Chinese New Year steamed sweet cake ‘nian gao’ (年糕) with coconut milk and ginger (gluten free, vegan)

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My old aunt loved making ‘nian gao’. My cousins called them rubber cakes, with a chewy, sticky texture and a plain sugary taste. My aunt is too old to cook now. So I started to make them myself, a not-so-authentic version with coconut milk, maple syrup and cinnamon. That’s what multi-culture is about, right?

‘Gao’ has the same pronunciation as ‘high’. ‘Nian’ means ‘year’. So ‘nian gao’ is symbolic for ‘every year a greater success’.  This puts ‘nian gao’ on the must-have list for Chinese New Year.

If you like it looking fancy, dust the cake with a mixture of peanuts, sesame seeds, sugar and desiccated coconut.

Chinese New Year steamed sweet cake 'nian gao' with ginger, cadamon, cinnamon and coconut milk

Recipe is as follows.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of glutinous rice flour (sticky rice flour), it is gluten free
  • 1 cup of rice flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup of light coconut milk
  • 1 cup of boiling water
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 4 tsp maple syrup (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 thinly sliced piece of ginger (optional)
  • 3 cardamom, spited in half  (optional)

Method

  • Pour 1 cup of boiling water over salt, ginger, cardamom and brown sugar; stir until the sugar is fully dissolved; drain the liquid through a sieve, discard the solids.
  • In a mixing bowl, mix glutinous flour, rice flour, coconut milk, sugar liquid, maple syrup, ground cinnamon; mix well.
  • Line a cake tin with cling wrap; pour the batter into the tin.
  • Steam in a steamer for 30-50 minutes depending on the thickness of the cake.
  • Cool completely before cutting with a wet knife.
  • Dust with a mixture of peanut, sesame seeds, sugar and coconut if desired.

Mixture of peanut, sesame seeds, sugar and coconut is made up of:

  • 1/3 cup crashed peanuts, lightly toasted
  • 1/3 cup sesame seeds, lightly toasted
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 2/3 cup desiccated coconut, lighted toasted
Steaming sweet cake
Steaming the sweet cake in a large steamer
Chinese New Year sweets - mixture of peanut, sesame seed, sugar and coconut
Mixture of peanut, sesame seed, sugar and coconut
Chinese New Year 'nian gao' with ginger, cinnamon, cadamon, maple syrup, dusted with a peanut, sesame seed and coconut mixture
Chinese New Year ‘nian gao’
Glutinous rice flour (sticky rice flour), gluten free
Glutinous rice flour
Rice flour
Rice flour

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4 thoughts on “Chinese New Year steamed sweet cake ‘nian gao’ (年糕) with coconut milk and ginger (gluten free, vegan)

    Sandra Shields, Health Coach said:
    January 27, 2017 at 2:53 am

    Trying this this weekend!

    Like

      DelishHomeCook responded:
      January 27, 2017 at 10:01 pm

      It is Chinese New Year this weekend 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

        Sandra Shields, Health Coach said:
        January 27, 2017 at 10:06 pm

        Yes! 🙂 I have two daughters adopted from China, and we celebrate every year. So fun!

        Like

        DelishHomeCook responded:
        February 5, 2017 at 9:14 pm

        There are so many children in need around the world. I am so glad that you and your daughters found each other 🙂 You are so kind. Happy Chinese New Year to you too.

        Like

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