Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: About 1 hour
Nian gao originated in southern China. This sticky rice cake evokes a successful career and prosperity down the road. When eating these cakes, you are supposed to exchange wishes for an continually higher standard of living (it's a play on words based on the name of the cake which in Chinese is pronounced "gao," which also means "high," and "nian" (sticky) which also means "year."
There are hundreds of varieties. Here we're giving a simple version made in a pan, though generally they are wrapped in lotus leaves.
- Make a syrup with the water and sugar; let cool.
- Combine the two flours; combine with the syrup and mix in the lard.
- Once the mixture is smooth, flavor with the alcohol, then add the dried fruits.
- Grease a pan that is 18 cm (7") round and 5 cm (2") high and pour in the batter. Steam for about 50 minutes.
- Let cool, unmold and serve.
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