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Indulge in This Delectable Chinese Yam Cake Recipe

If you're looking for a savoury dish that's perfect for breakfast or as a snack, then Chinese yam cake might just be what you're after. Indulge your taste buds with this classic dish - a delectable, steamed cake crafted from tender yam pieces, savory dried prawns, and fragrant rice flour. Topped with a crispy medley of deep-fried shallots, spring onions, fiery chillies, and an abundance of more dried prawns, each bite is a tantalizing blend of flavors. Served alongside a zesty chili dipping sauce, this dish perfectly balances sweet and spicy notes to create a culinary delight like no other.

A table with ingredients: yams, sugar, flour, and eggs. A mixing bowl, a whisk, and a cake pan

Understanding Chinese yam cake is the first step to mastering the recipe. Yam cake, also known as orh kueh or wu tau kueh, is particularly popular in countries like Malaysia, Singapore, and China. It's a savoury, steamed cake made from chopped yam (taro), rice flour, water, and various seasonings. The cake itself is soft and fluffy, with a slightly chewy texture that's perfect for soaking up the flavours of the toppings and sauce.

To prepare the ingredients, you'll need yam, dried shrimps, dried shiitake mushrooms, preserved turnip (tai tau choy), garlic, shallots, rice flour, tapioca starch, and cooking oil. You can also add seafood to the recipe, such as prawns or scallops, to give it an extra burst of flavour. Once you have all the ingredients, the cooking process involves steaming the yam, mixing it with the other ingredients, and steaming it again until it's cooked through. Once it's done, you can garnish it with toppings like fried shallots and spring onions, and serve it with chilli sauce on the side.

Key Takeaways

  • Chinese yam cake is a savoury steamed cake made from yam, rice flour, and seasonings, topped with a variety of toppings and served with chilli sauce.
  • Seafood, such as prawns or scallops, can be added to the recipe to give it an extra burst of flavour.
  • To prepare the yam cake, you'll need to steam the yam, mix it with the other ingredients, and steam it again until it's cooked through, then garnish it with toppings and serve it with chilli sauce.

Understanding Chinese Yam Cake

A steaming pot of Chinese yam cake, surrounded by fresh yam slices, ginger, and shallots on a wooden cutting board

If you are a fan of Chinese cuisine, then you must have come across the delicious and savoury Chinese Yam Cake. This dish is a traditional delicacy that is commonly served during the Chinese New Year or as part of dim sum. This cake is also known as kueh, orh kueh or steamed yam cake.

Cultural Significance

The Chinese Yam Cake is a popular dish in Chinese culture, especially during the Chinese New Year. The cake is believed to bring good luck and prosperity to those who eat it. The cake's round shape is said to symbolize unity and completeness, making it a perfect dish to serve during the New Year.

Key Ingredients

The key ingredient in the Chinese Yam Cake is, of course, yam. The yam is grated and mixed with rice flour, water, and other ingredients such as dried shrimps, dried shiitake mushrooms, and scallions. The mixture is then steamed until it becomes a soft, savoury cake.

If you are a seafood lover, you can also add seafood to your Chinese Yam Cake recipe. Some popular seafood options for this dish include prawns, scallops, and squid. Adding seafood to the recipe will give the cake an extra burst of flavour and texture.

In conclusion, the Chinese Yam Cake is a delicious and culturally significant dish in Chinese cuisine. With its soft texture and savoury flavour, it's no wonder why this dish is a favourite among many. Adding seafood to the recipe can give it an extra twist and make it even more flavourful.

Preparing the Ingredients

Chinese yams, eggs, sugar, and flour are laid out on a clean kitchen counter, ready to be mixed and prepared for the Chinese yam cake recipe

Before you start making the Chinese Yam Cake, it is essential to prepare the ingredients. Here are the steps to follow:

Selecting the Yam

Choose fresh, firm, and unblemished yams for this recipe. Avoid yams with cracks or bruises as they may affect the taste and texture of the cake. Peel the yam and cut it into small cubes of about 1 cm.

Soaking and Preparing Dried Items

Soak the dried shrimps and mushrooms in warm water for about 30 minutes until they are soft. Once they are soft, chop the dried shrimps and dice the mushrooms into small pieces. If you want to add seafood to your recipe, you can use prawns or squid. Clean and chop them into small pieces and mix them with the dried shrimps.

Measuring and Mixing Flours

Measure and mix the rice flour, tapioca starch, and wheat starch in a mixing bowl. Stir the mixture well to ensure that the flour is evenly distributed.

Once you have prepared all the ingredients, you can start making the Chinese Yam Cake. In the next section, we will guide you through the cooking process.

Cooking Techniques

Chinese yam cake being steamed in a bamboo steamer, with steam rising and a fragrant aroma filling the air. Ingredients like yam, rice flour, and sugar are laid out nearby

Steaming the Yam Cake

To make a Chinese yam cake, you will need to steam it. Steaming is a popular cooking technique in Chinese cuisine that involves cooking food over boiling water. In order to steam your yam cake, you will need a steamer basket and a wok. Fill the wok with water and bring it to a boil. Place the steamer basket on top of the wok and add your yam cake mixture. Cover the steamer basket with a lid and steam the yam cake for about 45 minutes.

Frying Aromatics

To add flavour to your yam cake, you can fry some aromatics such as garlic and fried shallots. Heat up some shallot oil in a wok and add minced garlic. Fry until fragrant, then add the fried shallots. Fry for a few more seconds and then set aside. You can then add this mixture to your yam cake mixture before steaming.

Seafood can also be added to the yam cake mixture to give it an extra flavour. Dried shrimps or chopped fresh prawns can be used to add a seafood flavour to the yam cake. Soaking the dried shrimps or prawns in water before adding them to the mixture can help to soften them and make them easier to cook.

Seasoning and Flavour

Chinese yam cake being seasoned with soy sauce, sesame oil, and spices in a mixing bowl

Balancing Spices and Seasonings

When it comes to seasoning your Chinese Yam Cake, it's important to find the right balance of spices and seasonings. Salt, pepper, and five spice powder are all essential ingredients that will bring out the flavour of the yam and other ingredients. However, it's important not to overdo it, as too much seasoning can overpower the natural flavour of the dish.

To add depth to the flavour of your yam cake, consider adding some chicken powder or sugar to the mix. These ingredients will help to enhance the overall taste of the dish and give it that extra kick.

If you're looking to add some seafood to your yam cake, consider using dried shrimp or other small seafood. These ingredients will add a salty and savoury flavour to the dish, and will complement the yam and other ingredients nicely.

Creating the Perfect Batter

The batter is a crucial component of your Chinese Yam Cake, as it helps to hold the dish together and gives it a nice texture. To create the perfect batter, you'll need to use a combination of flour, water, and seasonings.

When making your batter, be sure to use a good quality flour that will give your yam cake a nice, light texture. You can also add some ground white pepper to the batter to give it a bit of a kick.

To ensure that your batter is well-seasoned, consider adding some salt and pepper to taste. You can also add some five spice powder to the mix for added flavour.

Overall, seasoning and flavour are key components of a delicious Chinese Yam Cake. By finding the right balance of spices and seasonings, and creating the perfect batter, you can create a dish that is both tasty and satisfying.

Garnishing and Serving

Chinese yam cake being delicately garnished with sesame seeds and served on a decorative plate

Adding the Final Touches

To add the final touches to your Chinese Yam Cake, garnishing is a must. You can add a variety of garnishes to your yam cake to enhance its flavor and presentation. Here are a few options you can consider:

  • Spring onion: Chop some spring onions finely and sprinkle them on top of the yam cake. This will add a fresh, oniony flavor to the dish.
  • Red chilli: If you like your food spicy, add some finely chopped red chilli to your yam cake. This will give it a nice kick of heat.
  • Sesame seeds: Toast some sesame seeds and sprinkle them on top of the yam cake. This will add a nutty flavor and a nice crunch to the dish.
  • Fried shallots: Fry some shallots until crispy and sprinkle them on top of the yam cake. This will add a savory, oniony flavor and a nice crunch.

Serving Suggestions

Once your Chinese Yam Cake is ready, it's time to serve it. Here are a few serving suggestions:

  • Dipping sauce: Serve your yam cake with a dipping sauce on the side. Soy sauce, sweet chilli sauce, and Chinese sweet soy sauce are all great options. You can also make your own dipping sauce by mixing soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and garlic.
  • Seafood: If you want to add some protein to your dish, consider adding seafood. Shrimp, scallops, and crab meat are all great options. Simply sauté them in a pan with some garlic and ginger and serve them on top of the yam cake.
  • Green onion: Chop some green onions and sprinkle them on top of the yam cake. This will add a fresh, oniony flavor and a nice pop of color to the dish.

With these garnishing and serving suggestions, your Chinese Yam Cake will be a hit at your next dinner party.

Frequently Asked Questions

A table with ingredients and utensils for making Chinese yam cake, a recipe book open to the page, and a steaming pot on the stove

What ingredients are needed for a traditional Chinese yam cake?

To make a traditional Chinese yam cake, you will need fresh yam, dried shrimps, dried shiitake mushrooms, rice flour, and water. Some recipes may also call for Chinese sausage, scallions, and soy sauce. If you prefer a vegetarian version, you can omit the dried shrimp and use vegetable broth instead of water.

How can I make a Chinese yam cake using rice flour?

To make a Chinese yam cake using rice flour, you will need to mix the rice flour with water until it forms a smooth batter. Then, cook the yam, mushrooms, and shrimp in a wok until fragrant. Mix the cooked ingredients with the batter and steam the mixture until it sets. You can also add Chinese sausage or scallions for extra flavour.

What's the best way to achieve a firm texture in my yam cake?

The key to achieving a firm texture in your yam cake is to use the right amount of water in the batter. Too much water can result in a soggy texture, while too little water can make the cake too dry. It's important to also mix the ingredients thoroughly to ensure that the batter is evenly distributed.

Could you suggest a simple method for preparing Chinese yam cake?

A simple method for preparing Chinese yam cake is to mix the rice flour with water until it forms a smooth batter. Then, mix in the cooked yam, mushrooms, and shrimp, along with any other desired ingredients such as Chinese sausage or scallions. Steam the mixture until it sets, and serve with your favourite dipping sauce.

For how many days is it safe to store homemade yam cake?

Homemade yam cake can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days. To reheat, simply steam the cake until heated through. It's important to note that yam cake can spoil quickly, so it's best to consume it within a day or two of making it.

What cultural importance does yam cake hold in Chinese cuisine?

Yam cake is a popular dish in Chinese cuisine, especially in southern China and Hong Kong. It is often served as a savoury snack or as part of a dim sum spread. In Chinese culture, yam is believed to have health benefits such as improving digestion and boosting energy levels. The dish is also associated with the Chinese New Year and is said to bring good luck and prosperity.

As a suggestion, you can use fresh prawns or scallops as a substitute for dried shrimps in your recipe. These seafood options can add a unique flavour and texture to your yam cake.