Tag Archives: Lunar New Year

Sweet Sticky Rice Balls (For Lunar New Year) 糖不甩

Chinese New Year is just around the corner ! And this year is the Year of the Pig ! The Chinese Zodiac is a repeating cycle of 12 years. My daughter was born in the Year of the Pig…..which means this little piggy is going to be 12 ! What ?! Where did the time go ?

My fondest memory of Chinese New Year is definitely the food ! Rice cake, turnip cake, dumplings…..and many more ! I used to eat these sticky rice balls every year when I visited my aunt. The Chinese name of this dessert is 糖不甩 (pronounced as “tong but lut”), which literally means “sugar doesn’t come off”. What an interesting but appropriate name ! These balls are soft, chewy, with some sweet and crunchy toppings……just bites of yumminess ! Most of the ingredients are easily accessible in Asian supermarkets. The Chinese brown sugar for the syrup usually comes in a pack of 5-6 sticks. If you cannot find it, regular brown sugar would work too but use a little less, I tried and found it sweeter than the Chinese kind. 

I think it’s really important to pass on traditions to our kids, and doing so with food is the perfect way ! There are so many stories we can tell behind food that we grew up with.  And I am so glad my kids enjoy these traditional treats as much as I do ! Wishing everyone a prosperous Year of the Pig !


Makes about 10-12 balls

For the dough

  • 150 g glutinous rice flour
  • 150 mL warm water

For the syrup

  • 85 g (one stick) Chinese brown sugar (片糖)
  • 2 slices fresh ginger
  • 250 mL water

For the toppings

  • 50 g unsalted peanuts
  • 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  1. Toast peanuts and sesame seeds in a 350ºF oven for about 5 minutes, let cool, then crush into small pieces
  2. Mix in coconut and sugar, set aside
  3. Prepare syrup by boiling together 250 mL of water, ginger and brown sugar, reduce heat and let simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes, set aside
  4. Mix glutinous flour with 150 mL of warm water, gently knead until dough is formed (dough should be soft but not sticky to hands, adjust amount of flour and water if needed)
  5. Roll into small one-inch balls
  6. In another pot, boil about 2 cups of water, add rice balls, reduce heat to medium and cook until they float to the top, about 5-7 minutes
  7. Using a slotted ladle, transfer them into the syrup, cook for another 8-10 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking 
  8. Remove from syrup, sprinkles with toppings and serve immediately (drizzle with more syrup if desired)
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Baked Coconut Sticky Rice Cake for Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year was my favourite celebration when I was a kid in Hong Kong. I could visit and play with my cousins, get red envelopes and of course, eat lots and lots of good food ! My mom used to make all kinds of dishes and rice cakes, sweet and savoury. To be honest, I have never made them, because hers are always the best! But this year I thought…..hey, I am a baker, I should at least bake something to celebrate. Then, I remembered a recipe from my mom’s friend….Baked Coconut Sticky Rice Cake! I have modified her recipe to make it less greasy and added some shredded coconut on top. The glutinous rice flour and coconut milk should be available in any Asian market. Use the brands in the picture if you can find them, as according to the expert, aka my mom, they are better. (I am not sponsored by them, just personal preference) The cake will rise inside the oven, but then concave in a little when cooled and that’s ok. It doesn’t change the taste nor the texture of the cake. I used a round cake pan because but in Chinese, the word “round” has a meaning of being together. You can use a square pan, which probably will be easier to cut.

Wishing everyone good health and a prosperous year !

Baked Coconut Sticky Rice Cake

Makes one 8 inch round cake

  • 400 g glutinous rice flour, sifted (1 package)
  • 200 g granulated sugar
  • 5 eggs (lightly beaten)
  • 400 mL canned coconut milk (1 can)
  • 60 mL coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 45 g unsweetened shredded coconut Baked Coconut Sticky Rice Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Line bottom of baking pan with parchment paper and lightly grease bottom and sides
  3. In a large bowl, mix together flour and sugar
  4. Stir in eggs, coconut milk, oil and vanilla until smooth using a hand whisk
  5. Strain batter through a mesh and pour into baking pan
  6. Sprinkle shredded coconut on top
  7. Bake for about 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 325ºF and bake for another 30 minutes (toothpick should come out clean when inserted into middle)
  8. Turn heat off, leave cake in oven with door ajar for about 20 minutes
  9. Take it out, cool slightly and serve warm
  10. You can store the cake in the fridge for up to 1 week. Reheat in oven before serving. Baked Coconut Sticky Rice Cake