Do you know that the sticky Kuih Bakul, Rice Cake, or “Nian Gao“ is a yearly obligatory treat on Chinese tables?
There is a folk tale that every year, the Kitchen God will return to heaven to report to the Jed Emperor on the household merits/conducts during the year. Therefore, in order to have a “Good Report“ we the Chinese bribe the Kitchen God with sweets and rice cake . The sweets will “sweeten“ or “smitten“ him up.
From Left:Kuih Bakul for Sell,Prayers & Frying.
According to my grandma after the Kitchen God eat the sticky rice cake, he will not be able to give lengthy reports to the Jed Emperor as the nature of the sticky rice cake will make it difficult for him to speak properly!
Poor Kitchen God…
Aside from the folk tale, the Kuih Bakul hold a deeper meaning and spiritual hopes for the Chinese and Peranakan as it symbolize a wish for a better future. Moreover, it is believed that when friends, lovers and couples eat the rice cakes together, the sticky brown confection will strengthen their bonding !
Isn’t it a worth trying ritual during special occasions like Chap Goh Mei, wedding anniversary and Valentine’s Day!
Have fun enjoying the sticky rice cake, maybe you will find one or two fallen “surprise treasure“ as you “wrestle“ with the sticky rice cake!
If you are wondering about the fallen “surprise treasure“, just serve the rice cake to your grandparents and you will understand what I mean. :)
The rice cake can be eaten in a number of ways. You can cut the cake into pieces, dip it into beaten eggs, add some salt and fry it. Another way is to steam it to make it softer and serve it plain or with grated coconut or peanuts.
Anyway you choose, the rice cake will still taste great aside from the “sticky“ part!