If you can't find the Sweet Olive Sugar you may garnish the nian gao with some brown sugar or leave it plain.
- Mix the rice flour, sugar and water together in a medium bowl until smooth. You will have a thin batter. Stir in the food coloring, if using.
- Grease a 9” heatproof pie plate with canola or other vegetable oil. Pour the rice flour batter into the pie plate.
- Bring water in a steamer to a boil. Place the pie plate into the steamer and steam for about 20 minutes, or until the batter appears translucent and the tip of a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Remove from steamer and while still hot, sprinkle sweet olive sugar over the top. You may serve immediately or cool and cover for later use.
- Nian gao must be eaten hot so its soft and sticky. There are three ways to re-heat the nian gao: Cut the cake as you would a pie, and re-steam however many pieces you wish until they are soft and sticky, about 5 to 8 minutes depending upon how many slices you are reheating. You may also heat in a microwave oven. Cover the nian gao and heat about 1 minute on high, or until soft. The nian gao may also be pan-fried in a lightly oiled non-stick skillet over medium heat. Lightly brown both sides for a crispy surface. Some people like to dip the slices in a beaten egg first, but I prefer to just fry the nian gao plain.
*Sometimes called Sweet Rice flour.
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