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Saturday, 13 February 2010

'Nian Gao', the meaning of Chinese New Year

'Nian Gao' 年糕 is the Chinese traditional cake that is made only during Chinese New Year; from finely blended glutinous rice, is mixed with correct portion of sugar and then is steamed until it turns into a browny colour. It means 步步高升 or a smooth promotion in your career path.

My mom is still practising the traditional homemade way of this 'Nian Gao' whereby it's richful with the pure aroma of the banana leaves, no preservative and is naturally coloured with the melted sugar due to the long steaming hours of >8hrs each day. This is the meaning of 'Nian Gao' that has been sent on generation by generation to us today whereby we tend to serve ourselves and the customers with the natural taste of this traditional cake.

How 'Nian Gao' is made? Firstly, the glutinous rice is blended into a fine and smooth texture. Then, it is put into a gunny bag and the excessive water is to be squeezed out from this rice mixture. I think there must be some people wondering how this is done? Since old time at my hometown, a heavy stone is put on top of this flour bag whereby the excessive water is forced out slowly, drip by drip. The final flour is mixed with correct portion of sugar and then being poured into the small canisters that have been covered nicely with banana leaves. While talking about steaming part, we use a big pot that is heated with woods. Ya, woods and no gas stove; it's then being steamed for >8hrs.

This is my mom's principle to maintain the originality of this delicious, traditional Chinese New Year cake whereby it's homemade with pure ingredients only.

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