Category Archives: Glutinous

Brown Sugar Coconut Nian Gao (From Scratch!) | 紅糖椰汁年糕

The Chinese character 糕 gao can be used on its own or in combination with other characters to mean, more or less, “fairly solid food somewhat like a cake but not always what would be considered a cake from a Western perspective”.  Examples include 蛋糕 dan gao, lit. “egg cake”, which refers to (for lack of a better term) normal cakes, and  雪糕 (xue gao in Mandarin, but it’s primarily a Cantonese term; lit. “snow cake”), which means “ice cream”.

So 年糕 nian gao, lit. “year cake”, is a difficult food to explain,  not least because there are several different types that can be served several different ways, like non-glutinous Shanghainese 年糕 nian gao that can be stir-fried with meat and vegetables for a savory dish or sprinkled with granulated sugar for dessert.  I prefer Cantonese 年糕 nian gao though – it can be served as a super-sticky pudding or cut into slices, dipped in egg and pan-fried.  The way I ended up getting people to eat it without being able to do a great translation was, “It’s, like, a glutinous rice cake?  Well, not really a cake, but – here, just try it.”

And then the 年糕 nian gao did its own talking.

Anyway, let’s start from the very beginning (a very good place to start).  Why did I have Cantonese 年糕 nian gao on hand, anyway?  Well, I decided that since it was Chinese New Year, it was a good time to undertake an overly ambitious dorm cooking project.  (I have been cooking a little since I got to college, but nothing I haven’t made before.)  I did the majority of the prep work in my room – my roommate’s hot water pot was a great help.

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Filed under By Ingredient, By Meal, By Type, Chinese, Dessert, Glutinous, Recipes

Tofu Dango

I am a YouTube addict.  Speaking of, the Project for Awesome (p4a), organized mainly by Vlogbrothers Hank and John Green (wow, I think I’m setting a record for embedded links), is on RIGHT NOW.  Go.  Watch, spam, and generally do everything I’m not doing because as soon as I get on YouTube I won’t be able to get off and I really need to get rid of all the crap on my desk because my window is getting ripped out in two days.  (Which is why I’m blogging.)

Another YouTube channel I absolutely adore is Cooking with Dog.  It’s hosted by Francis, a gender-norm-challenging little poodle with the cutest accent ever, and his Japanese chef.  They teach you how to make awesome Japanese food (just click on that link for examples – you won’t regret it, unless you’re supposed to be doing something productive right now).

The first thing I ever made from their channel was tofu dango – basically glutinous rice balls made with tofu, served three different ways.  Since I’m Chinese, I have some experience with making glutinous rice balls (we call them 圓子 yuan zi or 丸子 wan zi, both of which mean ‘little round things’), especially during winter holidays like Chinese New Year.  The Japanese celebrate the new year on January 1st, though, so I’m posting this a couple of weeks in advance to give you time to source some glutinous rice flour!

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Filed under Dessert, Glutinous, Recipes, Tofu