Third in line of our Top 8 Chinese New Year Dishes 2020 is a special twist on a classic CNY dessert: veteran home cook Geck Chau’s recipe for Pandan Nian Gao with water chestnuts!
Of all the Chinese New Year desserts available, Nian Gao 年糕, also known as Kuih Bakul, is a must have. Not only is it a favourite sweet treat, its Chinese name also carries an auspicious meaning for a prosperous year ahead (nian= year, gao= high/tall).
But its shelf life is what’s best about the sticky dessert. If kept in the freezer, you can enjoy nian gao all year round whenever you feel like it!
Pandan Nian Gao
This simple nian gao recipe is delicious. Mildly sweet with the refreshing flavour of Pandan, its chewy texture also contrasts nicely with the bits of crunchy water chestnuts. Cut into pieces, you can eat it as it is or fry it with batter as you like!
Chewy and crunchy!
Here are the ingredients you need: glutinous rice flour, castor sugar, water, chopped pandan leaves, water chestnut, banana leaves, and a red date.
The first step is to prepare the batter.
Set up your food processor or blender and add the pandan leaves and water. Blend until smooth.
Add pandan leaves and water to food processor
Blend until smooth
In a large measuring jug, strain the mixture to extract 250ml of pandan juice. #Tip: if you need more pandan juice, put the pandan pulp in the strainer back in a bowl, mix with more water then strain again.
Pour the blended pandan pulp onto a metal strainer
Extract 250ml of pandan water from the pulp
Add the flour and sugar to the measuring jug and mix well with a spatula. Mix until smooth and there are no more lumps in the batter. You can strain the mixture as well.
Add sugar and glutinous rice flour into the pandan extract
Mix well until the pandan nian gao batter is smooth
Add in the water chestnuts and mix well. Set the batter aside.
Add the water chestnuts to the nian gao batter
Give it a good mix and set aside
Next, prepare the baking tin.
In a large wok or pot, boil the banana leaves for 10 minutes or until soft.
Boil the banana leaves in a large wok for 10 minutes or until soft
Lay a dry kitchen towel on the table and place a banana leaf on it. Dry the leaf with another kitchen towel and remove the towels when the leaf is dried.
Dry the banana leaves with kitchen towels
Place a 6 inch baking tin side down on the leaf and wrap it around the tin. Fold down the leaf to the middle of the tin.
Wrap a long piece around the baking tin
Secure the edges with one hand and fold down a corner of the leaf with the other hand
Fold down the rest of the leaf into the baking tin and press it in neatly
Repeat this step with two more banana leaves so that the tin is entirely covered.
Place a banana leaf over the top of the tin and use a pair of scissors to cut out a circle, following the shape of the tin. Press the circle into the tin with a cylindrical object like a cup or bowl. Repeat this step with two more banana leaves.
Cut a circle out a banana leaf, following the rough shape of the baking tin
Use a cylindrical object to push the circle into the tin and press against it neatly
Secure the banana leaves with a rubber band around the tin.
Secure the banana leaves with a rubber band
Lastly, its time to steam and serve the nian gao.
Pour the batter into the tin and cover with cling foil so that the condensation will not drip into the batter while steaming. Place the tin into a steamer and let it steam for one and a half hours.
Cover the tin with cling foil and put the pandan nian gao to steam
Let it cool and garnish it with a red date. Your Pandan Nian Gao is ready!
Garnish with a red date and it is ready!
Get the recipe here!
Pandan Nian Gao
Servings 1 6 inch cake
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 90 minutes
- 250g glutinous rice flour
- 250g castor sugar
- 200ml water
- 50g pandan leavescut into small pieces
- 1 red date
- 100g water chestnutsdiced
- banana leaves
- green colouringoptional
- Blend pandan leaves and water in a food processor. Strain the mixture into a large measuring cup to extract 250ml of pandan juice. #Tip: if you need more pandan juice, put the pandan pulp back in a bowl and mix with more water then strain again.
- In the measuring cup, add in the flour and sugar. Whisk till well mixed and smooth.
- Add in the water chestnuts. Stir to distribute evenly. Set aside.
- Boil the banana leaves for 10 mins, till it softens. Remove from pot, wipe dry.
- Lay 1 banana leaf on the table and place the cake tin in the middle. Wrap the banana leaf around the tin and fold the leaf down in the middle. Repeat 2 more times.
- Place another leaf on top of the tin and cut out out a round shape. Use a cylindrical object to push it into the baking tin and press the leaf in neatly. Repeat 2 more times.
- Use a rubber band to secure the banana leaves around the tin. If not, it will curl up while it’s steaming.
- Pour the batter into the tin and wrap the tin with cling foil.
- Place it in the steamer and steam for 1hr 30 mins.
- Let it cool and garnish with red date.