Yams are one of the Teochew people’s most favorite ingredients. They are used in most of the popular Teochew dishes like the famed yam paste, and in the delicious ngoh hiang (5-spice meat) rolls. In my family, my great aunt (grandma’s elder sister) is the person who makes the yam cakes in the family, and every year when I go home, I’m sure to have yam cake by her. I like my yam cakes full of yam, mushrooms and dried shrimp, and not full of kueh like you buy outside. As such, my yam cake is more like the homemade one that is just stuffed with ingredients, and I really like it that way. It’s not easy to make, but it is well worth the trouble. Yummy!
- 400g baby yams (or regular yams)
- 1 1/2 cup rice flour
- ~2 cups water
- 3 – 4 heaping tablespoons dried shrimp
- 10 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked (retain water used for soaking)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- a drizzle of sesame oil
- 2 large shallots or 6 smaller shallots, sliced
- 2 +2 tablespoons oil
- 1/2 white pepper powder
- 1/2 teaspoon five spice powder
Ingredients for Garnish
- fried shallots
- sweet dark soy sauce
- green onions, chopped
- red chili, sliced
Soak the dried shiitake mushrooms in warm water for about an hour, then slice chop them into small pieces.
Slice the yams into matchstick like pieces, then set aside.
Mix the rice flour and water together. May substitute some water for the water used to soak mushrooms for better flavor.
In a pan, add 2 tablespoons oil and fry the sliced shallots until the shallots start turning brown. Remove the shallots from the oil and let drain on top of kitchen towels. Retain the oil for later.
Add the matchstick yams into the pan with the shallot oil, and fry until the yams are cooked. They will turn a little transparent.
Add the fried yams to the bowl with the rice flour and water. Mix to combine.
In the same pan, add 2 tablespoons of oil and fry the dried shrimp and shiitake mushrooms.
When the mushrooms are fragrant, add the five spice powder, white pepper powder, soy sauce, sesame oil and the rice flour mixture with yams. Stir continously until the mixture thickens. (The thicker the mixture is, the harder the yam cake would be.)
Pour the thickened mixture into an oiled 8-inch baking pan. (You can see how yammy my yam cake is!)
Steam the baking pan and contents for 40 minutes.
Let cool before cutting.
Serve with whichever garnishes (use the shallots draining on the kitchen towel!) you like. Enjoy!