Pan Fried Sugar Rice Cake with Taro – Nian Gao (煎年糕)

It is symbolic to eat Sugar Rice Cake during Chinese New Year because its name in Mandarin – Nian Gao (年糕) is a homonym for 年高 –  年年高升, meaning growing taller or making progress year after year.

I’ve learnt this version of pan fried sugar rice cake from my mum-in-law. She likes to sandwich the rice cake between two thin slices of taro root and coat it with a batter for deep frying.

I use a thin batter recipe from a cook book that Jerry gave me since 1988! It has been my go to batter recipe for 30 years! When you try this Nian Gao as it slides off the frying pan, it is an awesome combo of a crispy crust with gooey sweet cake sandwiched between two layers of grainy taro. Delicious.


  • Sweet Rice Cake, cut into 1/4″ slices
  • Taro Root, peeled and sliced thinly ~ 1/8″, need twice as many slices of taro root as there are Nian Gao
  • Oil for deep frying

Thin Batter

  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp oil


  1. Slice taro root and Nian Gao and sandwich each piece of Nian Gao between two slices of taro root, set aside.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium size bowl.
  3. Beat egg, milk, and oil in a medium size bowl, and slowly add the flour mixture until a smooth batter forms.
  4. In the mean time, heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  5. Dip each combo of taro root and Nian Gao in the batter and deep fry until crust is golden brown.
  6. Drain on paper towel.
  7. Enjoy while it is hot. Once cooled, reheat in a toaster oven before serving.


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