Friday, February 12, 2010

年年有余 (鱼)

I love 年糕 (pronounced as nian gao which literally means Year Cake) especially the traditional ones steamed in banana leaves.  You can either eat it plain or sandwich them with sliced sweet potato and yam, dipped into flour batter to deep fry.  However, I find the commercial ones generally too sweet to my liking and was scouting around for recipes.

The challenge of making 年糕 is the long hours of steaming.  I first spotted Gina's recipe (white version) in Kitchen Capers 2 years ago but I wasn't keen to try it until DS2's former nursery teacher passed me a recipe a couple of weeks ago.  She was at Kitchen Capers Store and saw Gina in action, conducting a nian gao making demo so she took a recipe for me.  With this coincidence, I decided to give it a try this year.

A big boo-boo happened while I was steaming the coloured layers, I ran out of gas!  Yes, I'm still using LP Gas which I find it more economical.  While waiting for the gas man to deliver my new tank of gas, I can only pray that my fish will turn out alright.

I've oiled the moulds fairly well after reading Pure Enjoyment's encounter but it was still difficult to unmould the tails.  Out of the 7.5 fish 年糕 I made, none of the tails came out intact :-(

The taste is unlike the traditional 年糕 (I thought it tasted like tang yuan) but if you ain't fussy, this is a good substitute ;-)

年糕 (Nian Gao)
110g sugar
220g glutinous rice flour
250ml water
Some pandan leaves
1 drop of yellow colouring
1 drop of red colouring

Method to make the liquid batter
  1. In a pot add water, pandan leaves and sugar to heat over the fire till melts. Leave to cool completely before using.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift flour and slowly pour syrup in and stir till there are no lumps (mixture should be thick and runny).
  3. Scoop a small portion of mixture into a bowl and add orange colouring, stir to mix evenly.
  4. Scoop another portion into another bowl and add yellow colouring, stir till well mixed.
Method to steam
  1. Grease mould with oil using a kitchen towel.
  2. Pour a tablespoon of orange batter into mould and steam on high heat for 3 - 4 mins.
  3. Remove mould from steamer and pour in yellow batter, continue to steam on high heat for 3 - 4 mins.
  4. Finally add the white batter and cover to steam for 20 - 25 minutes.
  5. Remove mould from steamer and leave it to cool completely before chilling in fridge.
  6. Unmould 年糕 and stick roasted black sesame seeds as eyes.
  • Rose water was originally used but I replaced it by cooking pandan leaves with water to get some fragrance.
  • Use disposable gloves to unmould.
  • Use a toothpick to pick up the sesame seed and stick onto fish eye location.


Sonia ~ Nasi Lemak Lover said...

This Nian Gao look more difficult than my traditional Nian Gao, but I like the fish shape. Wishing you a Happy CNY and Happy Holiday !

A Full-Timed Housefly said...

Wow these are so beautiful ! I like it.

Unknown said...

woahh at a glance i thought it was REAL FISH!!!!!!!! well done! looks very realistic!

you have very careful hands...very artistic :). keep it upss!

ann low said...

This is your first attempt? Looks perfect and the colour is beautiful.
Happy Lunar New Year!

WendyinKK said...

My cousin once brought some nian gao fishes back from Hong Kong, and maybe due to the fragrance they used, we didn't want to take a 2nd bite into the cake. As u said, rose water was used, it could be that that backed us off.

But urs use pandan, so they may be better, but I don't think I want to eat them, cos they are too pretty to be eaten. Got any more to spare??? Lydia loves keeping fishes :)

Pei-Lin said...

These look so beautiful! Feel like the fish are swimming before me! Well-done!!


Simonne said...

ur fish is soooo nice!!!

Blessed Homemaker said...

Sonia, thanks! I still prefer the traditional nian gao, if time permits, I'll make that next year ;-)

Pearlyn, thanks!

Ann, you're the first one to say I'm artistic! I'm really lousy with my hands :P

Anncoo, thanks! Yes, it's my first attempt and I hope to improve on it the next time I make them.

Blessed Homemaker said...

Wendy, I thought it tasted like tang yuan/mochi :P I've not tried the white version so I don't know how it taste like? Can I email you a fish instead? ;-)

Pei-Lin, thanks! Happy new year to you too!

Simonne, thanks for your kind words :)

KWF said...

I thought these were very nicely done. Great job!

Blessed Homemaker said...

kwf, thanks for your kind words :)

Anonymous said...

Wow!! It's amazing tat u can do it so well. Too bad tat now then I see this ..... esle will do it b4 CNY for my in-laws. U know last time I used to buy this for my in-laws (> $50) but since 2 yrs back, cant find selling in the mkt liao. BTW, where to get the mould? Thanks for sharing! And Happy CNY to U & yr family!! .... MH

Blessed Homemaker said...

MH, you can get the moulds from bakeware shops. They are actually jelly moulds but of thicker material and thus safe for steaming.

Cookie said...

I went thru the same hard time trying to unmould the fish using the same recipe. =p

Blessed Homemaker said...

Cookie, what a coincidence. I think we didn't oil it enough, especially the tail portion.