Steamed Rice Cake (白糖糕 Bái Táng Gāo): Steamed Rice Cake is a traditional sweet Chinese steamed rice cake made with rice flour and white sugar.
Bái Táng Gāo (or Pak Tong Gou in Cantonese) is a sweet Chinese steamed rice cake made with rice flour and white sugar. It was my late grandmother’s favourite snack, and she used to buy this for our breakfast. She would rise early in the morning, and wait patiently for the lady who came with a pushcart selling a variety of food in front of our house. During those days, one piece of Bái Táng Gāo cost about 3 cents. All of us grandchildren were very contented to have just a piece.
Nowadays, eating this sweet steamed rice cake always brings back memories of the good old days and the love and care my grandmother had for us. Now my children and especially my grandchildren also love to eat Bai Tang Gao. I hope this tradition will continue to pass down from generation to generation. But this is a dying business and the future generations may not have a chance to know what steamed rice cake tastes like. With this recipe I hope to pass it down so that they will learn how to make it and Bai Tang Gao will continue to live on.
Steamed Rice Cake (白糖糕 Bái Táng Gāo or Pak Tong Gou in Cantonese) is a traditional sweet Chinese steamed rice cake made with rice flour and white sugar.
- 140 grams Rice Flour
- 100 grams Caster Sugar
- 150 ml Water To add to flour
- 150 ml Water For making the syrup
- 5 leaves Pandan Leaves
- 1/2 tsp Dried Yeast
- 1/4 tsp Fine Salt Optional
- 1 tsp Oil
- 1 tbsp Water To dissolve the yeast
Wash the pandan leaves and cut them into 6-inch lengths.
Sieve the 150 gm of rice flour into a big bowl. Then add the 1/4 tsp of salt to the flour and mix well (optional).
Add 150 gm of water to the flour mixture and mix well with a whisk.
For the syrup, measure out 100 gm of sugar into a pot, then add pandan leaves and 150ml water into the pot. Bring to a boil for about 5 minutes.
- Remove the pandan leaves and sieve the syrup.
- Slowly pour the syrup into the rice flour mixture stirring it constantly to prevent it from getting lumpy and set aside and let it cool until about 30°C or warm. If the mixture becomes lumpy, you can also sieve the mixture to remove any lumps.
Dissolve the 1/2 tsp of yeast with 1 TBsp of warm water and leave it for 5 mins or until it bubbles.
Add the yeast into the rice flour mixture and stir well.
Next, add in the 1 tsp of oil and mix well.
Cover the bowl with a cling wrap and leave it in a warm place for about 2 hrs or until it bubbles.
Grease a stainless steel plate or a square tin with oil.
Fill a wok with water and bring to a boil.
Pour the rice flour mixture into the plate and wrap the plate loosely with aluminium foil to form a cover. Once the shape is formed, remove the aluminium foil gently.
Slowly put the plate on the steaming rack ensuring that the plate is level. Then cover it with the aluminium foil cover and steam over high fire for about 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, use a satay stick to prick in the centre, if it comes out clean then it is done
- Remove plate from the wok and remove the aluminium foil and let the steamed rice cake / Bai Tang Gao cool completely before cutting. Enjoy!
Serve warm or at room temperature
- Make sure that the amount of water does not reduce significantly when preparing the pandan sugar syrup otherwise the water will not be the right quantity.
- Ensure the rice flour and water are mixed well until smooth. Pour the hot syrup into the rice flour mixture very slowly and stir it constantly to prevent lumps.
- Covering the plate with aluminium foil helps to prevent the water droplets from condensation on the wok cover from falling into the plate, and making the top layer of the steamed rice cake soggy.
- The amount of water for steaming must be the same level as the rack when placed in the wok to allow enough steam to circulate evenly in the wok while steaming.
- Keep a kettle of boiling water on standby in case you need to top up the water for steaming. Do not use room temperature water for topping up as it will affect the cooking time.
- When transferring the plate of rice flour mixture into the wok for steaming, do not shake the plate.
- Cut only when the steamed rice cake / Bai Tang Gao is completely cooled (at least 1-2 hours)
- I used a 7.5-inch base sloped stainless steel plate. For a 9-inch square tin, multiply the recipe by 1.5x (i.e. the amount of ingredients should be 50% more than suggested in this recipe).
Suggested Modifications for Special Diets
- Baby/Toddler-Friendly: Healthy afternoon snack for toddlers and children! You can reduce the amount of sugar further if you want it less sweet.
- Child-Friendly: Healthy afternoon snack for toddlers and children! You can reduce the amount of sugar further if you want it less sweet.
- Egg-Free: No modifications needed.
- Fish-Free: No modifications needed.
- Gluten-Free: No modifications needed.
- Nut-Free: No modifications needed.
- Shellfish-Free: No modifications needed.
- Vegan: No modifications needed.
- Vegetarian: No modifications needed
If you enjoyed this Steamed Rice Cake (白糖糕 Bái Táng Gāo) Recipe, you may also like:
How NOT to Cook Sago (3 Common Mistakes People Make)
See also our most-read recipes and how-to cooking tips:
- How to Choose Broccoli
- Old-School Hainanese Pork Chop Recipe
- Fried Oyster Omelette (Or Luah) Recipe
- The 10 Things You MUST Know About Choosing the Freshest Fish
- Chinese Crispy Roast Pork Belly Recipe
- Chinese Steamed Egg with Minced Meat (蒸水蛋) Recipe
- [Video] How to make Egg Mayo in Toasted Bread Cups
- [Video] Kitchen Hack to Pack and Freeze Prawns Quickly