This is the classic way of consuming Tnee Kueh or Nian Gao. It is usually made after Chinese New Year when we have a lot of this around due to gift-giving by family members. Gifts are given to the elders- meaning you give to your parents, uncles and aunts and your older siblings. Just to clarify, you can only give such gifts and Ang Pow (or Hung Bao) after your are married. If one is not married, one is not considered as an adult!
Anyway, as kids and even now we enjoy this seasonal snack. We usually have it for tea, with a cup of black kopi, teh-tarik or Milo. Once we finish all the Tnee Kueh, we have to wait for a another year.
The recipe is only an approximation. There are no standard sizes for the Tnee Kueh as every family’s preference is different. With shop bought ones, the sizes are also not standard. As the amount in the recipe is an estimate so experiment with it and discover for yourself.
Makes: 10 to 14 pieces
Time: 30 minutes
1 round Tnee Kueh ( approx. 400g)
250g Sweet Potato ( weight after peeling)
250g Yam or Taro
100g Self-raising flour
1 medium Egg
½ tsp Salt
250ml+ Oil for deep frying
First, make the batter:
- In a bowl, mix the flour, and salt and make a hole in the centre.
- Crack the egg in the hole. With a whisk or a wooden spoon, mix the batter from the centre slowly while incorporating the flour. Make sure the mixture does not become a dough as it will be lumpy.
- Whisk or beat until the batter is smooth. Set aside while you prepare the other ingredients.
Secondly, prepare the Tnee Kueh and the vegetables
- Cut the Tnee Kueh (vertically) into slices about ¾ cm thick. You will get uneven sizes as the Tnee Kueh is round.
- Cut the sweet potato and the yam to the same shape and sizes.
- Sandwich a slice of Tnee Kueh in between a slice of sweet potato and yam. Repeat until you finish all the pieces. If you have extra pieces of yam or sweet potato, just fry it as it is.
Then do the frying
- Heat up the oil in a deep frying pan or wok.
- The oil is hot enough for frying when you put in a small piece of the yam or sweet potato or bread and it sizzles up. About 180C.
- Take a piece of the trio of sweet potato, Tnee Kueh and yam. Dip it in the batter and coat it completely.
- Gently place it in the hot oil. Repeat until the wok is 3/4 full, making sure that the pieces do not touch each other too much.
- Fry for about 2 to 3 minutes. Check that the bottom is not burnt and it is golden brown colour.
- Once it is golden brown, turn the pieces over to fry the other side for another 2 minutes or so.
- Once it is golden brown, check that it is done by pricking one of the pieces with a chop stick or a fork. Once it yields, it is cooked.
- Remove from the hot oil and drain. Then put it on kitchen towel to absorb the extra oil.
- Repeat until all are fried.
- Best served hot.
It can keep in the fridge for a day or two and warm up in the oven before serving.