Eating Nian Gao, (Chinese: 年糕; pinyin: nián'gāo) during the Lunar New Year is considered good luck as it symbolises increasing one's prosperity every year.This association makes Nian Gao a popular gift item during the New Year period.
The traditional Nian Gao is round with a auspicious decoration such as the character for prosperity 发 on its top. The character is often written in the traditional Chinese script.
It is sold is several sizes small, medium and big. As a gift item, Nian Gao are fashioned into different shapes with attractive packaging to suit the festivee season. Popular designs include a pair of carps 年年有余 symbolizing surplus every year, ingots 元宝, or the God of Wealth 财神. These designs are auspicious symbols and sends good wishes for the New Year.
There are several ways of eating Nian Gao. Some would just consumed it steamed, sometimes steamed and then coat it with freshly grated coconut or else it would be sliced into pieces, dipped into a batter and fried. A popular method of eating this in Malaysia would be to sandwhich it between a thin piece of yam and sweet potato, coat it with batter and then deep fried.
Nian Gao or Sticky Rice Cake
1 medum size Nian Gao, sliced into squares
1 medium size sweet potato, sliced into squares
1 medium size yam, sliced into squares
For the Batter:
100g rice flour
45g cake flour or all purpose flour
20g corn flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp oil
110 - 120 ml ice water
1) Into a bowl, add all the flour and salt.
2) Add the egg and oil into the ice water and mix. Then gradually pour in the liquid into the flour, stirring to mix until it becomes a thick batter.
3) Sandwich the Nian Gao with 1 piece of yam and 1 piece of sweet potato. Set aside.
4) Heat about 1 cm high vegetable oil in a large frying pan. Once the oil is hot, reduce to medium low heat. Dip the Nian Gao sandwich into the batter and then gently drop into the oil. Becare as it will splatter when it starts to cook.
5) Fry until golden brown. Drain and set aside. Best consumed whilst still warm.