Yam or taro cake is a common Southeast Asian snack (mainly Singapore and Malaysia). This savoury steamed cake is often served fresh, drizzled with sweet soy and chilli sauce. It is a quick breakfast favourite. Another version of this yam cake is found in dim sum restaurants, where they are served sliced up and pan fried. Very much like the radish cakes one finds at dim sum places.
My favourite part of a yam cake is not the rice cake bit, nor the yam bit but the little itty bitty bits on top. The ‘breakfast style’ yam cakes are usually topped with crispy fried shallots, dried prawns and spring onions. So when I decided to make some yam cake, I knew I have to make it with loads of that delicious topping!
Most recipes call for the yam to be cubed and steamed. For my version, I shredded the yam, and cubed a handful of them and stir fried the lot with half of the dried prawns. The cubed yam and dried prawns gave the cake a more interesting texture and flavour, rather than having a mouthful of steamed rice flour and yam mush.
I also didn’t have a steamer or wok big enough, so I improvised and ‘steamed’ the cake in my oven in a water bath covered with foil. It worked well but I think I should reduce the cooking time in future as I found the finished cake a little overcooked.
Nonetheless, it was a very rewarding attempt. Loads of yummy yam cake – hubby and I had that for dinner, lunch and dinner again. One yam for three full meals – how economical!
250 grams rice flour
125 grams wheat flour
2 ½ cups warm water
¾ tbsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp five spice powder
1 medium sized yam, shred ¾ of the yam and cube the rest
120 grams dried prawns (minced and fried till crispy)
Fresh spring onion, chopped
Fresh chilli, finely diced
Stir fry the dried prawns till crispy. Remove and set aside. In the same wok, add 2 tablespoons of oil and stir fry the yam (both shredded and cubed) and half of the dried prawns. Add a little bit of water to soften the yam while cooking – fry for about five minutes or until the shredded yam is just cooked.
Mix the rice flour, wheat flour and add in the warm water. Mix well and add in salt, sugar, oil, white pepper and five spice. Add in the cooked yam and mix all the ingredients thoroughly. Oil a deep dish before adding the mixture and steam for 45 minutes on high heat. In my case, I steamed it in a water bath in my oven, covered tightly with foil. I recommend cooking it for 45 minutes or until the cake is springy and slightly firm to touch. (I cooked this one for 60 minutes which was a tad too long)
Now for the best bits – Cool the yam cake before garnishing with the rest of the dried prawns, crispy fried shallots, spring onion and chilli.
Serve drizzled with sweet soy (kecap manis) and chilli sauce. Enjoy!