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Sweet Rice Cake – Chinese Nian Gao

If you love Asian desserts and sweet things, you have to try this Chinese Sweet Rice Cake! It is a traditional Chinese food that is usually eaten as a treat during the Chinese New Year.

The unique mixture of rice flour and brown sugar produces tremendous flavor. The chewy texture and sweetness make it great for breakfast or snacks for afternoon tea. And it is gluten-free too!

Chinese sweet rice cake - aka nian gao- steamed then pan-fried with egg coating.
Chinese Sweet Rice Cake – Nian Gao

兩 Lei’s Note

I crave pan-fried sweet rice cakes, particularly when celebrating the Chinese New Year, also known as Nian Gao in Chinese. However, purchasing them from a Chinese store often involves preservatives and artificial colors I’m not entirely comfortable with.

So, my strong desire to taste this familiar food while living overseas is what keeps me experimenting with and perfecting this recipe.

Chinese brown sugar sweet rice cake - aka nian gao- steamed then pan-fried with egg coating.
Chinese brown sugar sweet rice cake

剁 How do you make this sweet rice cake?

  1. Mixing the ingredients: You first need to mix all the ingredients together, add them to a bowl, and mix to a smooth batter.
  2. Steaming: While a staple of Western kitchens, ovens are uncommon in Asian home kitchens. Steaming is used to cook food using wet heat to retain flavor and moisture. The rice cake mixture is steamed to a soft and sticky texture.
  3. Cooling: The rice cake then is cooled off in the fridge to form the shape so can be easily cut into slices.
  4. Pan frying: Dip the rice cake slices in the egg batter and pan fry both sides for a couple of minutes.
Chinese Nian Gao (sweet rice cake) ingredients
Chinese sweet rice cake (Nian Gao) ingredients

奴 Ingredients

  • Glutinous Rice flour: Glutinous rice flour is made from sticky rice. It has a chewy texture that works best in desserts. Despite the name, it is gluten-free.
  • Rice flour: It is made from long-grain rice. It helps to firm up the cake, so add more or less to your liking.  Start with a 3:1 ratio of glutinous rice flour to rice flour.
  • Brown Sugar: Asian brown sugar is much darker than the usual brown sugar. It is very similar to molasses. You can substitute it with molasses and it will work just fine.
  • Oil:  To make the cake extra moist, a few drops of oil will do the trick.
sweet rice cake batter
Brown sugar sweet rice cake batter

Recipe Notes

  • Removing air bubbles: A quick and easy way to remove air bubbles from the batter before steaming is by dropping it lightly on a hard surface.
  • Storage: The cake slices can last a week or two in the fridge or can be frozen in portions.
  • Adding more flavors: This cake mixture is a very basic version, you can add dates, Goji berries, coconut, ginger, or nuts.
Chinese sweet rice cake - aka nian gao- steamed and cut
Chinese Sweet Rice Cake -撟渡

FAQ

What are the dietary considerations for this sweet rice cake?

This sweet rice cake is a healthy snack. It’s suitable for various diets, including gluten-free and vegetarian, as it contains no peanuts, nuts, or dairy. Plus, if pan-fried without egg, it becomes a vegan-friendly treat.

How do you serve this brown sugar rice cake?

The sweet flavor of this rice cake pairs well with a cup of tea or soy milk.

Chinese sweet rice cake - aka nian gao- steamed then pan-fried with egg coating. Also called 撟渡
Enjoy this delicious Chinese brown sugar sweet rice cake!
pan fried sweet rice cake

Sweet Rice Cake

Enjoy the authentic taste of Chinese sweet rice cake. crafted from brown sugar and glutinous rice flour, is surprisingly simple to make!
Author: Lei
4.72 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: asian, Chinese
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 2

Ingredients

  • 150 g glutinous rice flour
  • 50 g rice flour
  • 60 g brown sugar (or adjust to your liking)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 1 egg

Instructions

  • Making the cake batter: dissolve the brown sugar in one cup of warm water in the mixing bowl. Sift in the glutinous rice flour and rice flour, then add 1 tablespoon of oil. Mix well with the handheld mixer.
  • Steaming the cake: Grease the cake container with a little oil and pour in the cake batter. Cover the container and steam for 45 minutes to one hour.
  • Cooling off the cake: Cool off the cake in the fridge overnight then cut it into 1cm thick slices.
  • Pan-frying the cake slices: Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a non-stick pan. Heat it over medium heat. Dip the cake slice into the egg batter and then fry till soft.

Recipe Notes:

    • Glutinous Rice flour:Glutinous rice flour is made from sticky rice. It has a chewy texture that works best in desserts. Despite the name, it is gluten-free.
    • Rice flour:It is made from long-grain rice. It helps to firm up the cake, so add more or less to your liking. Start with a 3:1 ratio of glutinous rice flour to rice flour.
    • Brown Sugar:Asian brown sugar is much darker than the usual brown sugar. It is very similar to molasses. You can substitute it with molasses and it will work just fine.
    • Oil: To make the cake extra moist, a few drops of oil will do the trick.
    • Removing air bubbles:A quick and easy way to remove air bubbles from the batter before steaming is by dropping it lightly on a hard surface.
    • Storage:The cake slices can last a week or two in the fridge or can be frozen in portions.
    • Adding more flavors:This cake mixture is a very basic version, you can add dates, Goji berries, coconut, ginger, or nuts.

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 635kcalCarbohydrates: 110gProtein: 9gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 82mgSodium: 46mgPotassium: 146mgFiber: 2gSugar: 29gVitamin A: 119IUCalcium: 51mgIron: 1mg

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4 Comments

  1. 3 stars
    Pease tell us the amount of the eggs

  2. 5 stars
    Wow looks delicious

4.72 from 7 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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