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Nian Gao - Chinese New Year Cake

A sweet sticky rice cake to celebrate Chinese New Year


1 1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1 1/2 cup water divided

1 box (1 pound) sweet rice flour

2 tablespoons vegetable oil plus 1/2 teaspoon to oil a pie plate

1 teaspoon vanilla


Oil a pie plate or round cake pan with 1/2 teaspoon of oil.

Add 1 1/2 inch of water to a large pot with a tight fitting lid and a steamer rack and bring water to boil.

Measure 3/4 cup water in a glass measuring cup, add brown sugar, and microwave for 1 minute until the sugar is dissolved.

Pour sweet rice flour into a large bowl, add the brown sugar water, 3/4 cup of water, oil and vanilla extract.

Whisk to combine until the rice mixture is smooth and free of lumps.

Transfer the rice mixture into the prepared pie plate and smooth out the top.

Set the cake inside the pot and steam for 1 1/2 hours.

Check the water level of the pot periodically (avoid letting the condensation from the lid drip on the cake when lifting the lid) and replenish with hot water as necessary.

Allow the cake to cool completely, cover with plastic wrap, and the cake will be ready to serve the next day.

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