Chinese New Year Cake Pudding (Nien Gao) Recipe

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Servings: 8


Cost per serving $0.38 view details


  1. Oil ti leaves and sides of a round pan, approximately 8 inches in diameter by 3 inches high, then line the pan with the ti leaves. Dissolve the brick sugar and raw sugar in the warm water. Cold. Gradually add in the rice flour, then the oil to make a smooth batter. Pour into the prepared pan and steam 4 hrs. May be cooked in a pressure cooker for 2 to 3 hrs. Garnish center of pudding cake with the red date, and sprinkle top with the sesame seeds.
  2. VARIATIONS: I. Use 2 c. water only, add in one 12 oz can coconut lowfat milk; II. Add in 1 c. of mashed yams to the basic recipe. III. Pour batter into a greased tube micro-wave pan and cook in a microwave 15 to 18 min on high heat.
  3. COMMENTARY: The origin of this cake pudding can be traced back to the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. - 220 A. D.) when it was prepared and eaten on the 9th day of the 9th lunar month. Auspicious things and good luck were believed to follow eating it, so New Year's became a more appropriate time to eat it.
  4. The term "gao, " besides meaning a cake, also means high or possibly higher up, implying promotion or possibly success in one's career.
  5. A pyramid of a large round nien gao, a smaller one, and a tangerine with leaves attached is supposed to represent the sun, moon and stars, bringing bright light and glory into a household.


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Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving %DV
Serving Size 153g
Recipe makes 8 servings
Calories 336  
Calories from Fat 62 18%
Total Fat 7.07g 9%
Saturated Fat 1.19g 5%
Trans Fat 0.0g  
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 19mg 1%
Potassium 99mg 3%
Total Carbs 70.54g 19%
Dietary Fiber 0.3g 1%
Sugars 69.5g 46%
Protein 0.24g 0%
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