How to prepare nian gao?
CHINESE NEW YEAR SWEET RICE CAKE
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
4 cups of water
4 slices ginger
2 cups dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon allspice powder
1½ pounds glutinous rice flour
½ pound rice flour
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon dark molasses
zest of 1 large orange
6 dried dates
Prepare two 8-inch round baking pans by brushing the insides with vegetable oil.
Add 2 cups of water and the ginger to a medium-sized pot.
Bring it a boil, then let it simmer for 10 minutes over low to medium heat with the lid covered.
Turn off the heat, and stir in the brown sugar and allspice until the sugar is dissolved completely.
Remove the ginger slices. Now add 1 1/2 cups of cold water to cool down the mixture so its warm, not hot.
In a large mixing bowl, mix the two kinds of flours together and then slowly add in the sugar water mixture.
Stir thoroughly until the batter is smooth (without any lumps).
Now stir in the vanilla extract, molasses, orange zest, and 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil until thoroughly combined.
The resulting batter should have a consistency similar to condensed milk.
If the batter is too thick, add a bit more water a couple tablespoons at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
Pour the batter evenly into two foil pans. Gently tap the pans against your countertop to get rid of air bubbles.
Top each pan with three decorative dates in the center, if using.
Put both pans in a double-decker bamboo steamer and steam for about 1 hour on high heat
After 1 hour, poke a toothpick into the rice cake. It’s done if the toothpick comes out clean–just like a regular cake!
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