Monday, February 20, 2012

Orh Kueh 芋头糕 (Steamed Yam Cake)

Yam cake is similar to the lo bak gou in dim sum, but it is made with yam/taro instead of radish, and is much heartier. It comes steamed or fried, and I like both versions, although I feel that the day-old cakes taste much better than the fresh ones. (An opinion also shared by my grandmother, therefore is correct.)

After inventing a contraption to steam things in my kitchen, I've made several kueh-type dishes like nian gao 年糕, sago kueh, and of course, my favorite of all time favorite foods - fried carrot cake or char kuay, which I have made several times since then.

Enjoy the loveliness of the kueh. Jason used to think the texture is weird, but now he likes them. :)

  • 1 1/2 cup yam/taro, cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1 tablespoon wheat starch
  • 2 tablespoons wheat flour
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 3 shiitake mushrooms, soaked
  • 1/4 cup dried shrimp, minced
  • 1/2 link sweet Chinese sausage, minced
  • 2 shallots, sliced thinly
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil

Ingredients for Garnishing (optional)
  • sweet sauce
  • chili sauce
  • fried shallots
  • green onions, chopped
  • red chili, chopped
  • fried shallot oil

  • In a heated stockpot, add oil and fry the thinly sliced shallots until they are golden brown.
  • When the shallots are done, remove half the shallots from the oil, and place them on a plate lined with a paper towel. There will be extra oil in the stockpot. Keep the oil in the stockpot, do not throw that oil away.
  • To the shallot oil, add the dried shrimp and Chinese sausage, and fry until fragrant.
  • When the dried shrimp and Chinese sausage are fragrant, add the taro pieces and stirfry for about two minutes.

  • Meanwhile, add the rice flour, wheat starch and water to a big bowl and stir until they are combined.
  • After two minutes, add the rice flour and water mixture to the stockpot and stir consistently.

  • After a while, the liquid will thicken, and resemble a paste-like consistency (like in the picture above right.)
  • Line your steaming bowl with plastic wrap, and transfer the paste into the steaming bowl.

  • Steam the bowl for about one hour.
  • After an hour, remove the bowl from the steamer and let cool before manipulating the yam cake. (I prefer cooling it, and letting it stay in the fridge for one more day, just to let the flavors mix.)
  • Slice the yam cake into squares (or whatever shape you want them to be) and serve with the optional garnishings.

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