Recipe: Coconut Sugar Nian Gao

New year, new recipes from Margarita! Here’s another recipe from her to try at home, a sweet snack sure to satisfy those cravings.

Coconut Sugar Nian Gao

By Margarita Lee

Margarita Lee


  • 600g Glutinous rice flour
  • 650ml Water
  • 500g Coconut sugar or Thai palm sugar 
  • 2 pcs Pandan leaves (tied into knots)
  • 3 Long sheets of banana leaves 
  • 4 9cm diameter tin moulds 


Photo by Margarita Lee


  1. Soften the banana leaves in a pot of boiling water, then clean and wipe them dry. Ensuring that the smoother surface faces upwards, line the moulds with the leaves in a star formation. Repeat this 3 times to avoid leakage. Cut a round piece to line as the base.
  2. Dissolve coconut sugar with water, add in pandan leaves, and bring to a boil. Remove leaves before setting aside to cool.
  3. Mix the glutinous rice flour with the prepared sugar syrup gradually until well combined. Allow mixture to sit for 15 minutes. 
  4. Sieve the mixture and pour carefully into the moulds. Cover the moulds with aluminium foil. 
  5. Steam for 5 hours. Add hot water into the steamer midway to avoid having the water dry up throughout the cooking process. 
  6. Allow the steamed glutinous rice cake (Nian Gao) to sit for 2-3 days before consuming.



  • The Nian Gao will still appear soft. Skewer it to test its readiness. If the skewer comes out clean, it is ready .
  • Cool the Nian Gao in the mould for a minimum of 24 hours.
  • Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week or in the fridge for up to 6 months.


Check out more of Margarita’s recipes on her FB @ Umummy Food


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