Kueh Bakul (Nian Gao) with Coconut Milk

Kueh Bakul or 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. In my search for nian gao recipes, I have found that in the Philippines, there is a sticky rice cake called Kalamay Hati. It is cooked over the stove using glutinous rice, muscovado or brown sugar, coconut cream, coconut milk and water until the mixture thickens. It is then poured onto a serving tray lined with banana leaves. No steaming is required for the Kalamay Hati.

I decided to modify the Nian Gao recipe to include coconut milk and cooking the batter over the stove. I wanted to see whether having cooked batter will minimise leakage through the banana leaves. This last pointer is important as I find it difficult to line the pan with banana leaves well.

As I didn’t want my nian gao to be too rich, I just added only 200 ml of coconut milk. I also increased the liquid content by 100 ml to take into account evaporation from cooking over the stove.

I personally prefer this second version as the coconut milk gives the kueh a richer flavour. The cooked batter did minimise the leakage.

My original Kueh Bakul (Nian Gao) recipe with gula melaka can be found here:

Click on the Youtube link below to see how I make my Version 2 of Nian Gao (Kueh Bakul).

Thank you.

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

YouTube Link:

Kueh Bakul (Nian Gao) with Coconut Milk
Course: Snack
Author: Shiokman Eddie
  • Banana leaves
  • 3 crushed pandan leaves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 380 g gula melaka
  • 120 g sugar
  • 500 ml water
  • 200 ml coconut milk
  • 600 g glutinous rice flour
  1. Soften banana leaves by boiling them in hot water for about 10 minutes
  2. Cut the softened banana leaves to size and line the inside of container
  3. Using a suitable sized can, press banana leaves firmly inside the container
  1. Add 380g gula melaka in a pot of 500 ml water
  2. Add 1/2 tsp salt and 120g sugar
  3. Put 3 crushed pandan leaves in the pot and bring to boil until gula melaka dissolves
  4. Add 200 ml coconut milk and mix well
  5. Sieve gula melaka mixture into a bowl and set aside to cool down
  6. Sieve 600g glutinous rice flour
  7. Slowly add the glutinous rice flour to the cooled down gula melaka mixture a little at a time and mix well
  8. Sieve mixture into a bowl
  9. Cook batter over low heat till batter thickens
  10. Slowly pour the thickened batter into the coconut leaves lined containers
  11. Arrange containers in a steamer and steam at low heat for 2 hrs
  12. Top up water when the water level drops in the steamer
  13. Leave the kueh in the hot steamer for several hours to make use of the residual heat.
  14. Thereafter, 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
Recipe Notes

Increase the amount of sugar if you prefer the kueh to be sweeter

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