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Chinese Rice Cake Recipe: How to Make This Delicious Treat at Home

If you're a fan of Chinese cuisine, you've probably heard of Chinese rice cakes. These chewy and sweet cakes are a traditional dessert that is often enjoyed during the Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year celebrations. They are made from glutinous rice flour and can be steamed, pan-fried, or stir-fried with savory ingredients.

A wok sizzles with steaming rice cake batter, as a chef adds in savory ingredients like mushrooms and pork, creating a fragrant and mouthwatering dish

Understanding Chinese rice cakes is essential to appreciate their unique texture and taste. These cakes are made from glutinous rice flour, which gives them their signature chewy texture. They can be sweet or savory, depending on the recipe and the occasion. In Chinese culture, rice is a symbol of wealth and prosperity, so serving rice cakes during the New Year celebrations is believed to bring good luck and fortune.

To make Chinese rice cakes at home, you'll need a few essential ingredients and tools. Glutinous rice flour, sugar, and water are the basic ingredients for the cake batter. You'll also need a steamer or a wok for cooking the cakes. Some recipes call for additional ingredients, such as yeast, coconut milk, or red bean paste, to add flavor and texture to the cakes.

Key Takeaways

  • Chinese rice cakes are a traditional dessert that is often enjoyed during the Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year celebrations.
  • These cakes are made from glutinous rice flour, which gives them their signature chewy texture.
  • To make Chinese rice cakes at home, you'll need a few essential ingredients and tools.

Understanding Chinese Rice Cakes

A steaming bamboo steamer filled with freshly cooked Chinese rice cakes, emitting a tantalizing aroma

Chinese rice cakes are a popular traditional dessert in China, especially during the Chinese New Year celebrations. They are made from glutinous rice flour, which gives them their unique sticky texture. The cakes can be sweet or savoury and come in various shapes and sizes. In this section, we will discuss the different types of Chinese rice cakes and their cultural significance.

Types of Chinese Rice Cakes

There are several types of Chinese rice cakes, each with their own unique flavour and texture. Some of the most popular types include:

  • Nian Gao: A sweet rice cake made with brown sugar and glutinous rice flour. It is a popular dessert during the Chinese New Year celebrations and is believed to bring good luck, growth, and prosperity.

  • Bai Tang Gao: A steamed rice cake that is plain in flavour. It is often served as a savoury dish and is popular in southern China.

  • Chinese Sweet Rice Cake: A sweet rice cake that is made with white sugar and glutinous rice flour. It is often served as a dessert and is popular in northern China.

  • Chinese Pumpkin Cake: A sweet rice cake made with pumpkin puree and glutinous rice flour. It is often served as a dessert and is popular in western China.

Cultural Significance

Chinese rice cakes have a long history in Chinese culture and are often associated with the Chinese New Year celebrations. They are believed to bring good luck, growth, and prosperity, and are often given as gifts during the holiday season.

The sticky texture of the rice cakes is thought to symbolize the unity and togetherness of family and friends. Eating the cakes during the Chinese New Year celebrations is believed to bring good fortune and happiness to the family.

Chinese rice cakes are an important part of Chinese culture and tradition. They are a delicious and unique dessert that is enjoyed by people all over the world. Whether you are celebrating the Chinese New Year or just looking for a tasty treat, Chinese rice cakes are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Essential Ingredients and Tools

A wooden cutting board with a knife, mixing bowl, measuring cups, rice flour, sugar, water, and a steamer

Chinese rice cake is a traditional Chinese dish made from rice flour, water, and sugar. It is a staple food during the Chinese New Year and other special occasions. Here are the essential ingredients and tools you need to make Chinese rice cake.

Selecting the Right Rice Flour

The key ingredient in making Chinese rice cake is rice flour. You can use different types of rice flour, such as glutinous rice flour, sweet rice flour, or regular rice flour. Glutinous rice flour is the most commonly used type of rice flour for making Chinese rice cake. It is made from sticky rice and has a higher starch content, which gives it a chewy texture. Sweet rice flour is also a good option, as it is made from glutinous rice and has a slightly sweet taste.

Additional Ingredients

Apart from rice flour, you will need water and sugar to make Chinese rice cake. You can use different types of sugar, such as brown sugar, brown rock sugar, or granulated sugar. Brown sugar and brown rock sugar will give the rice cake a darker colour and a richer flavour, while granulated sugar will give it a lighter colour and a milder taste. You can also add oil, such as vegetable oil or sesame oil, to the rice cake batter to make it smoother and more flavourful.

Tools for Steaming and Pan-Frying

To make Chinese rice cake, you will need a steamer or a bamboo steamer to steam the rice cake. A food processor can also be used to grind the rice into flour. If you want to pan-fry the rice cake, you will need a non-stick pan and some oil.

The essential ingredients for making Chinese rice cake are rice flour, water, and sugar. You can use different types of rice flour and sugar to achieve different flavours and textures. Adding oil to the rice cake batter can enhance its flavour and texture. To make Chinese rice cake, you will need a steamer or a bamboo steamer, and a food processor if you want to grind your own rice flour. If you want to pan-fry the rice cake, you will need a non-stick pan and some oil.

Step-by-Step Recipe

A hand pours batter into a round cake pan. Steam rises from a pot on the stove. Ingredients like rice flour, sugar, and water sit on the counter

Making Chinese rice cake at home is easier than you might think. Follow this simple step-by-step recipe to make your own delicious rice cakes.

Preparing the Batter

To make the batter for Chinese rice cake, you'll need the following ingredients:

  • 200 grams of rice
  • 300 grams of water
  • 120 grams of fine sugar
  • 3 grams of highly active dry yeast
  • 20 grams of warm water
  1. Rinse the rice, and then add water to soak for one night. The weight ratio of rice to water should be 1:1.5.
  2. Drain the rice and add it to a blender or food processor. Add 300 grams of water and blend until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Pour the rice mixture into a large bowl and add the sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the yeast with 20 grams of warm water. Let it sit for 5 minutes until it becomes frothy.
  5. Add the yeast mixture to the rice mixture and stir well.
  6. Cover the bowl with a thin layer of plastic wrap and let it ferment at room temperature for 6-8 hours. Once the batter has fermented, refrigerate it for at least 2 hours before steaming.

Steaming Process

  1. Grease a 9-inch cake pan with oil and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Pour the rice batter into the pan and smooth the surface.
  3. Steam the rice cake over medium-high heat for 45-50 minutes until it is cooked through.
  4. Remove the cake from the steamer and let it cool for 10 minutes before removing it from the pan.

Pan-Frying to Perfection

  1. Cut the rice cake into small squares or rectangles.
  2. Dust each piece with cornstarch.
  3. Dip each piece into beaten egg.
  4. Heat a non-stick pan over medium-high heat.
  5. Add the rice cake pieces to the pan and pan-fry until they are golden brown and crispy on both sides.
  6. Serve hot and enjoy!

That's it! With this easy recipe, you can make your own Chinese rice cake at home with just a few simple ingredients and some basic kitchen equipment.

Serving and Pairing

A table set with a steaming plate of Chinese rice cakes, accompanied by traditional condiments and utensils for serving

Accompaniments and Toppings

Chinese rice cake is a versatile dish that can be served as a snack or a meal. It can be enjoyed on its own or with a variety of accompaniments and toppings. Here are some suggestions to elevate your Chinese rice cake eating experience:

  • Dates and Nuts: Add some chopped dates and nuts on top of your Chinese rice cake for a sweet and crunchy texture.
  • Jujube: Jujube, also known as red dates, can be sliced and added to your Chinese rice cake for a natural sweetness.
  • Pork and Mushrooms: Stir-fry some sliced pork and mushrooms and serve it on top of your Chinese rice cake for a savoury flavour.
  • Garlic and Cabbage: Sauté some garlic and cabbage and serve it on top of your Chinese rice cake for a healthy and flavourful topping.
  • Onion: Sauté some onion and sprinkle it on top of your Chinese rice cake for a subtle flavour boost.

Beverage Pairings

Chinese rice cake can be paired with a variety of beverages. Here are some suggestions to complement your Chinese rice cake:

  • Tea: Chinese tea, such as green tea, oolong tea, or Pu-erh tea, is a perfect match for Chinese rice cake. The tea's subtle flavour and aroma will enhance the taste of the rice cake.
  • Dim Sum: If you are having Chinese rice cake as part of a dim sum meal, pair it with some hot tea or Chinese soup to balance the flavours.
  • Breakfast: Chinese rice cake can be a great addition to your breakfast table. Pair it with some hot soy milk or Chinese congee for a comforting and filling meal.
  • Snacks: If you are having Chinese rice cake as a snack, pair it with some hot or cold beverage of your choice, such as coffee, tea, or juice.

Remember, these are just suggestions, and you can experiment with different toppings and beverage pairings to find your perfect combination. Enjoy your Chinese rice cake your way!

Storage and Preservation

A traditional Chinese rice cake is being carefully wrapped in lotus leaves and placed in a wooden container for storage and preservation

Once you have made your delicious Chinese rice cake, you'll want to make sure it stays fresh for as long as possible. Proper storage and preservation techniques are crucial to ensure the longevity of your rice cake.

Firstly, it is important to note that Chinese rice cake should be stored in an airtight container. This will help to prevent moisture from getting in and causing the rice cake to spoil. You can use a plastic container or a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid.

If you plan on consuming your rice cake within a few days, it is safe to store it at room temperature. However, if you want to extend its shelf life, it is best to store it in a cool place. You can refrigerate your rice cake to keep it fresh for up to a week. Just make sure to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or foil before placing it in the refrigerator.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that rice cake can absorb odours from its surroundings. Therefore, it is best to store it away from strong-smelling foods like onions and garlic. You can also place a piece of parchment paper between the rice cake and the container to prevent any unwanted flavours from seeping in.

In summary, to keep your Chinese rice cake fresh and delicious, store it in an airtight container, at room temperature or in a cool place, away from strong odours. If you want to extend its shelf life, refrigerate it wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or foil.

Frequently Asked Questions

A steaming bamboo basket filled with freshly steamed Chinese rice cakes, surrounded by traditional ingredients like red bean paste and sesame seeds

What's the secret to a super sticky Nian Gao?

The secret to making a super sticky Nian Gao is to use glutinous rice flour. Glutinous rice flour is made from sticky rice, which has a higher starch content than regular rice. This makes it perfect for creating the chewy, sticky texture that is characteristic of Nian Gao. You can find glutinous rice flour at most Asian grocery stores or online.

How do you make Shanghai-style rice cakes at home?

To make Shanghai-style rice cakes at home, you will need glutinous rice flour, water, and brown sugar. Mix the glutinous rice flour with water to form a smooth batter, then add brown sugar and mix well. Pour the batter into a greased pan and steam for about an hour, or until the rice cake is set. Once the rice cake is cooled, cut it into slices and stir-fry with your favourite ingredients.

What's the best way to cook rice cakes in a rice cooker?

To cook rice cakes in a rice cooker, add the rice cakes to the rice cooker along with enough water to cover them. Close the lid and cook on the "white rice" setting until the rice cakes are soft and chewy. This should take about 20-25 minutes. Once the rice cakes are cooked, you can stir-fry them with your favourite ingredients.

Can you share a simple recipe for Chinese rice cakes?

Sure! Here's a simple recipe for Chinese rice cakes:

  • 1 cup glutinous rice flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Mix the glutinous rice flour with water to form a smooth batter, then add brown sugar and mix well. Pour the batter into a greased pan and steam for about an hour, or until the rice cake is set. Once the rice cake is cooled, cut it into slices and stir-fry with your favourite ingredients.

How can you tell if Chinese rice cakes have gone off?

Chinese rice cakes have a relatively long shelf life, but they can go off if they are not stored properly. Signs that your rice cakes have gone off include a sour or off smell, mould growth, or a slimy texture. If you notice any of these signs, it's best to discard the rice cakes.

Are there any key differences between Korean and Chinese rice cakes?

Yes, there are some key differences between Korean and Chinese rice cakes. Korean rice cakes are typically made with short-grain rice and have a chewy, slightly bouncy texture. Chinese rice cakes, on the other hand, are made with glutinous rice flour and have a sticky, chewy texture. The two types of rice cakes are also used in different dishes - Korean rice cakes are often used in soups and stews, while Chinese rice cakes are more commonly stir-fried with other ingredients.