Saturday, February 13, 2010

Chinese New Year Cake - Nian Gao

It is finally Chinese New Year, the year of the Tiger. Strangely, Chinese New Year coincides with Valentine's Day. So what will you celebrate?

There are several desserts which one can find during Chinese New Year and usually my mother bake these goodies. A famous dessert is Nian Gao, which translates to "sticky cake". Depending on the Chinese character used, it can be read as "year high" to describe "prosperity every year". This recipe varies from one region of China to another, but glutinous rice flour is the common ingredient to obtain the sticky texture of the cake. The ingredients shown here are usually found in Asian supermarkets.

Makes 2 cakes
Preparation Time : 20 mins
Steaming Time : 40 mins
Printable Recipe


4-5 slabs brown candy sugar
2 cups water
1 lb glutinous rice flour
vegetable oil to brush
5 red dates, cut in half


1. Melt brown candy sugar in water over low heat. Cool the syrup for 15 mins.

2. Mix in gradually glutinous rice flour into syrup. This is a very thick batter.

3. Lightly oil an 8-inch shallow baking tin. Pour batter into tin and top with red dates.

4. Steam for 40 mins until the edges pull away from the tin. Remove cake and cool.


  1. Woww this dessert looks really fantastic..Happy chinese New year & Valentine's day..

  2. It was good seeing you (and everyone else) at the restaurant! You really got the texture of the cake spot-on!

  3. Thanks Valérie. It was great to see you and Laurent again, and everyone else also. I hope you enjoyed the Chinese New Year experience and I'm glad that you enjoyed the cake.

  4. It's so interesting to learn about food from different cultures. Great post!~LeslieMichele

  5. bonjour Victor
    Happy new year to you and all your relatives !!Pierre de Paris

  6. Gung Hay Fat Choy! I celebrate both, Victor! Heading to NYC Chinatown this Friday with my colleagues to celebrate the year of the tiger! I love Chinese sweets...especially almond cookies! This cake looks delicious!

  7. hey I'm finally on your blog. the desert was good,def not as sticky and slimy as it appears to be :-D cheers

  8. happy chinese new year to you!! this is one of my favorite new year sweet but I have never try to make it my own. :P



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