As Lunar New Year approaches, households across China and in Chinese communities worldwide bustle with preparations to welcome the auspicious occasion. Among the rich customs and traditions observed during this time, culinary delights hold a special significance, symbolizing prosperity, happiness, and good fortune. One such delicacy that holds a unique place in the hearts of celebrants is the Water Chestnut Thousand Layer Cake.
Water Chestnut Thousand Layer Cake is a traditional Chinese dessert originating from the Guangdong province. This delectable treat is meticulously crafted with layers of water chestnut and coconut mixture, resulting in a fragrant cake with bouncy, mochi-like chewy texture.
During Lunar New Year celebrations, the Water Chestnut Thousand Layer Cake holds a central place on the banquet table. Each layer of the cake symbolizes prosperity, happiness, luck, fortune, unity, harmony, and sweet beginnings.
Our recipe is made with pure water chestnut flour for a more true taste, but you can also use glutinous rice flower (mochiko) if you are unable to find water chestnut flour. We also opted for Chinese slab sugar, which is unrefined and has beneficial vitamins and minerals. If you're unable to find slab sugar, use light brown sugar instead. This recipe has a delicate sweetness that is balanced with the water chestnut, osmanthus, and coconut milk flavors, so you won't need to adjust the sugar level.
Recipe: Water Chestnut Thousand Layer Cake
Water Chestnut Batter
- 800g Water, divided
- 175g Chinese slab sugar (about 2 slabs) + 25g Brown Sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 150g Water Chestnut Starch
- Light cooking oil 20gm
- Optional: Osmanthus Flowers 30gm
- 100g Water
- 100g Water Chestnut Starch
- 400g Coconut Milk (1 can)
- Pyrex or stainless steel container or mold
1) In a bowl, mix 400g of water with 150g of chestnut starch.
2) In a pot, combine 400g of water with sugar and salt. Heat until melted.
3) Once sugar has melted, turn off the heat. Place 2 scoops of the starch water into the sugar mixture pot and mix until the batter thickens. Note: be sure to always stir the batter first to make sure the starch is evenly distributed. The starch will tend to sink to the bottom of the bowl.
4) Then add the warm sugar mixture into the main starch water bowl and stir vigorously until mixed and becomes a golden colored batter. Optional: add Osmanthus flowers. Water Chestnut batter is complete.
5) For the Coconut Batter: combine all ingredients in a bowl, make sure all the clumps of the starch are mixed into the batter. Put batter through a strainer to break up all the clumps. Both batters are ready for steaming now.
5) Oil the container you will be using to steam the cake. Place the container into your steamer. You are now ready to start steaming the layers of the cake. Start with the golden osmanthus layer with one ladle of batter. Steam for 2 minutes then add the next layer with a ladle of coconut batter. Alternating layers while steaming for 2 minutes each time, keep on repeating until desired thickness of cake is achieved.
6) Remove container from the steam after the last layer. Cool at room temperature. Sprinkle some fresh osmanthus flowers on top. Then chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours and remove from mold, slice to serve. Tip: Use a knife with oil on it to better cut through the cake without sticking.
Enjoy! Let us know if you try this recipe.