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Steamed Nian Gao with Coconut 椰丝蒸年糕

by Angie Liew
Steamed Nian Gao

This is another interesting way to use Nian Gao: Steamed Nian Gao with Coconut. Rolled in white and palm sugar coconut, these onde-onde like coconut balls are chewy and sweet, filled with coconut aroma. A perfect snack for the lunar new year or anytime around the year.

Watch How To Make Steamed Nian Gao with Shredded Coconut 椰丝蒸年糕 – Recipe Video

Recipe Video for Steamed Chinese Sticky Rice Cake (Nian Gao) with Palm Sugar Coconut
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Steamed Nian Gao

Steamed Nian Gao with Coconut: A Great and Sweet Way To Use Nian Gao

Nian Gao or Chinese New year Cake has always been and still is a favourite among Chinese during the Chinese New Year. Every family will buy or make these sweet nian gao to celebrate the new year as this auspicious sticky rice cake symbolises prosperity and good luck for the year ahead. So what do we do with the extra leftover of the nian gao after the new year?

Steamed Nian Gao

Steamed Sticky Rice Cake With Shredded Coconut, Perfect as A Sweet Dessert

One of the simplest, healthiest and classic way is to steam and then roll the soft nian gao in aromatic grated coconut. Steamed Sticky Rice Cake is served as a sweet dessert or snack. In this recipe, I use freshly grated white coconut and grated coconut that’s been infused with palm sugar. You can choose to use just freshly grated white coconut too and it will still be good.

Steamed Nian Gao

Steamed Nian Gao

Onde-Onde like Nian Gao Coconut Balls

When steamed, nian gao becomes soft and sticky so it is easily rolled and coated in the grated coconut mixture. Adding a pinch of salt into the coconut mixture helps to enhance the flavour of the sweet nian gao. These bite-sized coconut balls resemble Onde-Onde, a very popular Nyonya snack. They may not taste like One-Onde but they certainly taste AWESOME!

So Enjoy!

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Steamed Nian Gao with Coconut (Nian Gao Onde Onde) 椰丝蒸年糕

Recipe by Huang Kitchen, Angie Liew
Steamed nian gao rolled in white and palm sugar coconut. These onde-onde like coconut balls are chewy and sweet, filled with coconut aroma. Truly addictive!
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time25 minutes

Tap or Hover to Adjust Servings

Servings: 6 people


Coconut Topping:

  • 2 cups white coconut, grated
  • 1 cup palm sugar coconut, grated
  • ¼ tsp salt

Steamed Nian Gao:

  • 250 grams nian gao, cut into thin pieces
  • 1 piece banana leaf


    • Mix white and palm sugar coconut.
      First, mix together grated white coconut, palm sugar flavoured grated coconut and salt in a shallow bowl. Set aside for later use.
      See how to make Palm Sugar Coconut Filling:
    • Cut nian gao into thin slices.
      Then, cut hardened nian gao into thin slices.
    • Place sliced nian gao on oiled banana leaf.
      Place the nian gao slices on a large, heat-proof plate lined with oiled banana leaf.
    • Place sliced nian gao into steamer.
      Prepare steamer by bringing a wok of water to a boil. Place the plate of sliced nian gao into the steamer.
    • Steam nian gao
      Cover with lid and steam on medium heat for 10 minutes.
    • Steam nian gao
      When done, remove the soft and melted nian gao from steamer.
    • Roll nian gao into balls.
      Using 2 teaspoons, scape a piece of the sticky nian gao onto one of the spoons.
    • Roll to cover nian gao with coconut.
      Then, roll it in the aromatic coconut mixture to form into a ball. Toss well to evenly coat the nian gao with the grated coconut.
    • Place on serving plate and repeat the same for the rest of the sticky nian gao.
    • Make pandan box.
      For better presentation, make a pandan leaf casing for the steamed nian gao.
    • Steamed Nian Gao
      Place the coconut coated nian gao into the prepared casing and serve immediately. Best eaten warm with hot chinese tea. As always, ENJOY!


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Recipe Video


  • See Instructions on how to make Palm Sugar Shredded Coconut: https://www.huangkitchen.com/pandan-coconut-huat-kueh
  • See Instructions on how to make Homemade Nian Gao (Sticky Rice Cake):  https://www.huangkitchen.com/caramel-nian-gao/
  • If nian gao is still soft, refrigerate it overnight before cutting as hardened nian gao is easier to slice into pieces.
  • Best to use freshly grated coconut.  However, if not available, mix desiccated coconut and salt together and steam for 30 minutes. You can also choose to coat the nian gao with only white grated coconut if cooking grated coconut with palm sugar is too much trouble.
  • Lining the steaming plate with banana leaf imparts a nice fragrance to the nian gao. Oiling the banana leaf helps to prevent the steamed soft nian gao to stick to the leaf.
  • Store the steamed nian gao in a container and consume within 2 days at most.


Calories: 181kcal · Carbohydrates: 27g · Protein: 1g · Fat: 9g · Saturated Fat: 8g · Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g · Monounsaturated Fat: 1g · Sodium: 154mg · Potassium: 95mg · Fiber: 2g · Sugar: 19g · Vitamin C: 1mg · Calcium: 4mg · Iron: 1mg
Course: Desserts, Snacks
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese, Malaysian
Diet: Halal
Keyword: chinese new year, dessert, snack, steamed

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