Many Chinese buy some Nian Gao (年糕) during Chinese New Year Spring Festival. It symbolises 步步高升, (things are improving in steps in the coming year). Housewife who worship kitchen god may also belief that the kitchen god, being in kitchen the whole year, heard the housewife gossips and complains in the kitchen. They will offer the nian gao to the god at the end of the year. The believe was that the kitchen god will return to heaven and report to the heavenly king what he has heard, but if his mouth is filled with sticky rice cake, he will not be able to talk.
Note that I refer to those round cakes made of glutinous rice flour steamed in a banana leaf lined mould. I am not referring to the white rice flour sticks, which are referred as Shanghai nian gao (上海年糕).
Nian gao should be kept dry by airing and sunned. They could be kept for months without refrigeration when dry. For frying, the cake should be aired until it hardens (it is very sticky and soft when it was made), usually takes more than a week. This also made slicing it easier than being soft and sticky.
- 1 Nian gao年糕
- 4 eggs
- 4 tablespoon general purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Cooking oil
- Remove the covering (usually banana leaf) of the nian gao, and rinse.
- Slice into squares of ¼ cm thick. (thin slice are easier to cook)
- In a bowl, crack in the eggs and beat.
- Add in the flour and salt and stir into a batter. Add in 1 tablespoon cooking oil and continue to stir until the oil is mixed thoroughly into the batter.
- Heat up a frying pan and oil the surface. Dip the nian gao slice by slice into the batter and then pan fry both sides until golden brown. The nian gao is ready when it is soft again. Use low heat so that the batter will not be burnt before the nian gao soften. It is also important to have thin slice, otherwise it takes a long time before it soften. Those who know how to use a pair of chopstick, it is easier to use a pair of chopsticks to do the flipping.
For variations of this recipe, you can pre-steam thin slices of yam or sweet potato or both, and sandwich the nian gao and the yam and sweet potato together, then dip into batter and fry.