Left Continue shopping
Your Order

You have no items in your cart

You might like
Product
$10.00
Add to cart
Promotion
Read more
Seaco-online.com completes revamp of our website to bring you a better seafood buying experience!

A Taste of Tradition: Rediscovering Chinese Layered Rice Cake Recipe

If you're looking for a delicious and visually stunning snack or dessert, look no further than the Chinese layered rice cake recipe. This traditional dish, also known as "nian gao," is made from glutinous rice flour and sugar, and is steamed to create a soft, chewy texture. The layers of the cake are created by pouring the batter into a cake pan and steaming each layer separately, resulting in a beautiful striped effect.

A bamboo steamer filled with layers of colorful Chinese rice cakes, topped with red bean paste and sesame seeds

While the basic recipe for Chinese layered rice cake is simple, there are many variations and substitutions that can be made to suit your tastes and dietary needs. For example, you can add coconut milk or pandan extract for a more tropical flavour, or use brown sugar instead of white sugar for a richer taste. You can also experiment with different toppings, such as sesame seeds or chopped nuts, to add texture and crunch.

Key Takeaways

  • Chinese layered rice cake, or "nian gao," is a traditional snack or dessert made from glutinous rice flour and sugar, and is steamed to create a soft, chewy texture.
  • The cake is created by pouring the batter into a cake pan and steaming each layer separately, resulting in a beautiful striped effect.
  • There are many variations and substitutions that can be made to the basic recipe to suit your tastes and dietary needs, such as adding coconut milk or pandan extract for a tropical flavour, or using brown sugar instead of white sugar for a richer taste.

Ingredients and Substitutes

A table with ingredients: rice flour, sugar, water, red bean paste, and coconut milk. A bowl of eggs and a whisk

Choosing the Right Type of Rice

The key ingredient in Chinese layered rice cake is glutinous (sticky) rice. It is important to choose the right type of rice to get the perfect texture. Short-grain glutinous rice is the most commonly used type of rice for this recipe. You can also use long-grain glutinous rice, but it may not be as sticky.

Understanding Different Flours

Rice flour and tapioca flour are the two main types of flour used to make Chinese layered rice cake. Rice flour is made from finely ground rice, while tapioca flour is made from the cassava root. Using a combination of both flours can help achieve the right texture and flavour.

Sweeteners and Flavourings

Sugar is the most commonly used sweetener in Chinese layered rice cake. You can use white sugar or brown sugar, depending on your preference. Pandan leaves are often used to add flavour and aroma to the cake. Coconut milk is another common ingredient that adds richness and flavour to the cake.

If you are vegetarian or vegan, you can use plant-based substitutes for ingredients like coconut milk and sweeteners. For those with dietary restrictions, this recipe can be made gluten-free, nut-free, shellfish-free, and egg-free.

Seafood is not a common ingredient in Chinese layered rice cake. However, if you want to experiment with adding seafood, you can try using dried shrimp or scallops as a flavour enhancer. Just make sure to soak the seafood in water first before adding it to the batter.

Preparation Techniques

A chef carefully layers sticky rice and savory fillings in a bamboo steamer, preparing a traditional Chinese rice cake

Creating the Perfect Batter

The key to a successful Chinese layered rice cake is creating the perfect batter. To make the batter, mix together coconut milk, sugar, and vanilla extract (if using) until the sugar dissolves. Next, pour in boiling water and stir until the mixture is well combined. In a separate bowl, mix together tapioca starch and rice flour, and then add it to the coconut milk mixture. Stir until you get a smooth batter. If you want to add seafood to the recipe, you can try adding small pieces of cooked shrimp to the batter before pouring it into the steamer.

Layering Methods

To create thin layers, you will need to pour a small amount of batter into the steamer and steam it for a few minutes until it sets. Then, pour another layer of batter on top of the first layer and steam again. Repeat this process until all the batter is used up. You can also add food colouring to the batter to create a rainbow effect. If you prefer savoury flavours, you can try adding small pieces of cooked bacon or ham to each layer.

Steaming Setup

To steam the rice cake, you will need a steamer. A bamboo steamer is ideal for this recipe, but any steamer will do. Fill a pot with water and bring it to a boil. Place the steamer on top of the pot, making sure the water does not touch the bottom of the steamer. Use a bamboo cover or a clean cloth to cover the steamer to prevent water droplets from falling onto the rice cake. Wear a glove to handle the steamer as it will be hot. Steam the rice cake for about 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake.

These cooking tips will help you create a perfect Chinese layered rice cake. Whether you prefer sweet or savoury flavours, you can experiment with different ingredients to create your own unique recipe.

Cooking Process

A pot is steaming on a stove, filled with layers of sticky rice, savory meats, and vegetables. Steam rises as the rice cake cooks

Mixing and Fermentation

To make a delicious Chinese layered rice cake, you will need to mix rice flour, sugar, water, and yeast in a bowl. Mix the ingredients well until you get a smooth batter. Then, cover the bowl with a cloth and let the mixture ferment for a few hours. This fermentation process will give the rice cake its chewy texture.

If you want to add some seafood to the recipe, you could try adding some chopped shrimp or crab meat to the batter. This will give the rice cake a unique flavour and texture.

Steaming the Cake

Once the batter has fermented, it's time to steam the cake. Grease a round cake pan with oil and pour the batter into it. Place the cake pan in a steamer and steam the rice cake for about 45 minutes. Make sure that the water in the steamer is boiling before you put the cake pan in it.

During the steaming process, you can also add some seafood to the top of the cake. You could add some cooked shrimp or crab meat to the top of the cake before steaming it. This will give the cake a beautiful and delicious seafood topping.

Cooling and Serving

Once the rice cake is cooked, remove it from the steamer and let it cool for a few minutes. Then, transfer the cake to a plate and refrigerate it for a few hours. This will help the cake to set and become firm.

When you're ready to serve the rice cake, remove it from the fridge and cut it into small pieces. You can serve the cake as a dessert or as a snack. It's perfect for any occasion, and it's sure to impress your guests.

Making a Chinese layered rice cake is a simple and easy process. By following these steps, you can create a delicious and unique dessert that your friends and family will love.

Cultural Significance

A table set with ingredients and utensils for making Chinese layered rice cake

Layered rice cakes have been a part of Chinese cuisine for centuries, and they hold a special place in the culture. These cakes are not only a delicious treat, but they also have a symbolic meaning. They are often served during special occasions such as weddings, New Year's celebrations, and other important events.

The Origin of Layered Rice Cakes

The origin of layered rice cakes can be traced back to the Tang Dynasty, which was from 618-907 AD. During this time, rice flour was mixed with sugar and steamed to create a cake known as "Bai Tang Gao". Over time, this recipe evolved, and other ingredients such as eggs, coconut milk, and pandan leaves were added to create different variations of the cake.

Cantonese and Malay Variations

In Cantonese cuisine, layered rice cakes are known as "Malay Cake" or "Ma Lai Gao". This version of the cake is made with brown sugar, flour, and eggs. It has a soft and fluffy texture and is often served as a dessert.

In Malay cuisine, layered rice cakes are known as "Kueh Lapis". This version of the cake is made with rice flour, tapioca flour, and coconut milk. It is often served during special occasions such as weddings and is a popular snack in Singapore and Malaysia.

If you want to add a twist to your layered rice cake recipe, you can try adding seafood such as shrimp or crab meat. These ingredients can add a unique flavour to the cake and make it even more delicious. However, be sure to use fresh seafood and cook it thoroughly before adding it to the cake.

Layered rice cakes are a delicious and meaningful part of Chinese cuisine. Whether you're celebrating a special occasion or just looking for a tasty treat, this cake is sure to impress.

Serving Suggestions and Pairings

A table set with a steaming Chinese layered rice cake surrounded by small dishes of pickled vegetables, soy sauce, and chili oil

So, you've made a delicious Chinese layered rice cake, and now it's time to serve it up! There are a few different ways you can enjoy this traditional dessert, depending on your preferences and the occasion.

Dim Sum

Chinese layered rice cake is a popular dim sum item, so it's a great choice if you're hosting a dim sum brunch or just want to enjoy a snack. Serve it alongside other dim sum favourites like siu mai and har gow for a well-rounded meal.

Breakfast

In some parts of China, layered rice cake is eaten for breakfast. It's a filling and satisfying meal that will keep you full until lunchtime. Serve it with a cup of hot tea or coffee for a comforting start to your day.

Snack

Chinese layered rice cake is also a great snack option. Cut it into small squares or rectangles and serve it with a cup of green tea or a glass of cold milk. It's a sweet and satisfying treat that's perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up.

Traditional

If you want to keep things traditional, serve your layered rice cake with a cup of hot tea. Green tea is a great choice, as it complements the sweetness of the rice cake without overpowering it. You can also flavour your rice cake with pandan leaves or coconut milk for an extra touch of traditional flavour.

Seafood

If you're feeling adventurous, you can also experiment with adding seafood to your layered rice cake. Shrimp or crab meat are great options that will add a savoury flavour to the dish. Simply mix the seafood into the batter before steaming, or layer it in between the rice cake layers for a more dramatic presentation.

Overall, Chinese layered rice cake is a versatile and delicious dessert that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Whether you're serving it for dim sum, breakfast, or as a snack, there's no wrong way to enjoy this classic Chinese treat.

Frequently Asked Questions

A table with ingredients and utensils for making Chinese layered rice cake

What's the secret to a perfectly moist Chinese steamed layer cake?

The secret to a perfectly moist Chinese steamed layer cake is to ensure that the batter is well mixed and the cake is steamed for the right amount of time. Over-steaming can make the cake dry, while under-steaming can make it too wet. It's important to check the cake frequently during the steaming process to ensure it's cooked to perfection.

Can you suggest a simple method for making a Chinese layered rice cake at home?

Yes, making a Chinese layered rice cake at home is easy. To make a simple version, mix rice flour, sugar, and water to create a batter. Then, steam the batter in a greased pan for about 10 minutes. Once the cake is cooked, let it cool and then cut it into small pieces. You can add different flavourings such as pandan leaves or sesame seeds to enhance the taste.

What are the key ingredients for an authentic thousand-layer cake?

The key ingredients for an authentic thousand-layer cake are tapioca flour, water, sugar, and coconut milk. These ingredients are mixed together to create a batter that is steamed in layers to create the cake's delicate texture.

How do you achieve the delicate layers in a tapioca thousand layer cake?

To achieve the delicate layers in a tapioca thousand layer cake, you need to steam the batter in layers. Each layer should be cooked for a few minutes before adding the next layer. This process creates the cake's signature texture and appearance.

Is there a shortcut to making a Chinese thousand layer cake without compromising on taste?

While there are no shortcuts to making a Chinese thousand layer cake without compromising on taste, you can use pre-made flour mixtures to save time. However, it's important to note that these mixes may not produce the same texture and taste as a cake made from scratch.

What's the difference between the Japanese thousand layer cake and the Chinese version?

The Japanese thousand layer cake, also known as mille crepe, is made with thin layers of crepes and whipped cream. The Chinese version, on the other hand, is made with layers of steamed cake. While both cakes have a delicate texture and appearance, they are made using different methods and ingredients.

If you're feeling adventurous, you can add seafood to your Chinese layered rice cake recipe. Shrimp or crab meat can be added to the batter to create a savoury version of the cake. Simply mix the seafood into the batter before steaming for a delicious twist on a classic recipe.