Friday, February 12, 2010

Tee Kueh / Nian Gao

Chinese new year is only a few days away. I am thinking of doing Tee Kueh, which also called Nian Gao, for the landlord as new year gift. When I was child, my grandmother used to make Tee Kueh every chinese new year. After she passed away, I don't have a chance to eat her Tee Kueh anymore. In fact, I don't really like Tee Kueh that much. However, I made my first Tee Kueh last year after I had got Tee Kueh's receipe from my sister in law's sister, who taught me many cooking methods. Surprisingly,  I began to like Tee Kueh.

The secret of her recipe is using banana essence to cover the flavor of  glutionus rice flour. When I omit banana essence, the Tee Kueh has strong flavor of the glutionous rice flour which I don't really like it. So I continue adding banana essence in my Tee Kueh. After searching online recipes, I figured out why banana essence is used. During the old times, Ti Kueh was placed on banana leave and steamed. That why, the flavor of banana leave cover the flavor of glutinous rice flour. Probably, people want to simulate the banana leave flavor by adding banana essence. This is my guest only, probably not.  I have made Tee Kueh a few times this year to give to the relatives and hubby's friends. I have tried the coconut flavor Tee Kueh too.

We can add 500ml or 600ml water to glutinous rice flour depend on how soft we want the Tee Kueh. I add 600ml water this year and after a few days in enclosed bag, the Tee Kueh still remain soft. But some may not like soft especially for frying. In that case, add 500ml water and make one inches height. The higher the Tee Kueh, the nicer the appearance. So It looks good to give away.

It maybe good not to cover aluminum tin with aluminum foil during the steaming as  there is very thin layer of outer white ring on the surface of Tee Kueh. Even though steam it longer, the white ring still remain. When use  the corningware or glassware bowl, this ring does not appear.  Without aluminum foil, Tee Kueh surface might be uneven or some white spots due to the water drops. But, those can be covered up by sprinkling sesame seeds on the surface.

When I steamed Tee Kueh, I stacked the tins in the steamer and placed wooden chopsticks in between tins to balance. so far, I stack up to maximum 4 tins in my steamer. I steamed longer, one and half hour.  I used  either the 7 x 1 1/2 inches (7 inches diameter and 1 1/2 inches height) round aluminum tin or  6 x 1 1/2 inches round aluminum tin or  6 x 2 inches corningware or 5 1/2 x 3 inches glassware.

The below recipe makes two 7 x 1 1/2 inches round aluminum tins or three 6 x 1 1/2 inches round aluminum tins. I made two Tee Kuehs, 5 1/2  inches in diameter and 1 inch height.

Ingredients (Brown Tee Kueh):
  • 454g (1 lb) Glutinous rice flour
  • 340 - 350g Dark Brown Cane Sugar
  • 500 ml - 600ml  Water (medium to soft texture)
  • 1/2 tsp Salt, Optional
  • 1/2 tsp Banana Essence/ Banana Flavor
  • 1 Tbsp Oil
  • 2g Sesame seeds
Ingredients (White Tee Kueh):
  • 454g Glutinous rice flour
  • 200g Sugar
  • 400 ml - 500ml  Water (medium to soft texture)
  • 100g Coconut milk
  • 10g thinly sliced coconut
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Banana Essence/ Banana Flavor
  • 1 Tbsp Oil
  • 2g Sesame seeds
  1. Boil the water and cane sugar until water color darken and leave to cool.
  2. When the cane sugar mixture becomes cool, generously grease the tin and  heat the steamer.
  3. Mix glutinous rice flour and salt.
  4. Add the banana essence and oil into cool cane sugar mixture. Add the cane sugar mixture into glutinous rice flour .{for white one, add the coconut milk.}
  5. Mix the batter by hand whisk until get the right texture. (slow flowing)
  6. Pour the batter into the greased tin around one inches height and cover tin with aluminum foil and place in the steamer. {for white, sprinkle the thinly sliced coconut on the batter}If don't have aluminum foil, just place tin directly in the steamer.
  7. Steam for one hour with high heat. We can also check whether tee kueh is cooked or not by inserting the knife inside the middle of it.
  8. When tee kueh is cooked, remove it from the streamer. Then remove the aluminum foil and remove excess oil/water if there are. Then add in sesame seeds while tee kueh is hot.
  9. Leave it cool outside and take out the tee kueh from the tin after 8 hours or more for easy removal.

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