Tikoy or Nian Gao is a popular Chinese dessert made out of steamed glutinous rice. The word “Nian Gao” literally means “sticky cake” and in Chinese words it would sound like “higher year” which implies progress for the coming year that is why this food item is usually given as a gift by Chinese during the Chinese New Year to wish the receiver good fortune and prosperity. Chinese legend suggest this dish was created as an offering to the Kitchen God with the purpose that his mouth will be stuck with the sticky cake and cannot say bad things about the person and his family to the God of all Gods.

In Philippines I remember I usually receive this rice cake almost every year from my Chinese friends. Usually the common way of preparing this back home and it is by pan frying it while coated with beaten eggs, once cooked it will be crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. In other countries I lived I saw different preparations like in Malaysia and Singapore where they fry it sandwiched between pieces of taro or sweet potatoes, In Hong Kong the version is runnier hence it is served like pudding flavoured with red bean paste, while in here some of my Chinese friends consume it as it is. How about you do you know any variations on how this is prepared? Have you even tried this before?

For today we will be presenting 2 recipes because I cannot find tikoy at the Asian supermarket so I tried to make them at home, so glad it was a success on first try, I did it all from scratch without the help of internet, just guess work (I can’t find a recipe of tikoy itself, there are some but it looks like they copied all from one location, it does not even look like the tikoy I’ve tried before) so here you go and this is how I’ve done it.

Ingredients (Tikoy)

4 packed cups glutinous rice
1 3/4 cups sugar (you can adjust to your liking)
1 cup water + extra for soaking

Method (Tikoy)

1. In a bowl add rice and enough water to cover rice. Soak for 24 hours.
2. Drain rice thoroughly, leave it in a sieve for a couple of minutes.
3. Place rice and sugar in a heavy duty blender or food processor then blend. Add 1 cup of water gradually and process until it resembles a pancake batter.
4. Place in a glad wrap lined container the pour over the batter, steam for 1 hour.
5. Remove from steamer then let it cool, once cooled down refrigerate overnight.
6. Remove from the container then cook as decided.

Like I had said in Philippines the common way of consuming is by frying it so here is the steps on how to do that.

Ingredients (Fried Tikoy)

1/2 cake tikoy / nian gao, sliced in 1 cm thick cuts
3 eggs, beaten


1. Place pan in medium low heat then add small amount of oil for pan frying,
2. Dip a slice of tikoy in the beaten egg mixture then pan fry each piece, once golden brown on one side turn it over, when cooked remove from pan then place on a paper towel lined plate.
3. Do the same with the rest of the slices then serve

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17 thoughts on “Tikoy

  1. Wow! I saw another tikoy recipe from somewhere but this one looks simpler than that other one I found. Thanks for sharing this. I will surely try this one of these days.

  2. Initially when I saw the name I couldn’t recall if I had this before, but I saw eggs next to it and I knew I had these before! These are delicious! Never thought of making on my own, but I have so much glutinous rice so I’ll give it a try!

  3. I love nian gao! My mother used to make it from memory with no measurements or timing, not a recipe. So I’ve never been able to replicate it with her guidance of “a little of this, a little of that.” I’m bookmarking your recipe for the new year.

  4. I am not surprised you pulled this off from scratch. You are one of the most talented chefs that I know. And anything called sticky cake is going to be a winner with me. :)

  5. Now this is quite interesting!! I’ve never seen anything like this. I have had glutinous rice snacks, but never anything like this. Thanks for introducing it!

  6. mmmm!! I absolutely love tikoy / nian gao. Never knew it was actually pretty simple to make! Perfect way to use up my glutinous rice flour. haha..I think my favourite is the simple nian gao fried. :)

  7. Pingback: 8 Things You Didn’t Know About Tikoy

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