Kueh Bakul (Nian Gao) with Gula Melaka

Kueh Bakul (Nian Gao) is popular during the Lunar New Year. It’s a sweet and sticky steamed cake made of glutinous rice flour, water and sugar. However, as I love experimenting with gula melaka (palm sugar), I have replaced most of the sugar with gula melaka, which not only gives a unique flavour to this kueh but also a lovely fragrance. I still need practice in lining the container with banana leaves to prevent leakages when steaming the kueh.

There are many ways to eat this kueh. You can deep fry the kueh coated with batter with sweet potato and/or yam slices or just pan fry it with eggs. I prefer them coated with freshly grated coconut just like the Kueh Ko SweeIf you can’t get hold of banana leaves, you could steam the kueh in well oiled ramekins or any other suitable containers for steaming. Do give this version of kueh bakul with gula melaka a try.

I have also tried another version where:

  • I added 200 ml of  coconut milk (and reduced water by 100 ml).
  • I used 500 ml water and 200 ml coconut milk.
  • I omitted the coconut oil.
  • I cooked the glutinous rice mixture over low heat to minimise leakage of the batter through the banana leaves into the containers.
  • As the batter is cooked, I reduced the steaming time from 4 hrs to 2 hrs; and left the kueh in the steamer for several hours to make use of the residual heat.

I personally prefer the second version as the coconut milk gives the kueh a richer flavour. I will be posting a video of the second version soon.

To make this Kueh Bakul, click on the video tutorial and print out the recipe below.

Thank you

Please click Image or YouTube Link below to view Video Tutorial:

YouTube Link: https://youtu.be/5kzUCGV5Gw0

Gula Melaka Kueh Bakul (Nian Gao)
In this recipe, most of the sugar was replaced with gula melaka, which not only gives a unique flavour to this kueh but also a lovely fragrance.
Course: Snack
Cuisine: Peranakan
Author: Shiokman Eddie
  • 3 crushed pandan leaves
  • 380 g gula melaka
  • 120 g sugar
  • 600 ml water
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 600 g glutinous rice flour
  • Banana leaves
  1. Add crushed pandan leaves in a pot of gula melaka, sugar and water
  2. Bring to boil until gula melaka dissolves
  3. Sieve gula melaka syrup into a bowl
  4. Add solidified coconut oil (from the fridge) to gula melaka syrup and mix well until it melts
  5. Set aside gula melaka syrup to cool down
  6. Sieve glutinous rice flour, add salt and mix well
  7. Slowly pour the gula melaka syrup into the bowl of glutinous rice flour and mix well
  8. Sieve the mixture into a bowl
  9. Soften banana leaves by boiling them in hot water
  10. Cut the softened banana leaves and line the inside of each container
  11. Slowly pour the mixture into the containers
  12. Arrange containers in a steamer and steam at low heat for 4 hrs
  13. Top up water when the water level drops in the steamer
  14. Remove the kueh from steamer and set aside to cool down
  15. After the kueh has cooled down, loosen the sides with a spatula
  16. Place a plate over it and turn over to remove the kueh bakul
  17. Cut into small pieces and coat with freshly grated coconut (which has been steamed with salt)

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