Nian Gao Ingredients
- 200g or (1-1/2 cup + 1/3 cup) Glutinous Rice Flour
- 100g or (1 Cup) Wheat Starch (aka Ungluten Wheat Flour, or Tang Mien Fung)
- 20g or (1/4 Cup) Rice Flour
- 160 g or (3/4 Cup) Sugar
- 400 ml or (14 Fl oz or 1 Can) Coconut Milk
- 150 ml water
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil (I used peanut oil)
- Vegetable oil (For greasing the mold)
- 2 Black Kidney Beans (For the "eyes" of the fish)
How to Make Nian Gao
- In a large bowl, sieve together the glutinous rice flour, wheat starch and rice flour.
- In a sauce pan, add 150 ml of water. Combine the sugar and heat on medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. This will yield a simple syrup. Set this aside to cool to room temperature.
- Add the can of coconut milk to the sieved flour mixture and stir to mix.
- Next, add in the simple syrup solution and oil into the flour mixture. Fold quickly with a spatula. The batter will be quite liquid, but do not overmix.
- Remove 1 cup of the white batter. Tint this 1 cup with orange food coloring. (You can mix orange food coloring by combining red and yellow primary colors- Add about 6 drops of each color- more if you want to achieve a more saturated color).
- Grease the fish mold by rubbing a little oil on a piece of paper towel and then rubbing the surface of the mold.
- Using a small teaspoon, add the orange color to the "dorsal fin" of the fish, side fins and tail.
- Gently add the white mixture, slowly pouring on top of the orange color mixture.
- Steam on gentle steam for 40 mins.
- Insert black beans into the eye areas.
Note: The plastic mold can withstand temperatures up to 120⁰C. Steam is 100⁰C. It is important not to let the mold come in direct contact with metal. It is better to steam using a water bath.
How to Unmold Nian Gao
Let the nian gao cool completely or even overnight before attempting to remove it. Remove the "fish" with the end tail, carefully supporting it and peeling the rest of the body away from the mold. If the mold has been greased properly, the release should be perfect.
It is best to make the fish nian gao the night before you plan to present it. If stored in the fridge, the fish may crack. In most circumstances, it is ok to store the nian gao at room temperature for up to 2 days.
This recipe will yield 1 fish, with some batter left over.
Final note: This finished steamed "nian gao" is not ready for serving. To serve, cut up the nian gao in 1/2 cm deep pieces, batter it with egg and flour and pan fry it.