A cook traveling through personal food memories in search of stories and recipes, all the while at the beat of the kitchen radio.

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"Safe and Sound" & Grandma’s Secret New Years Rice Cakes

A few years ago, I was hashing some ideas with my mother about recipes for this blog, particularly in the Chinese New Year vein. There’s a variety of rice cakes to be had, fish dishes, a few good luck noodles, and a seemingly endless assortment of small sweets. But, there was one dish I had never heard of, or had of, that my mother sprung on me during this discussion: sweet seaweed and sesame flecked rice cakes, an apparent speciality of my maternal grandmother but one that I had never had a chance to have. My mother waxed fondly of the dish, a taste from decades past; why my grandmother stopped making it is a mystery to both of us, but it tugged tightly on my heart as my thoughts wandered toward memories of my grandmother. I knew I had to at least try making this sweet once.

In the spirit of Chinese New Year and our constant attempts to begin another year with a fresh, spirited, adventurous and improved step, I present my spin on my grandmother’s spin on a New Years tradition: rice cakes, for good luck.

- nian gao
- water
- black sugar
- ao nori seaweed flakes
- roasted black sesame

If you can, use a fresh package of nian gao that hasn’t been frozen. Pour into a serving bowl and add about a teaspoon of water. Heat a steamer on medium-low, and when ready steam the nian gao for about 10 minutes.

In a separate bowl, create the topping: crush black sugar, lightly toast the roasted black sesame. Mix together, and combine with the ao nori seaweed flakes. 

Dust the topping over just cooked nian gao and serve immediately!

Recommended cocina disco:
“Safe and Sound”, Capital Cities


Monday, February 11th 2013