With the exception of a great Asian food recipe round-up from Kevin at Closet Kitchen and a couple recipes here and there from some of my favorite food bloggers, it seems like Chinese New Year passed without much fanfare from the food blog community. I was too busy to really celebrate last weekend, which meant I missed out on nian gao, a sweet, sticky rice flour dessert that many eat for good luck in the coming year.
So when I saw this recipe for a sweet sticky rice cake dessert from Naomi Duguid’s cookbook, Burma, I thought it would be a relatively good substitute for the Chinese New Year favorite.
Although this Burmese rice cake is made with whole sticky rice, as opposed to sticky rice flour, both desserts are sweetened with palm (or brown sugar), which gives the cakes a nice, caramel quality and flavor. It also couldn’t be much simpler. Just toss a bunch of ingredients in a rice cooker (or saucepan), cook until the rice is done, press into a pan and sprinkle with coconut. Easy.
While I’m not sure if this sticky rice cake has the same promise of good luck as traditional nian gao, I’ll happily eat it year round just for the taste.
Burmese Sticky Rice Cake
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minuts
* 1-1/2 cups Thai sticky rice
* 1/3 cup raw peanuts
* 2/3 cup palm or brown sugar
* 1/3 cup sesame seeds
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 2-1/4 cups water
* small amount butter or coconut oil
* 1/4 cup dried, unsweetened coconut, lightly toasted in a dry skillet
Quickly rinse the sticky rice under cold water, drain and place in a rice cooker. Add the peanuts, palm sugar, sesame seeds, salt and water. Stir to mix and turn the rice cooker on. Alternatively, if you are using a pan on the stove, combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and keep just below a simmer, until the rice is done, approximately 25-30 minutes.
Once the rice is done cooking, keep covered for an additional 10 minutes.
Lightly butter or grease an 8-inch by 8-inch square pan or a baking dish of similar size (I used an 7-inch by 11-inch baking dish).
Remove the lid from the saucepan or rice cooker and gently fold the ingredients together to evenly distribute the peanuts and sesame seeds. Transfer mixture to the prepared pan and press down lightly and evenly. Scatter the top with the coconut.
Let stand for 30 minutes to firm up. Cut into squares and serve.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.
Adapted from Burma: Rivers of Flavor by Naomi Duguid