Monday, February 7, 2011

紅豆年糕 Red Bean Nian Gao

Here's the recipe as I promised, enjoy. I will be sharing several more in the coming days.

Red Bean Nian Gao 紅豆年糕
Recipe from my mom who learned how to make this from my grandma


1 12 ounce package of red beans
1 16 ounce package of glutinous rice flour
1/2 cup sugar, more or less (to taste)

Rinse the red beans twice. During the third "rinse", add water 4 times the amount of red beans.

Cook the beans on high fire. After the water boils, turn fire to low. After 30 minutes of cooking the beans on low fire, check from time to time to see if the beans are soft. When they are soft, add ½ cup or more of sugar until the red bean soup is sweet enough.
It will need to be sweeter than usual because when you add in the glutinous rice flour, the intensity of the sweetness will decrease. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
Wait until the soup has cooled somewhat. It shouldn't be too hot, otherwise the nian gao will start cooking once the glutinous rice flour is added in. Add the glutinous rice flour and stir. If the consistency is too watery, add a half bag more. The batter should be thick enough for you to make ribbons.

I recorded a very short video. You get to listen to my brother practicing playing piano too.
Pour the batter into a metal or steam-able container (stainless steel, ceramic bowl, etc). It can be any size or shape. Depending on your preference, you can directly pour the batter in the pan or line it with parchment paper for easy removal.
Steam for 30 minutes or until a knife stuck in the slab comes out clean.
The inside should be dark in color and it should not have white streaks.

Right after it is finished steaming, it will be very soft and sticky. Yum!

I couldn't resist eating it, look at all the edges that disappeared.

If 紅豆年糕 is left to cool overnight, it will harden. In order to achieve that soft, mochi like texture, microwave a few small slices for 10-15 seconds. Also, after it hardens, you may slice it into 1 cm thick pieces and make a pancake with them. I'll talk about that later.


  1. Oh yes! I want to make red bean nian ago! Since this recipe is handed down from generation, I bet it's really good! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Esther, wishing you a very Happy Chinese New Year. 祝你:新年快乐 心想事成!May you have a fabulous rabbit year. Your red bean nian gao looks perfect for this celebration. Thanks for sharing & have a great day.
    Best wishes,

  3. Your nian gao looks amazing! WOW. I've never tried making nian gao before. And red bean is always delicious haha. Don't you just love recipes that are handed down? They always taste the best! There are some food my grandma makes that I love so much and always wanted to learn. Hope you're enjoying CNY! :D

  4. Mmmm....nian gao is something I've yet to make this chinese new year- yours looks really really yummy, especially with the red beans =) You're really lucky to have recipes passed down from your grandma!

  5. haha no wonder you say its baked niangao! i never tried this before! looks very delish esther!

  6. I love nian gao. You have made it more delicious and healthier by adding red beans. I have to try that.

  7. I didnt know it's that easy to make! Looks so good!

  8. Honey Bee Sweets, It is way too good. My mom noticed me gaining some weight recently because I ate tooo much of this nian gao. :( I usually have a lot of self control, but with nian gao all of my self control disappears. And you're welcome. If you do try it out, I hope you like it. :)

    My Little Space, I hope you have a great Chinese New Year too! It's such a long holiday. No problem. :D Have a great day and take care!

    Sharon, Thanks for your compliment. Handed down recipes sure are nice. The only problem with those is that usually my mom, dad and grandma just makes things by eying the ingredients. So sometimes it's hard to get the correct measurements. :( I hope you can share her recipes one day. Thanks, have a happy CNY too!

    Von, yay! You've returned to blogging. :) I missed reading all your new posts and the pretty pictures. Thank you!

    j3ss kitch3n, yup :D It's as easy as the baked nian gao, maybe you can try it out one day. Thank you.

    MaryMoh, You should also try daikon nian gao and taro nian gao. :) The only difference is that they use rice flour instead of glutinous rice flour.

    pigpigscorner, Sometimes, looks are deceiving. It's unbelievably easy to make and it tastes so much better than the ones from the supermarket with all those preservatives and sugar. Thank you. =)


Thanks for reading my blog. I love hearing about your thoughts and/or your advice. :)


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