How to make steamed yam cake

A savoury cake that Malaysians eat as a traditional snack, yam cake or woo thau koh is the ultimate flavour bomb.

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We’re right smack into the 2nd phase of the COVID19 MCO as I write this.

Last week, I was getting bored of the usual Chinese dishes and pastas, and started fantasizing about some kopitiam food. Being Hakka, I yearned for some good old yam cake or woo thau koh (in Cantonese)/or kueh (Hokkien).

Imagine biting into soft chunks of lightly spiced yam, crispy shallots, dried prawns, roasted peanuts, scallions and chilli sauce.

Mum’s yam cake is always the best

Help my mouth is watering! A word of warning: making this involves a whole lot of chopping, peeling, pounding & frying, but totally worth the effort.

While yam cake is sold at many kopitiam & roadside stalls, there’s nothing quite lượt thích making your own. Most of the commercial ones comprise mostly rice flour & very little yam. This version … err, let’s say Dad calls it the “you better not sell this or you’ll go bankrupt” version, haha!

Some trivia. Dad, a World War 2 baby, told me that he ate a lot of sweet potatoes, tapioca and yam during the war because they were easy lớn grow. I guess that’s why tubers & root vegetables figure frequently in Hakka recipes.

What you need

Yam, rice flour & water These ingredients form your batter. I measure out these three ingredients using bowls in a ratio of 1.5: 1: 2. Some like to chop the yam into strands. Some lượt thích to blend it into oblivion so that everything’s a smooth paste. Personally, I like it slightly chunky so that I can enjoy the texture of the soft cooked yam.

Seasonings You only need salt, trắng pepper and five-spice powder.

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Fillings và toppings Mum’s yam cake is better than everyone else’s because she adds crispy fried shallots and dried prawns inside the cake. Most people (commercial versions, at least) just scatter these condiments on đứng đầu of the cake after steaming.

Other toppings Don’t forget the fried peanuts, scallions và chopped red chillis.

Key tips that will make or break your yam cake

Frying the yam Be careful not to lớn fry the yam too long. Just cook the yam until the edges start to lớn brown. Yam that has been over-fried at this stage will become leathery and tough. You want to lớn achieve a consistency whereby, the yam cake is creamy yet still has bite.

Dried shrimp How much you showroom is really up to lớn your preference. Some people love hae bee, so they might địa chỉ cửa hàng more. Dried shrimp is salty, so remember lớn adjust the amount of salt you add according to how much of the former you add. The salt should be inversely proportional to lớn the amount of hae bee. For example, if you showroom 3/4 bowl of hae bee, showroom 1/4 tsp salt and if you add một nửa bowl hae bee, increase the salt to 50% tsp.

Parchment paper or oil? Before steaming, you’re supposed khổng lồ pour the yam mixture into a tray. My mum – & all old-school cooks, I presume – rubs oil on the tray so she can easily cut the yam cake later. And she succeeds in cutting ruler-straight pieces WITHIN the tray & dislodges each piece cleanly! Not me though. So I resort to lining my steaming tray with parchment paper, then lift the entire cake out of the tray và cut it lượt thích a normal Western-style cake.

Rice flour paste In one of the steps, you need khổng lồ mix the rice flour with water into a paste. Use it immediately (i.e. Set with the yam). Vị not do this step ahead of time. Rice flour will separate from water if you leave it aside.

Don’t overcook the batter Another key to a soft yam cake is not to lớn overcook the batter when you showroom the rice flour paste to the yam và start stirring. When you feel a slight resistance during the stirring process, the yam batter is ready.