Nian Gao or Chinese New Year’s Cake is an auspicious food item made during the Chinese (Lunar) New Year. There are many regional variations, essentially this is made with glutinous rice flour and sugar. It has a soft chewy texture similar to mochi. Eating it is believed to bring good luck because "Nian Gao" is a homonym for “higher year” thus symbolizing promotions and prosperity for the year to come.
This recipe is from a friend’s mom and is by far my favorite. I’ve made a few tweaks in an attempt to make it a little bit healthier. Since the main ingredients are refined sugar and flour there’s only so much one can do! It’s a treat just once a year. I hope you enjoy it!
Mama Chen's Nian Gao (gluten and dairy free)
- 1 box (16 oz) Koda Farms Mochiko sweet rice flour
- 3/4 C unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 C coconut sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1.25 C milk (or non-dairy alternative)
- 1 can low fat coconut milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp sesame seeds for sprinkling
- Coat 9 x 9 baking dish with coconut oil.
- Mix all ingredients (except the sesame seeds) until well blended. Pour into baking dish and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 80-90 minutes until brown or an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
* Some people like to eat it like french toast. Take a slice, coat in a beaten egg, and pan fry.
Here’s to a happy, healthy, and prosperous year for all!