Nian Gao Sweet Potato Sandwich

Nian Gao Sweet Potato Sandwich

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Now that Chinese New Year is officially over, do you have nian gao (年糕/Chinese New Year Cake/tikoy) lying around at home? I know of people who deliberately keep their nian gao until it becomes mouldy as it symbolises “fa” (huat), i.e. striking it rich. But not for me, as I love to eat nian gao and I hate food wastage, so no way am I letting it reach that inedible state.

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Besides the usual pan-fried nian gao in egg, this year I tried something new by sandwiching nian gao with sweet potato slices before dipping in an egg batter. The result is definitely delicious and more interesting than the usual version. You can do a variant with 1 slice of sweet potato and 1 slice of yam (taro), instead of 2 slices of sweet potato. From my photo, you may have noticed that my sweet potato was sliced very thinly, while the nian gao was sliced thickly. This is the way my family likes it and the thickness is entirely up to you – if you like sweeter sandwich, slice the sweet potato thinly; if you like it to be less sweet-tasting, slice the sweet potato more thickly.

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Printable Recipe >>
nian gao sandwich (before cooking) Sandwich each nian gao slice with two sweet potato slices.
batter Whisk batter ingredients in a bowl until it reaches a semi-thick and smooth consistency. Dip nian gao sandwich in the egg batter.
pan fry Heat a pan with oil. Pan-fry in batches (add more oil if needed), until lightly browned on both sides.
drain Drain excess oil on tempura paper before serving.

pan fry

Nian Gao Sweet Potato Sandwich Recipe

"Nian Gao" or Chinese New Year Cake is an auspicious festive food. The Chinese word “nian gao” sounds like “higher year” so it signifies greater success in the coming year. The stickiness also represents family togetherness and closeness. Serve this snack with Chinese tea to aid digestion as nian gao is sticky and filling.

Serves: 2-3 (10 sandwiches)

Prep Time: 20 mins

Cook Time: 15 mins

Ingredients

  • 10 slices nian gao (tikoy/年糕) sliced to uniform thickness
  • 20 slices sweet potato (peeled before slicing) sliced to uniform thickness
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil

Batter (A)

  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 2.5 tbsp plain flour sifted
  • 1 tsp cornflour (or baking soda) sifted
  • 1/2 tbsp ice water
  • small pinch of salt

Directions

  1. Sandwich each nian gao slice with two sweet potato slices (or 1 sweet potato slice and 1 yam slice).
  2. In a bowl, whisk (A) until the batter is of a semi-thick and smooth consistency.
  3. Heat a pan with oil. Dip nian gao "sandwich" in egg batter and pan-fry in batches (add more oil if needed), until lightly browned on both sides. Drain excess oil on tempura paper. Serve with Chinese tea.

Noob Cook Tip:

  1. For ease of cutting the nian gao, refrigerate it overnight. The hardened nian gao will be much easier to cut than when it is soft and sticky.
  2. Recipe variation: You can sandwich the nian gao with a slice of sweet potato and yam (taro) instead of two slices of sweet potato.