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Bring good luck to the New Year with Homemade Tikoy! This sticky rice cake is easy to make and so soft and chewy!


I meant to publish this tikoy recipe before the Chinese New Year, but as you can see from the homepage’s latest section, I haven’t posted anything in quite a while. I’ve been swimming in a sea of food photos and cooking videos for the longest. It became a bit overwhelming; I had to step back a little and give myself some room to breathe.

This blog is important to me, but I needed a short break to rest and refresh. So, after three months of zero new posts, I’m back, energized, and ready to bring you more delicious meal ideas.

What is Tikoy

Tikoy or Nián gāo is a popular Chinese New Year’s cake made of glutinous rice flour, water, and sugar. The mixture is steamed until set and allowed to dry and harden for longer storage.

It is then cut thinly, coated in egg, and fried until golden brown and slightly crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. The pan-fried slices are served for breakfast or as a midday snack with a beverage of choice.

New Year Tradition

In Chinese, nián gāo sounds like “higher year,” which is believed to promise a better year ahead. The Filipino word Tikoy is derived from the Fujian/Hokkien “ti-ke,” which means sweet cake.

Considered one of China’s oldest delicacies, Tikoy’s origin traces back to several stories. One legend involves a “Kitchen God” who reports to the Jade Emperor on the behavior of families. People would offer the sticky rice to the “Kitchen God,” making it difficult for him to open his mouth and say anything negative about the family.

While it may be eaten year-round, the rice cake is especially popular during the Chinese New Year. Its sticky consistency is believed to bring a strong bond within the family and other relationships and make good luck “stick”.

Due to a heavy Chinese cultural influence in the Philippines, we have also adopted a lot of these beliefs and traditions. Celebrating the Chinese New Year is one of them. It’s customary to find tikoy sold in most major supermarkets and restaurants leading up to the holiday.

Helpful Tips

  • Generously grease the sides and bottom of the pan so that the rice cake won’t stick. Let it completely cool before removing as it would be difficult to release from the pan when warm.
  • Cover the steamer lid with a kitchen towel to avoid water drips on the rice cake.
  • Chill the tikoy in the refrigerator (preferably overnight) until it hardens for easy slicing. If you cannot wait and want to eat your tikoy right away, coat the knife with oil.

How to store

Wrap the tikoy tightly with a plastic film and place it in a resealable bag or airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to one week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

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