stick till you get a some nian gao stick on it then roll/dip nian gao with grated coconut and eat warm.

If you don't like the idea of using grated coconut perhaps you could to try this western style of "Cheesy Nian Guao Puff" which I am sure it will be a great snacks for both kids and adults during Chinese New Year gathering. The ingredients for this snack is very simple and you can easily get them in supermarket too.

Ingredients: (makes 8 puffs)
8 Cubes of 1-cm  each Nian Gao
2 Sheets of Plain Prata Pastry
1/2 Cup of Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

1. Remove the plastic sheet of the prata pastry(work one sheet at a time) and cut it into 4 equal portions.
2. Place one cube of Nian Gao with some shredded mozzarella cheese on each portion then quickly fold it into a triangle parcel by using a fork to seal the edge of the parcel.
3. Working quickly to avoid the pastry to defrost and became sticky to handle.
4. Place the parcel on baking tray that is line with aluminium foil then bake it in oven toaster for about 10 minutes or till golden brown. (turn a few times during baking to get a nice and even golden brown and crispy outer skin)
5. Serve warm with a cup of hot or chilled tea.

~ You can replace Mozzarella Cheese with sandwich slice cheese by cutting each square into 4 portions.

This is indeed another new way to eat your Nian Gao where you stuff the prata parcel with cheese and nian gao instead of the usual deep-fried style with sweet potato and yam.  I remember when I was young, my dad used to fry Nian Gao together with some beaten egg to make a sweet omelette. So what about you? Do you have any special recipe of eating this auspicious sweet Nian Gao during Chinese New Year. If yes, do share with us your thoughts.


  1. My mom does the easy method of coating the cut pieces in egg and flour and then panfrying them. I just love those!

  2. I like my nian gao with roti prata too! But I added sesame seeds instead. A great idea to add some shredded cheese, thanks for sharing.

    You may view my entry here

  3. Emy: yup pan-fried them with egg is also one of my dad's favourite way of eating it too :)

    Blessed Homemake: Thanks for sharing your ideas too :)

  4. This isa nice verson of eating nian gao! Thanks for sharing and happy new year to you!

  5. thanks for sharing and a happy new year to you. BTW do you know where i can get nian gao with nuts [n sometimes ham] in it?

    1. Hi Yvonne, I am not very sure where in Singapore you can find Nian Gao with nuts or other savory fillings but I know Malaysia have. Perhaps you could look around Hotel festive sales or those CNY booths :)


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