How to make Chinese New Year Cake – Lin Gao
I thought I would continue along the theme of Chinese New Year and post a few recipes for you over the coming couple of weeks.
If you are not familiar with certain Chinese foods, you may look at one of the photos (yes, I know I still have to learn a lot on how to take super photos!!) and think ‘what a strange combination’ or ‘I can’t imagine why anyone would want to eat that let alone try to make it’…..or even ‘it looks too difficult to make’. My answer to those thoughts would be ‘Go try them, you may be pleasantly surprised!’
I want to be able to inspire you, make you question your ‘comfort zone’ and introduce new textures, flavours, smells and recipes into your life. So please read on, and enjoy the ride!
Chinese New Year cake, or Lin Gao (pronounced ‘leen go’) is eaten at Chinese New Year of course! It has always been a favourite with my family when growing up as a child, quick and easy to make, and super tasty. If you haven’t tried it before, I think the texture will be something new to you. It’s a cake that is made a few days leading up to Chinese New Year, and then it can be stored in the fridge and eaten as and when you get the desire. It is usually cut into slices about 1cm thick, coated in beaten egg and then lightly fried until soft. Once cooked in egg, this is where you may get an unusual texture sensation. First you get a crispy, crunchy texture from the egg coating the cake, then you get a sweet chewy, almost toffee texture once you start chewing. It’s a bit like eating chewing gum, only the cake breaks down in your mouth whereas chewing gum does not.
Admittedly, it is not for anyone on a diet! There is a lot of sugar, and the use of glutinous rice flour also contributes to the calories, but as a celebration cake to be eaten once a year, I think indulgence is ok!
So here’s the recipe. I would be interested on your thoughts, if you’ve eaten it before, made it, what textures and flavours came to you.
Equipment you will need
Dish /bowl/cake tin (10-11 cm diameter)
Greaseproof / wax paper to line the tin
200g / 1 .5 cups Glutinous rice flour sieved
50g / 0.5 cup Rice flour sieved
2 bars brown sugar (about 118g)
210ml / 0.88 cup hot water
1 egg beaten
1. Start your steamer to get it to a fast boil.
2. Line your dish / tin with greaseproof paper and lightly brush a drop of oil on the top to prevent the cake from sticking to the paper.
3. Put the brown sugar bars in a pan with the hot water and heat until all the sugar has dissolved. Leave until cool. I usually submerge the pan half deep in cold water to speed up the cooling process.
4. Add the flours into a mixing bowl and with a wooden spoon start adding the cooled sugar water and keep stirring until well combined. If the mixture gets too stiff to mix, add a drop of hot water to loosen it.
6. Steam for 50 minutes on high. Make sure the steamer does not run out of water.
7. Leave to cool. Then turn out and remove the greaseproof paper. Wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge until needed.
8. Slice into pieces about 1cm thick and coat in the beaten egg.
9. Put a drop of oil in a frying pan and place the cake slices in the pan. Turn when brown on one side. Once both sides are brown and feel soft, transfer to a plate, have a cup of Jasmine tea and enjoy!