Nian gao or what is know as kuih bakul in Malay is the glutinous rice dumpling cooked over slow fire for 12 to 24 hours. It is a must for Chinese New Year as the Chinese will place it on the altar of the Kitchen Dewa in the hope that He will make a good report of the household for the year in front of Jade Emperor in the Heavenly Realm when He goes there on the 24th of the twelfth lunar month. It serves as a 'bribe' to aske Him to report only the good things and leave all the bad ones.
When preparing this 'dodol' type of cake, there are certain taboos to be observed. No one should utter things that 'it won't turn out well', 'it will not turn to the colour of gold' or some negative thing said before it is cooked. If such things are uttered, nian gao will not turn out as it should be.
Moreover, ladies having period are also not allowed to prepare this food or it will turn out to the right colour and texture.
So much for taboos about making nian gao.
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