This Gula Melaka Tikoy (Nian Gao) is fondly known as Or Kim Tikoy or Black Gold Tikoy. The famous Malaysian palm sugar makes it very fragrant and delicious.
Up until last I have resisted making Tikoy (Nian Gao) because of the long steaming time. I finally decided that I should at least give it a try and so I made my first batch of Nian Gao using Thai coconut palm sugar. It turned out really well and I was hooked.
Gula Melaka Tikoy
I have always thought of using the ever famous and popular Gula Melaka (Malaysian coconut palm sugar) if and when I make Tikoy. Gula Melaka is a very fragrant sugar made from the sap of flower buds from the coconut palm. It is boiled and cooked to a darker color than most other coconut palm sugar. Many desserts are made using this sugar and one of them is this Bubur Cha Cha.
Nian Gao purists may insist that regular white sugar be used to make this sticky cake but I can tell you that using Gula Melaka is much better in terms of flavor and fragrance. The color is of course much darker because the sugar is dark to begin with. After so many hours of steaming, it will turn very dark, almost black reminiscent of a similar sweet cake, dodol. One day, I will make this dodol.
Or Kim Tikoy/Black Gold New Year Cake
Since the color of this Nian Gao is so dark, our family has nicknamed it Or Kim Tikoy or Black Gold New Year Cake. 🙂 If you translate it literally from my Hokkien mother tongue, it is actually Black Gold Sweet Cake. The word “or” is black and “kim” is gold, while “ti” is sweet and “koy” is cake. Don’t you think it is a fitting name for Chinese New Year? Who knows? Maybe it will catch on. 😉 We can all do with more of all things gold for Chinese New Year.
Taste and Flavor
This Tikoy is very fragrant and similar in texture and flavor to dodol when it is still soft. Those of you who like the tropical flavors of dodol and gula melaka will relish this. Why not try something new and different?
Similar Tools Used in Making This Gula Melaka Tikoy
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- 4 mugs (about 4 inches diameter and 3.5 inches tall)
- Kitchen twine
- Slow cooker
- 4-6 large pieces banana leaves
- 1½ cups water (360ml)
- 2 pandan leaves (shredded and knotted)
- 375 grams gula melaka
- 3 cups glutinous rice flour (375g)
- Scrub banana leaves with a washcloth under running water. Place banana leaves in a pot submerged in water and bring it a boil on the stove. Turn off stove and allow banana leaves to soften in boiling water for 10 minutes.
- Remove banana leaves from hot water and wipe them dry. Cut the banana leaves into 2½ inch wide strips.
- Line each mug with 6 to 8 banana leaf strips. Make sure the strips overlap each other. Turn the strips over the edge of the mugs. Place a rubberband over the strips around each mug to hold them down. Then tie kitchen twine over the leaves around the mugs. Remove the rubber band. Trim the twine and banana leaves so that they are neat.
- Cut four round pieces of banana leaves the size of the base of the mugs. Place one piece in each mug. Set aside.
- Pour water in a small saucepan. Turn on the stove to medium. Drop in pandan leaves and gula melaka. Cover saucepan and bring water to a boil. Remove the lid and stir to dissolve the gula melaka. Continue boiling for 3 minutes. Turn off stove and allow syrup to cool.
- Sift glutinous rice flour into a large bowl. Remove pandan leaves from gula melaka syrup and pour into the glutinous rice flour. Stir to form a smooth batter.
- Place the prepared mugs on a rack suitable for your slow cooker. Divide the batter into the 3 prepared mugs.
- Transfer the rack to your slow cooker insert filled with 1 to 2 inches of hot water. Place a clean kitchen towel over the top and place the lid on top of the kitchen towel.
- Set the slow cooker to cook on high for 8 hours. Check and top up water in the slow cooker insert every two hours.
- The tikoy should turn a darker color when done. Remove from slow cooker after finished steaming. Allow the very soft and gooey tikoy to remain in the mugs at room temperature for 24 hours.
- The tikoy should be firmer and the color darker after 24 hours. Remove them from the mugs. Trim the banana leaves and allow them to become firmer for 3 to 4 more days at room temperature before serving.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.