Sunday, March 22, 2009

Steamed Yam/ Taro Cake (Yu Tou Gao)

When I was growing up, my mom made (and still makes) the best yam cake. For me, it is the ultimate comfort food. I decided to make this today because I have on hand good quality Chinese sausage from Teck Sang in Singapore (My parents bought it for me on their last trip to Seattle). The Chinese sausage lends a sweet and pungent flavor, kind of like a Chardonnay that has been opened for a day. All the ingredients get embedded in the rice flour, the key ingredient- the taro, embarks a light purplish tint that is both beautiful and elegant. When the cake has cooled down, it can also be lightly pan fried. Served with chili sauce, this version beats the ones you order at Dim Sum restaurants any day. It is also healthier and you actually taste the taro.

Here's my mom's recipe. Thanks to my dad for compiling this! Thanks DAD!

(A) Chinese Sausage 100 g
Dried Shitake Mushroom 5 pieces (Medium)
Dried Shrimp 10 g
(B) Yam/Taro 500 g (diced)
Rice Flour 600 g

Salt 2 tsp
Pepper 1/2 tsp
Fine sugar 1 tbsp
Rice Wine (1 tsp, optional)
Black soy sauce 1 tsp

(For Topping)
Red Shallots
Chives/Green Onions


1) Add 2 tbsp of vegetable oil in a wok and saute the dried shrimp and Chinese sausage first. Add taro and mushrooms and stir fry until fragrant.

2) In a separate bowl, add 1800 ml of cold water to the flour. (This step is the secret to making the cake smooth and creamy). Work out all lumps until the flour is completely dissolved in the water.

3) Add the liquefied flour into ingredients in the wok and stir evenly until it forms a smooth sticky paste.

4) Scoop this content into a steamer, pat down with a spoon and steam for 30 mins.
5) Slice shallot thinly and fry it in hot oil. (Be sure to blot the shallot dry before frying, otherwise the shallots would be crispy).
6) Add the fried shallots to the top of the yam cake and garnish with chives.
7) Slice up the cake and serve hot with a side of chili sauce.

I hope you enjoy this recipe!


  1. This is one of my favorite- when I was in Kuala Lumpur, these yam cakes are sold as street food in the morning. It is quite a popular for those who need a breakfast on the go. Love your work, I can see you are blogging with so much passion. I will try to follow you and look forward to your next write-up.

  2. Dear Ethnocooking,

    Thank you for your kind comments. You have a wonderful blog yourself and I will follow yours too. Melbourne is a great foodie destination, I can't wait to read your post.


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