yam nian ko

I have a problem naming this dessert. You see, I have no problems with yam. But I have a problem with the other ingredient namely nian gao. Nian Gao is mandarin for the word Year Cake. Nian is Year and Gao is Cake. In Hokkien dialect, it is known as Tee Kueh (sweet cake) and in the Cantonese dialect, it is known as Nin Kou (Year Cake). Nian Gao is sweet. Very sweet. It is made of rice flour, very sticky and traditionally thought to be a form of sweetener offered to the Kitchen God just before the Chinese New Year so that the Kitchen God will say good things about the household. Anyway, after much thought, I decided that I will call this the Fried Yam and Nian Gao Sandwich.

This sandwich uses no bread. Rather, a slice of fried yam is sandwiched between two slices of Nian Gao. Coat them with batter and fry till the batter is golden brown. Pretty simple. Kids would love it. Adults no less. Unless you have diabetes, of course.

The recipe for Fried Yam and Nian Gao Sandwich is as follows:-



  • 10 slices of nian gao (not more than 1cm thick)
  • 20 slices of yam (same thickness and dimension as nian gao slices)
  • Oil for deep frying


Simple Batter

  • 2 eggs
  • Flour
  • 2 pinches of salt



Prepare batter by cracking eggs into a suitable bowl. Sprinkle salt and break the egg yolks. Next, sprinkle a little bit of flour and continue to whisk the eggs. Repeat this process until you get a batter which is semi-thick. To check whether it is thick enough, lift up the whisk / fork and if the batter flows down just like thick liquid, that’s good enough. This is a very simple batter which is not of the “crunchy” feel. I have yet to make a perfect crunchy batter and this will do for me for now.

Heat up oil and fry the yam slices till golden brown. Set aside yam slices on appropriate kitchen napkin to absorb excess oil.

Next, sandwich a slice of nian gao with 2 slices of fried yam slices. Coat with batter and fry on medium heat till batter turns golden brown.

Remove and place on kitchen napkin to absorb excess oil before serving.


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  1. 1
    June 30th, 2007 at 5:40 am

    This time of the year still can get nian gao meh? I love pan-fried nian gao with egg batter…yum yum. Coincidentally, I bought some chinese nian gao (rice ovalettes) for frying recently. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. 2
    July 1st, 2007 at 11:32 am

    I agree. It is really difficult to explain to ppl about Nian Gao. I will normally tell people that it is Chinese rice ‘toffee’ or rice ‘caramel’ based on the texture and color.

  3. 3
    July 1st, 2007 at 5:07 pm

    Sticky rice cake ? Malaysian palm sugared rice cakes ? hehe..I had this craving months ago, and you’ve to bring this back now ? :PP

  4. 4
    July 2nd, 2007 at 10:00 am

    tigerfish : This is CNY leftover nian gao. Wuahahahahah! But you should be surprised how “tahan” they can be when kept in the fridge. Must be the sugar content ๐Ÿ™‚

    reeseboston : Next time, get a couple and stock it up. Then can show them what it looks and taste like ๐Ÿ˜€

    MeltingWok : Another 7 months to CNY…

  5. 5
    July 2nd, 2007 at 1:22 pm

    No need 7 months..when I go home I’ll definitely hit the fruit stand in SEA Park (2 months time countdown), they’ve fried nian gao, smacked with taro, yams and sweet potatoes all year round hehehe ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. 6
    Rasa Malaysia
    July 4th, 2007 at 2:02 am

    I haven’t had this for a loooong time…I am sad.

  7. 7
    July 5th, 2007 at 3:24 pm

    MeltingWok : I can actually get this quite easily from the morning market but for the sake of this blog, I tried it. He! He! ๐Ÿ˜€

    Rasa Malaysia : Come back again and have it!

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