Puna Yam Cake (Chinese New Year)


A Recipe by Daddy Lau

My dad's been cooking Chinese food for over 50 years - as a kid fending for himself in Guangzhou, as the head chef of his own restaurant, & as a loving father in our home.

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Hopefully, by learning this recipe, you'll get khổng lồ experience some of the delicious joy we felt growing up eating his food!

- Randy


I don't think the vệ sinh family has ever eaten dim sum without calling over a few orders of taro cake.

We're not alone - taro cake is one of the most popular dim sum dishes around the world.

Taro cake is also commonly made around Chinese holidays, as a symbol of prosperity in Chinese tradition.

Taro Cake - A Good Omen

Many Chinese superstitions, good và bad, are based on word play.

For the same reason that the number "4" is bad luck because it sounds similar to the word for "death", taro cake and other cake recipes are popular around the holidays because they symbolize higher growth & prosperity.

Particularly for "cake 糕", the word shares the same exact tone & pronunciation as the Chinese word for "high 高" - "gōu".

"cake" and "high" have different characters, but Chinese tradition has come khổng lồ attribute cakes with higher success, rising happiness, better health, và prosperity.

For me, eating taro cake definitely has a direct effect on my happiness!

Check out a quick story summary of our recipe!


Weight: US
Volume: US

Main Ingredients

1.5 lb taro0.50 lb regular rice flour1.5 cup water (

for flour mix

)0.50 oz dried shrimp1 lap cheung (

chinese sausage

)0.25 oz ginger (

only a little bit needed

)2 clove garlic1 whole piece green onion1.5 cup boiled water (

for cooking taro

) boiled water (

about 3-5 cups, enough lớn fill the wok until water touches the bottom of the plate

)1 tbsp vegetable oil

Additional Flavors

1 tsp salt1 tsp sugar1 tsp chicken bouillon1 tbsp oyster sauce1 tsp sesame oil white pepper (

to taste


Choosing Rice Flour

At Asian grocery markets, there are typically two main types of rice flour: regular rice flour, và glutinous rice flour (also known as sticky rice flour).

We want regular rice flour. There are other taro cake recipes out there that use glutinous rice flour, but my dad prefers the firmer texture that regular rice flour yields.

Sticky rice flour is commonly used for many other Asian desserts và recipes, like boba, mochi, và etc.

You can buy the exact rice flour my dad uses on Amazon.

Choosing Taro

If you've never seen taro, it comes in various shapes & sizes. Similar lớn the potato, taro is a root vegetable primarily grown in Nigeria và China.

At Asian supermarkets, you'll probably encounter a small variety (baseball-sized) & a big variety (similar to the form size of a large bottle of soda). For this recipe, we want the big kind.

To select the freshest of the bunch, choose a taro that doesn't look too dry và has few or zero cracks across its skin.

Finding Asian Ingredients

Some of these ingredients are hard khổng lồ find in a typical grocery store.

If you don't live near an Asian market, most or all of what my dad uses in this recipe can be found on Amazon:

I've also included some other Chinese kitchen essentials, used in many of my dad's other recipes.

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Dried Wood Ear Fungus (a few options, depending on what's in stock):

These liên kết are tiếp thị liên kết links, which means that if you use our links to purchase these ingredients, Amazon pays my family a small amount for the sale - at no extra cost to you. If you use these links, we really appreciate the support!

Other Supplies + Tools

You'll need a steamer rack, an essential Chinese home-cooking tool.

You'll need a food scale. Since taro cake is one of our more precise recipes, it's important lớn be able to lớn weigh out exactly what we're using.

You'll need a good wok, which provides a ton of versatility for the classic Chinese cooking methods: steaming, stir frying, deep frying, & etc.

As a precaution, you'll need food-safe gloves to handle taro (more on this later.)

Safety: Use a Towel

To increase the stability of your cutting board, place a hand towel underneath it. Especially because taro is so tough and hard khổng lồ cut, we want khổng lồ reduce the risk of injury by preventing our cutting board from moving around.

I can count on more than two hands (too soon?) the number of times my dad came home from the restaurant after a long day of work with bandaids on his hands.

Safety first!

Safety: Handling Taro

Raw taro contains calcium oxalate underneath its skin, which can be toxic due to the mineral’s microscopically sharp needles, và which can cause skin irritation and a burning sensation if eaten raw.

Maybe my dad is just a G, but in all the years my dad has made taro cake, he’s never used gloves. He does wash the taro before cutting it further, which helps wash away some of the calcium oxalate.

To be super safe, definitely do not eat raw taro, and use food-safe gloves when peeling and cutting it.