Chinese New Year Sweet Sticky Cake – Nian Gao (年糕)


Post & Recipe in English and Chinese + Demo Video (中英食谱加视频)

Nian Gao – a traditional festive food to symbolize wealth and status elevation.

Activate the elevation and promotion of your wealth and position/ status in life by making your own Nian Gao in this lunar new year!”

It’s definitely easy to make your own Chinese New Year sweet sticky cake. Simple ingredients needed, simple steps to follow, and best thing is, you get to adjust the sweetness and texture of the sticky cake on your own.

I did it without hassle, you can, too! Come, follow my easy & tasty recipe.



Yields 4 medium sized cakes
200g dark palm sugar (Gula Malacca)
150g molasses sugar (Black sugar)
250ml water

280g glutinous rice flour
80g wheat starch

4 medium cans
2 large sheets of banana leaf

200克 椰糖
150克 黑糖
250ml 水

280克 水磨糯米粉
80克 澄面粉

4個 中型空罐頭
2大片 芭蕉葉

See my video demo: The Making of Nian Gao

(1) Boil banana leaves till soften. Pat dry, cut and line the banana leaf in the empty can with excess leaf exposed outside the can. Fold and tie the excess lead on the outer. *See video for demo. Line a few layers for each can. Set aside for later.

(2)  Bring water to a slow boil. Dissolve palm sugar and molasses. Heat off and cool till easy to handle.

(3) Mix the flour and starch. Sieve twice. Add warm sugar syrup into flour mixture in batches. Stir gentle to combine.

(4) Sieve the brown batter to filter out any lumps. Divide batter among the cans. Cover top with aluminum foil. Transfer over to steamer and steam on high heat for about 30 minutes. Then, reduce heat to medium fire, continue steaming for 1 hour. Check water level half way to avoid steamer from drying up.

(5) Test diners by inserting a skewer. It is done when skewer comes out almost clean. Heat off. Remove foil and top a red date on the cake. Cover foil back and let the heat continue the steaming for another 10 minutes before removing from steamer to cool completely.

(6) Remove cooled cake from can. Trim away excessive leaf around the edges. Decorate the Nian Gao, and present it during Chinese New Year celebration for auspicious symbolization.

(1)将芭蕉叶煮软。擦干后,修剪并将芭蕉叶铺在空罐中。罐外留些许露出的叶子,包扎在罐外并绑住。 *请参考视频演示。每个罐子需铺上2-3层蕉叶。备用。






For less chewy texture of the cake, reduce or omit the wheat starch completely. Without wheat starch, the cake will be harden when cooled. However, it will appear molten again once deep fried.

However, if you intend to just pan-fry the sweet cake on its own, without other ingredients such as sweet potato and taro slices, I would suggest retaining the wheat starch to hold the shape when pan-frying it.



Tips: The making of Nian Gao is completely versatile. You can use any type of sugar, any type of liquid, eg milk or coconut milk, instead of water.


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