Recipes for Chinese New Year: Yam Cake
6 months ago by The Food Journal Editor
For Daniel Tay, the chef, entrepreneur and founder of online bakery Old Seng Choong, yam cake holds fond memories. “My mother used to make this for us all the time and now that we’re grown and have families of our own, she still makes big batches and portions them out for my siblings and relatives,” says the good-natured 46-year-old.
Using the right ingredients makes all the difference. Tay recommends using Thai yam, which is more tender, and Sarawak white pepper for its more vibrant flavour. “This batter is very versatile, so you can add pumpkin or other ingredients and make your own creation,” he added. Making it from scratch isn’t difficult, but there is a good amount of chopping and prep involved. But many hands make light work indeed, so gather your family members and bond over the making of this delicious Lunar New Year treat.
140g dried shiitake mushroom
oil, for deep frying
490g Thai yam, cubed
75g dried shrimp
160g bangkwang (jicama), sliced
into thin batons
2g ground white pepper
250g rice flour
75g potato starch
90g wheat starch
40g Hong Kong wei fen
5g chicken stock powder
- Place the dried mushrooms in a large bowl, and cover with hot water. Let mushrooms soak for at least 10 minutes, then drain, reserving the soaking water. Slice the mushrooms thinly, discarding their stems. Set aside.
- To prepare the yam, heat the oil in a wok till its surface starts to shimmer slightly, then fry the yam till crisp and golden. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the yam to a large plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oil. Set aside.
- Remove all but half a cup of oil from the wok. Return wok to medium heat and fry the dried shrimps and sliced mushrooms till fragrant, about 4 minutes.
- Add the bangkwang and fry for another 3 minutes, then add the peanuts. Fry until the bangkwang is tender, about 3 minutes. Add a large pinch of ground white pepper and stir to mix. Remove wok from the heat and set aside.
- Place the rice flour, potato starch and wheat flour in a large bowl and whisk to mix. Set aside.
- Fill a large pot with 1kg of water and the reserved mushroom soaking liquid. Bring to a boil and add the wei fen, chicken stock powder, salt and the remaining pepper. Stir to mix.
- Add the fried yam to the pot along with the fried shrimp and mushroom mixture. Stir to mix.
- Add the flour mixture and stir vigorously. The mixture will start to thicken very quickly. Once it starts thickening, remove the pot from the heat and keep stirring till it all thickens into a thick, gloopy texture.
- Grease a 30cm x 30cm baking tin. Pour the mixture into the tin and steam for 1.5 hours.
- Let the steamed yam cake cool completely at room temperature, then refrigerate until it is very cold.
- To serve, unmould the yam cake from its tin, slice thickly, then panfry. Serve immediately.
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