Tuesday 25 January 2011


Chinese New Year is like Christmas to the Chinese. It is a big celebration and, like any other, centers on food and family. Certain kinds of food are eaten during the season that lasts for 15 days. They all have symbolisms and are supposed to bring good tidings to those who eat them. 

The Chinese New Year pudding called nian gao, or tikoy as we call it in the Philippines, is iconic of the festivities. Sweet and sticky foods are supposed to bring family unity. The round shape symbolizes unending prosperity. It is symbolically offered to the Kitchen God so that he will present a favourable report to the Emperor of all Gods. 

Although it can be eaten as is, I prefer it dipped in egg and pan fried. I like also dipping it in sugar though it actually is sweet enough. Modern versions have flavours like pandan. Change the flavour of the liquid (water) to vary the flavour.

Tikoy is usually given away as a present during Chinese New Year. This home made version has four inexpensive ingredients and takes less than an hour to make. 


2 1/2c. glutinous rice flour
1 c. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 3/4 c. water


Prepare and pre-heat a steamer.

Whisk all the ingredients together until free from lumps. 

Strain into a lined and generously greased 8" diameter round tin and steam on medium heat for 35-45 minutes. Any container will do but I chose a flat one so that it cooks faster.

It is ready when it is all bubbly on the surface and a toothpick inserted on the center comes out clean. 

It will subside as it cools. Leave to cool in the pan, then refrigerate. 

This can be eaten as is or sliced, dipped in beaten eggs with a pinch of salt and pan fried.

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  1. Yes, we like this very much. My children love it fried with eggs. We never wait till Chinese New Year to make :D Thanks very much for sharing yours. MaryMoh at http://www.keeplearningkeepsmiling.com

  2. My favorite chinese new year treat!! You did a great job on those. I can imagine how great they must taste! Yum.

  3. Nice pudding :) It should taste great.. sadly I haven't tried it at least yet

  4. This sounds really good, I've never had it before, I really like reading about Chinese New Year! Hope you have a great week.

  5. Tikoy is our favorite and I always had to go to the store to buy it
    Thank you for the recipe


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