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How to cook Tikoy or Nian Gao- Sweet Rice Cakes for the Chinese Lunar New Year

Tikoy (say 'tee-koy') is a steamed Chinese rice cake with brown sugar and molasses. In the Philippines, an entire steamed cake is given as a gift for the Lunar New Year to symbolize prosperity and good luck. We cooked the Tikoy by pan-frying to soften it up. Once pan fried, each warm slice was crisp on the outside while sticky soft inside. The yellow coating of the eggs are close in color to 'gold', a symbol of prosperity. The chewy, gummy consistency of the tikoy rice cake are supposed to make sure the luck 'sticks'. We enjoy these delicious, savory strips of tikoy rice cakes served as a snack or side during Chinese New Year. Tikoy is a hearty, heavy and filling snack that's also good all year long. This Asian in America recipe below shares how to prepare store-bought Tikoy. Serves 4.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Appetizer, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese, Filipino
Keyword: Chinese Tikoy Nian Gao
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 118kcal
Author: Elizabeth Ann Quirino


  • Large Skillet or Wok: 12 to 14 inches


  • 1 whole (about 8 ounces) Chinese Tikoy - Sweet Rice Cake sliced in 2-inch strips, from Asian markets;store-bought tikoy or homemade
  • 2 to 3 whole eggs beaten, for coating tikoy
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil for pan frying tikoy; add more as needed
  • for serving: hot tea


  • Pre-grease with cooking spray a large, sharp knife and the cutting board for slicing the tikoy. Peel off the wrappers from the tikoy. On a large, dry cutting board, slice the tikoy rice cake in thin strips, about 2-inch length.
  • In a medium sized bowl with the beaten eggs, soak the tikoy strips. Make sure tikoy is coated evenly with the egg.
  • Over medium high heat, add the cooking oil to the large skillet or wok. After 1 to 2 minutes when oil is hot enough, pan fry the tikoy slices dipped in egg. The egg-coated tikoy should take a minute or two on each side to firm up to a crisp slice. Remove from the skillet and drain on paper towels or parchment paper to minimize the excess oil.
  • These are good for a snack or a side. Serve the slices warm with piping-hot tea.
  • Cook's comments: Here in the States, Tikoy or the Chinese rice cake can be found in Asian markets or Chinatown during Chinese New Year.
    Here is my easy, homemade Tikoy-Nian Gao recipe, if you prefer to make your own. Click here.
  • Cooking tip: My niece Tsui Chern who grew up in Singapore suggested steaming the tikoy slices in a steamer to soften them. This is an alternative to pan frying. Each slice can be too sticky to handle, though, so be sure to pre-grease the knife, cutting board and insides of the steamer for easy handling.

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    Serving: 1g | Calories: 118kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 1mg | Sugar: 1g