Chinese New Year’s Cake ( Nian Gao / Kue Keranjang / Nin Gou )

Two-Way Nian Gao

Two-Way Nian Gao

One of the traditional food I look forward to, during Chinese New Year is the nian gao. The sticky sweetness and the chewy texture is unmatched with any Western sweets. However, it is considered an outdated food that not many younger generations appreciate. So, we challenge ourselves to make nian gao more interesting and flavorful with these 2 easy recipes. Surprise your family with this wonderful treat during the family gathering and make your grandmother proud.

For both recipes, cut the round nian gao into halves and into thin slices of squares of 6 x 6 cm with 1 cm maximum thickness. Depending on how big the nian gao, mine can make around 25 pieces. None of these recipes need to have exact measurement, they are quite foolproof.

I. Grated Coconut Nian Gao

Ingredients: Nian Gao pieces, shredded fresh coconut, vegetable oil to oil the plate

1. Lay the nian gao pieces without touching each other on a lightly oiled plate.

2. Grate some fresh coconut meat. Add a pinch of salt (optional).

3. Steam the nian gao pieces in a steamer for 12 minutes or until they are soft and sticky to touch.

4. Take the pieces out and immediately coat them with the grated coconut by rolling them around.

5. Let it cool, and serve.

grated coconut with steam nian gao

grated coconut with steam nian gao

II. Crispy Yam Nian Gao


Nian gao pieces

– raw yam, slice them into squares of 7 x 7 cm with 0.5cm thickness. You will need twice as many sliced yam than the nian gao

– rice flour, pinch of salt

– oil to deep fry

– water

sliced yam and uncooked nian gao pieces

sliced yam and uncooked nian gao pieces

1. Add water to the rice flour and mix until it form liquid batter.

2. Assemble the yam and nian gao pieces like a burger, with 2 yam pieces holding the nian gao in the middle.

3. When the frying oil is ready, dip the ‘burger’ into the batter and fry immediately.

4. You will need less than a minute for each pieces to be done. The frying is done to cook the raw yam and the rice flour coating while softening the nian gao inside.

the 3 layers of goodness

the 3 layers of goodness

5. Serve immediately with hot chinese tea while it’s warm.

Nian gao can be served in many more different ways than this. Hopefully this fried and steam recipes will make your creative juices flowing.

May the Year of the Horse brings you health, happiness, and prosperity. Have a wonderful Chinese New Year!!! Gong Xi Fa Cai!!!

Gong Xi Fa Cai!!!

Gong Xi Fa Cai!!!


3 thoughts on “Chinese New Year’s Cake ( Nian Gao / Kue Keranjang / Nin Gou )

    • Thanks Cate! You can find Nian Gao in most Asian grocery stores around this time of the year. It gets harder to find when it is not during the Chinese New Year time. It has similar texture to sticky rice, although a bit more stickier than that. Hope you can try it and let us know what you think!

  1. i may be chinese, but i’m never a fan of this. but if i have to, i’d take the deep fried one, without the yam, and served still warm.

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