This Glutinous Rice Cake Is Entirely Different From Store Bought … Ningbo Niangao, Shanghai Niangao or Bai Guo Gan (宁波年糕,上海年糕,白果干)



I swore I never like to cook this glutinous rice cake (Ningbo Niangao (宁波年糕) or Shanghai Niangao (上海年糕)or Bai Guo Gan (白果干) ) as it has to be soaked for many days before it turn soft. In addition, it is rather difficult to stir fry as it can turn mushy if too much water is added….


While I was glancing through the internet yesterday, I found a simple recipe of this glutinous rice cake.. Looking at the ingredients , it is just a 3 simple ingredients recipes and all are common household items. Out of my curiosity, I have decided to give it a try thinking without having any expectations on the rice cake.


It didn’t take long for me to finish the preparation of this glutinous rice cake.. about an hour from preparation until finished steaming. I let it rest a night and early in the morning, I cut the rice cake and fry it in a vegetarian version.. When I took the first bite, I immediately knew that why this rice cake managed to capture the hearts of many Chinese. The texture is totally different as it is soft and chewy and it totally change my perception of this traditional rice cake.


As per Wikipedia:

“The Shanghai Niangao style is usually packaged in a thick soft rod to be sliced up or packaged pre-sliced and either stir-fried or added to soup. Depending on the cooking method this style is a soft to a chewy variant. The Shanghai style keeps the nian gao white, and made with non-glutinous rice. The color is its distinct feature. When served as a dish, the most common is the stir-fry method, hence the name (炒年糕, chǎo nián gāo). There are three general types. The first is a savory dish, common ingredients include scallions, beef, pork, cabbage, Chinese cabbage etc. The second is a sweet version using standard white sugar. The last version is taste-less, and is often consumed for its chewy textures.” (Source:


The main objective of this post is the sharing of the preparation of this rice cake. However, I will also share a recipe of how to stir fry the rice cake. As I am on a vegetarian diet, the illustration uses vegetarian ingredients but you can always add in meats, shallots and garlics when you are stir frying.


Whether or not this rice cake is linked to Korean rice cakes or Japanese rice cakes, I am unsure but I believed they are closely linked as food history are all intertwined and not to mention that they are in the same geographical regions.



Recipe adapted from 自制寧波年糕

Servings: 2-3 persons


Rice Cake

  • 120 grams of glutinous rice flour (糯米粉)
  • 120 grams of rice flour (粘米粉)
  • 140 grams or ml of water (清水)


Stir Frying Rice Cake

  • 380 grams of rice cake (as above), cut slanting into bite size pieces
  • 5 winter mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 cm of carrots, shredded
  • 3 dried bean curd puff, cut into stripes
  • 50 grams of Szechuan vegetables, soaked and cut into stripes
  • 50 grams of mock chicken, chopped (not in picture) – Substitutable with minced pork or chicken
  • Some chopped ginger or garlics or shallots
  • Oyster sauce, to taste
  • light soya sauce, to taste
  • Dashes of white pepper

All quantities and ingredients are for your reference as this is a savoury dish.




  • Get ready a steamer capable of steaming under high heat for at least 30 minutes and a small pot of hot boiling water.


  • In a big mixing bowl, sift in the glutinous rice flour and rice flour. Add the water gradually and knead until it form a pliable dough. If too dry, add water tablespoon by tablespoon. If too wet, add glutinous rice flour tablespoon by tablespoon.

  • Take out about 40 grams of the dough, shape it round, pat in the hand and throw it to the pot of hot boiling water. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the dough floats in the water. Transfer this small dough to the mixing bowl. The purpose of this step is to ensure that the rice cake have a chewy texture.


  • Use your hand to knead the  cooked and uncooked dough together until well mixed. Divide equally into 6 portions. Shape cylindrical shape and steam in the steamer for about 25 minutes. Once done, to avoid sticking to each other, you can lightly grease the rice cake  with cooking oil and let it cool completely before cutting into pieces for stir frying. For this illustration, I have let it rest overnight. The longer it rest at room temperature, the harder it will be as moisture are lost in the process.


  • Slice the rice cake into small pieces. In a hot wok or frying pan, put some cooking oil, put the minced ginger or shallot or garlics and sliced winter mushroom. Sauté until fragrant. Add in the mock chicken or minced meat, stir fry for one two minutes followed by all other ingredients. Stir fry until well mixed.


  • Add in the sliced rice cake, stir fry followed by adding white pepper and oyster sauce. Stir fry for another few minutes and dish up. If in the process of stir frying, the dish is too dry, you can add a small quantity of water but not too much as it will make the rice cake mushy. Best served when warm.



Again, I was shocked that home made rice cake’s texture is totally different from the store bought version. It is soft and chewy. It is easy to prepare with simple ingredients. If you like Korean or Japanese rice cake, I am sure all of you will like this too. As this is a savoury dish, all measurement are for your reference. Feel free to change what suit your taste bud. You can always use the same ingredients that you stir fry your noodles for the dish.


Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.


  • For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 28 July 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit the blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE to keep abreast of my future posts.