This Lunar or Chinese New Year, we attempted to make as much of our Chinese meal from scratch as possible. In reality, depending on who you ask, it wasn’t a traditional menu. There were no whole steamed fish or chicken, abalone slices on vegetables , dried oysters stewed with hair-like seaweed, or any of those typical Chinese New Year dishes that we grew to love (or despise) as kids. We did, however, tried to keep it Chinese-y.
In particular, we planned our menu so that we could make as much of the dishes in advance as possible. Having experienced many stressful and chaotic kitchens that attempted to dish out one too many complicated items, I did not want that for us.
So we made a lo bak go (Chinese radish cake with Chinese sausage and bacon) and a batch of hand wrapped pork dumplings in advance. I marinated some pork shoulder and vacuum sealed them, in preparation for making cha siu (Chinese barbeque pork 叉燒).
On the morning of, I thew the pork into the sous vide machine. I also made this quintessential dessert pudding cake. This coconut and cane sugar based pudding cake is sticky and stretchy. If you enjoy the texture of mochi, you’ll likely love this. Coconut milk adds a richness and nuttiness to the cake. When this cake is sliced and pan fried, a thin, crisp crust forms on the outside. It is finished with a beaten egg for additional crispness and oomph.
Due to the amount of preparation that we did ahead of time, last night was a breeze. We torched and sliced the cha siu after pulling it out of the sous vide machine. We hand rolled some fresh noodles, which we served with the dumplings. I blanched some gai lan (Chinese broccolini) and tossed it in garlic and oyster sauce. I pan fried the up the sliced lo bak go and served them sizzling hot. Everything came together quickly enough so that we could spend more time drinking and chatting with our friends.
For the finale, I pan seared the 年糕 and served it as dessert. We were all so stuffed but of course, it wasn’t Chinese New Year without 年糕 so we all had a few slices. I finished the left overs for breakfast with some Oolong tea.
So if you’re looking for the easiest, most incredibly simple recipe for Chinese New Year pudding cake, look no further. This also makes a unique dessert for any time of year. Enjoy it, and much thanks to everyone that requested this recipe. Keep them coming on Twitter or Facebook!
Foolproof, Ridiculously Easy Nian Gao Recipe for Chinese New Year Pudding Cake 年糕
- 1 package, approx 450 grams glutinous rice flour
- 1 package, approx 450 grams cane sugar bars. Feel free to use granuals
- 1 can, approx 400 mL coconut milk
- 3/4 cup water, and more for steaming
- 1 pinch salt
- vegetable oil for greasing
- 1-2 eggs (optional)
- Over medium heat, dissolve the sugar into the water
- Allow the syrup to cool completely or the cake will become lumpy
- Using a whisk, combine the glutinous rice flour and coconut milk with the syrup until there are no lumps left. Add a pinch of salt and stir.
- Pour the batter into an oiled, heat proof container
- Steam the cake for 1 hour over medium heat and allow it to cool completely.
- To serve, slice the into 1/3 inch slices. Pan sear over medium heat until golden brown. Dip the slices into a beaten egg and pan sear again, or pour a beaten egg over the slices to create a thin sheet.
- Serve immediately.