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!
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!
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.
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.
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 in the water chestnuts and mix well. Set the batter aside.
Next, prepare the baking tin.
In a large wok or pot, boil the banana leaves 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.
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.
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.
Secure the banana leaves with a rubber band around the tin.
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.
Let it cool and garnish it with a red date. Your Pandan Nian Gao is ready!
Get the recipe here!