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Nian Gao Sweet Potato Sandwich

Now that Chinese New Year is officially over, do you have nian gao (年糕/Chinese New Year Cake/tikoy) lying around at home? I know of people who deliberately keep their nian gao until it becomes mouldy as it symbolises “fa” (huat), i.e. striking it rich. But not for me, as I love to eat nian gao and I hate food wastage, so no way am I letting it reach that inedible state.

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Besides the usual pan-fried nian gao in egg, this year I tried something new by sandwiching nian gao with sweet potato slices before dipping in an egg batter. The result is definitely delicious and more interesting than the common version. You can do a variant with 1 slice of sweet potato and 1 slice of yam (taro), instead of 2 slices of sweet potato. From my photo, you may have noticed that my sweet potato was sliced very thinly, while the nian gao was sliced thickly. This is the way my family likes it and the thickness is entirely up to you – if you like sweeter sandwich, slice the sweet potato thinly; if you like it to be less sweet-tasting, slice the sweet potato more thickly.

Step-by-Step Photos

sweet potato
Remove sweet potato skin and slice thinly.

nian gao sandwich (before cooking)
Sandwich each nian gao slice with two sweet potato slices. Tip: For ease of cutting the nian gao, refrigerate it overnight. The hardened nian gao will be much easier to cut than when it is soft and sticky.

batter
Whisk batter ingredients in a bowl until it reaches a semi-thick and smooth consistency. Dip nian gao sandwich in the egg batter.

pan fry
Heat a pan with oil. Pan-fry in batches (add more oil if needed), until lightly browned on both sides.

drain
Drain excess oil on tempura paper before serving.

20 comments on “Nian Gao Sweet Potato Sandwich”

  1. Simple and yummy snack!

  2. I tried it this morning with yam. Very tasty as it help to balance the sweetness of nian gao as I don’t have sweet tooth. It’s not too oily too.

  3. I came across your recipe as I was looking for different batters to make my nian gao more crispy – was wondering if you’ve ever tried to make it using the purple sweet potato? I tried it once and I think the purple contrasts quite nicely with the yellow batter (http://picksandpecks.blogspot.com/2011/03/homemade-fried-nian-gao.html). I’ve also tried eliminating egg from the batter to make it more crunchy – seems to work well!

  4. Do I need to cook the sweet potato n yam to soften it before frying it with nian gao ?

    • no need to, check out the detailed recipe on page two.

    • I fried the nian gao w thinly sliced sweet potato under low fire. The nian gao was melting n oozing out of the batter but the sweet potato is still crunchy n not well cooked. What should I do ?

    • I have not encountered this problem before but you can try 1) deep fry instead of shallow fry, OR 2) cut sweet potato super thin by using a vegetable peeler/mandoline.

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