Celebrating lunar new year the Chinese way is a multi-day ordeal. Last night I tried explaining to American Boyfriend how we used to visit family and friends with a scheduling algorithm that assigns priority based on seniority in the family, how close we are, geographical location, and whether we can optimize one visit to meet with as many people as possible. The goal is to meet everyone on the (very long) list within the three statutory holidays though there is some leeway since the new year celebration officially lasts for ten consecutive days. Boyfriend’s head just about to explode before I even got around to explain the etiquette of red pockets.
With all the visiting back and forth, of course the house needs to be stocked with treats for the guests. On Monday I wrote about Split Pea Coconut Pudding 椰汁馬荳糕 and last year I shared with you my recipe for Steamed Turnip Cake 臘味蘿蔔糕. Both are very traditional recipes. Another popular choice is steamed glutinous rice cake, nian gao 年糕. I absolutely love the soft chewy texture reminiscent of Japanese mochi. Unfortunately, the cake hardens up once cooled. My favourite way to enjoy nian gao is pan fry the slices with a thin coating of eggs. It’s totally awesome but can be a greasy treat, not to mention a lot of work. Enter the baked glutinous rice cake. This is a fusion dessert that combines the traditional taste and texture of steamed rice cake with the richness and ease of butter cake. You can simply slice and serve the cake at room temperature yet still enjoy the soft chewy texture of rice cake. I can’t get enough of this!