Kung Hei Fat Choy 恭喜發財!
When Chinese Lunar New Year comes around, not only do we eat for taste, we also eat for luck (or superstition?). And it has always been cakes – very often pudding-like cakes .
It is not a bad idea to enjoy the sticky rice cake right away as it is steamed, but I have get used to eating it pan-fried with beaten egg(s).
Does it sounds familiar? Yes, it is the type of sweet Chinese leen go (pan-fried coconut sticky rice cake 煎椰汁年糕 ) that you may find in many Cantonese dim sum restaurants.
So don’t limit this as a Chinese New Year treat, just enjoy it any time you like and have luck all year round! All you need is just four ingredients: glutinous (sticky) rice flour, rice flour, slab sugar and coconut milk.
The old-school recipe calls for same weight of sugar to flour, I have reduced the ratio from 1 to 1 to about 0.8 to 1, that is, mine is on the lighter side.
This is a Chinese recipe though, I bet you will find the steps – kneading, resting, and sieving – similar to those as we would do it for breads and cakes.
- 300g sticky (glutinous) rice flour
- 40g rice flour
- 280g Chinese slab sugar (蔗糖)
- 330ml water
- 100ml coconut milk
- 1-2 pcs red dates, optional, for decoration
- 2 eggs, beaten (for 2 cakes)
- yields two 13 cm cakes of about 3 cm thick
Put sugar in a heat-proof bowl with 330ml of water, sit it over a pot of simmering water and heat until sugar is dissolved, stirring to speed it up (suggest using indirect heating method because liquids don’t evaporate as much in directly boiling).
Let mixture cool to about 35-40 degree C.
Sieve flours in a mixing bowl, add warm sugar water mixture little by little until the mass combine together.
Kneading and resting the dough
Knead the dough for about 5 to 10 minutes by hand until the flour is smooth and pliable. Cover with wet towel; let it rest for no less than an hour. I rested mine for about 2 to 3 hours.
After resting the dough, add remaining mixture, about 170ml (except the very last bit that contains any impurities).
Stretch and massage the dough in the liquid with your fingers, until it starts to ‘melt’. Then, add coconut milk, stir and mix them to form a thin and smooth batter. Or, with a standing mixer, knead on low speed until the dough and liquid are well combined, again forming a smooth batter.
Most slab sugars (the Chinese brown sugar bars made from sugar cane) produced the traditional way contain impurities. So you may want to let them sink to the bottom than stirring the mixture when adding it into the dough.
Bring water in a steamer to a boil.
To make a smooth cake, pour the batter through a fine sieve into greased cake molds sit in a steamer (I used two steam-proof deep dishes and greasing them makes it easier to remove the cake from them ).
Cover dishes with plates or foil; steam over medium heat for 30 to 35 minutes. Decorate with red date(s). You may test doneness by inserting a tooth pick into the center of the cake. It might not come out perfectly clean, but any thing stuck to it should not appear watery.
Let cool to room temperature after steamed and cut into bite size wedges and serve (the cake will be fairly sticky to cut when it is still warm or hot). Alternatively, that is, follow the most popular way; cut into about 1/2 cm thick slices, dip into beaten egg(s) and pan fry until lightly browned on the outside and softened inside. I fried first side, on medium-low heat, for 1-2
2-3 minutes and the other side for another minute.
During Chinese New Year, it has been a habit that this cake is prepared in advance of the Festival and stored in fridge, which will then be pan-fried and served as required.
Before frying, however, it is better to sit the chilled cake at room temperature for a while.
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