Nian Gao is a sticky rice cake eaten during Chinese New Year also known as Spring Festival. During the long New Year holiday, sweet rice cakes are given as small gifts to family and friends.
Traditional story of the origins to the Chinese Nian Gao sweet cake is that one week before Spring Festival, the Kitchen God returns to heaven to report on the good and misdeeds of each family. If the report has a lack of approval, the whole family will experience bad luck in the coming year. Families will sweeten the lips of the Kitchen God with Sticky Cake or something sweet like honey, his mouth will be sweet with good words, that he will not be able to give an unfavorable report. This sweet sticky cake is a must for Chinese New Year! Enjoy.
4 cups dark brown sugar
1 1/4 cups water
4 cups sweet glutinous rice flour (sold in all Asian markets)
2/3 cup canola oil
dash of salt
Mix brown sugar into water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat at boiling point. Keep stirring until sugar is dissolved. Set-aside to cool to warm.
Drizzle oil into sugar mixture add a pinch of salt. Makes about 1/4 cup more or less of sugar syrup. Set aside for later usage.
Mix rice flour with oil adding to brown sugar mixture, it will become very sticky and thickens. Keep mixing until it is smooth.
Grease rice bowl or container you will be using for the cake. Wet your fingers while pressing down, as the dough is sticky. As you place dough into a container, press down to make sure there are no air bubbles.
Drizzle syrup over nian gao (sticky cake). Place cake pan in a steamer for about 6 hours(depends on the container that you put the dough in).
if it is a cake pan than 5-6 hours will be OK if smaller rice bowls, the dough is thicker so it takes an hour more. Keep an eye on the steamer
making sure that there is enough water. Place a small metal spoon inside water part of the steamer, when the spoon stop banging and rattling around the pan than your steamer needs more water.
Sticky rice cake can be re- steam to reheat or use a microwave. Left over cake can be dipped in egg mixture and fried.