Chinese New Year Cake (Nian Gao) Vegan

January 13, 2023

Welcome in the 2023's New Lunar Year with this sweet rice cake that  symbolizes progress, advancement, and growth. Thanks to Chef Berlinda for this beautiful recipe. Enjoy the soft chewy rice cake fresh or slices can also be pan fried for a smoky caramelized coating.


*Note this recipe uses 'brown sugar slabs" a type of rock sugar which is a traditional Chinese sweetener that comes in a variety of colors ranging from white to dark yellow. It has an earthy molasses-like flavour. You'll find it in any Asian Grocer.


230g glutinous rice flour - sifted

30g wheat starch - sifted

40g rice flour - sifted

200g brown sugar slabs

210g water

1/2 tsp alkaline water

120g coconut milk

30g Nuttelex (melted)

vegetable oil spray (to grease the tray)

1 Chinese red date for garnish


1Melt brown sugar & water in a pot on low heat.

2Sieve sugar mixture into a bowl and let it cool to room temperature.

3Stir in alkaline water & coconut milk into sugar mixture.

4Combine glutinous rice flour, wheat starch & rice flour in a bowl & form a well

5Gradually add & mix the sugar coconut mixture into the flour mixture in 4 portions till well combined

6Whisk in Nuttelex until well combined & let the batter mixture rest for about 20 minutes.

7Stir the mixture with a spatula & sift batter into a well greased tray. Gently tap the tray on the counter top several times to get rid of tiny air bubbles.

8Cover tray with aluminum foil or cling wrap & steam batter on Medium heat for 1 to 1.5 hours.

9Garnish the cake by placing a red date in the centre.