Friday, February 27, 2009

Deep fried Nian Gao

Nian gao [年糕] is kind of a caramel sticky cakey thing that really has few equivalent in Western culture. It is intensely sweet, very sticky and comes wrapped in lotus leaves. The Chinese buy it at Chinese New Year, because it's name has auspicious connotations [something like the coming year will be a successful one], but we usually don't eat it, and just let it get mouldy [which has auspicious connotations as well, believe it or not] before throwing it out.

And if we do eat it, there's only one way to do so: sandwiched between slices of yam and sweet potato, battered and deep fried. As my mom is strongly against deep-frying at home, we only get to eat it when my aunts are nice enough to bring some over for us. When the yams and potatos are sliced thin enough, when the nian gao is still warm enough to be melted, gooey and delicious, this is a treat to die for.
This year, however, I managed to convince my mom to let me try and deep fry some of our own. It's my first-ever attempt at deep frying anything, and I have to say its really fun! Especially when there's someone to do the clean up after =P
I used the batter recipe from Cheap Eat, with some modification. My nian gao was 400g, I added 200g for my yam and sweet potato, so I made 6 batches of batter. I halved the number of eggs, because I thought 6 eggs in a batter is ridiculous, and still ended up with an excess of batter. Not too much, around 1 batch, I would say.
The verdict? The fried nian gaos deflated and went soft as soon as it cooled, all hints of crispiness gone with the heat. In all fairness, every other nian gao I've ever had behaved in the same way, unless they are pen-fried again before serving, so I guess the recipe is OK =)
And then, there were these fellas:

With the leftover batter, I dipped and deep fried some chocolate mint squares! I was just curious about what the result would be like =P They were nice, melty gooey chocolate in a batter casing. But, again, disappointingly, they didn't stay crisp =)


anjelikuh said...

Fried nian gaos are my favorite!! nomnomnom...

Anonymous said...

FYI, the Nian Gao is not steamed with lotus leaves but with banana leaves instead..cheers!