Yam Rice

I’ve been on the foodblog circle for a while, mostly as a reader & subscriber, until about 2 years ago. There have been many things that piqued my curiosity over the years. One thing that has perplexed me for a long time now is the confusion people have between yams and sweet potatoes.

Growing up, yams for us were always the white fleshed tuber that has purple flecks and is pretty much starchy and tasteless until flavour is added. Sweet potatoes on the other hand are usually coloured, orange, yellow, purple, white, and are… well, sweet. So when I came online and found out that people were calling sweet potatoes “yams”, I was confused! Turns out that supermarkets have been mislabeling these tubers, more so in the US.

So for the purpose of this recipe, the yam I refer to is what I have always known it to be – white firm flesh with purple specks and basically tasteless until flavouring is added. Also known as TARO in Japanese. Mmmkay?

About this dish, it’s one of those 1 pot rice dishes that we don’t cook enough! Floury bits of yam (taro), chewy chicken & shitake, crunchy fried shallots & fluffy rice.

The ingredient list seems long but they are generally pantry staples if you cook Asian food: washed Jasmine rice, yams, shitake mushrooms, dried shrimp, shallots, garlic, chicken breast, soy sauce, kecap manis, fish sauce, mirin, oyster sauce, cooking caramel, salt, pepper, oil & water.
Yam Rice 1

Seasonings all nicely mixed together.
Yam Rice 2

First and most important thing to do is to fry the sliced shallots until golden brown. It’s not yam rice unless it’s topped with tons of crispy fried shallots.
Yam Rice 3

While that is happening, dice up the humungous chicken breast.
Yam Rice 4

And toss into the seasoning to sort of marinate for a bit.
Yam Rice 5

Dice up the yams into roughly the same size as the chicken cubes.
Yam Rice 6

Once the first batch of shallots are golden brown, dish out and then toss in remaining shallots & garlic. We want them all fragrant, y’all.
Yam Rice 7

The nicely seasoned chicken & mushrooms are poured in with all the seasoning.
Yam Rice 8

I always try to get the rice grains as dry as possible just so there won’t be too much liquids in the pot. We don’t want soggy rice.
Yam Rice 9

Water & yam enters and then everything is simmered until totally done.
Yam Rice 10

Garnish with a ton of fried shallots!
Yam Rice 11

I brought this entire pot to my parents’ house for dinner.
Yam Rice 12

It was enough to feed 6 and then some.
Yam Rice 13

This is just a very easy way to feel a  very large crowd until they can eat no more.
Yam Rice 14

I’ll never stop looking out for 1 pot meals ever! What 1 pot meals do you always make?


“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” (Isaiah 36:26)

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Yam Rice
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Serves: 8
  • 12 oz. Yam/Taro, peeled & cubed
  • 2 cup Jasmine Rice, rinsed & drain thoroughly on fine mesh strainer
  • 2 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
  • 8 Shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2½ tbsp Dried Shrimp, soaked in warm water, drained and roughly chopped if large
  • 1 whole Chicken Breast, cubed
  • 8 dried Shitake Mushrooms, soaked in warm water, drained & sliced
  • 4 tbsp Oil
  • 2 tbsp Sweet Soy Sauce (kecap manis)
  • 3 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Oyster Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Dark Cooking Caramel (black sauce)
  • ½ tbsp Mirin
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • 3 cups Water + mushroom soaking water
  1. Heat up a pot large enough to hold at least 8 cups liquids.
  2. Add cooking oil. Fry ¾ of the shallots over MED-HIGH heat until golden brown. Strain out & set aside.
  3. Toss in remaining shallots & garlic. Fry until fragrant.
  4. Meanwhile measure out sauces & seasonings. Add chicken into seasoning to marinate for a short moment.
  5. Once garlic is fragrant, toss in chicken, mushrooms and dried shrimp and stir-fry until the meat changes color.
  6. Pour in rice & give a few stirs.
  7. Pour in water, followed by yam & bring to a simmer.**
  8. Cover pot & turn heat to a bare simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Check periodically to see if water has been all absorbed.
  9. Once water is all absorbed, turn off heat and leave to steam for 15 minutes.
  10. Use the rice scoop to stir the yam rice and loosen it up.
  11. Serve immediately with reserved fried shallot crisps and chopped scallions, if preferred.
**If using rice cooker, empty everything into rice cooker once water has been stirred into the pot with all the seasonings and ingredients. Cook as per rice cooker directions.

Recipe adapted from: Rasa Malaysia


  1. Wait, wait, wait. My mind is currently being BLOWN because my grocery store(s) have always referred to yams and sweet potatoes as the same thing… and this is the first time that I am realizing that they aren’t.

    This rice sounds fantastic, and I’m gonna have to see if I can get my hands on some true yams to give this one-pot dish of yours a shot!

    • Haha. I know! I was confused myself when I found out people labelled sweet potatoes as yams. Just like over here where they mislabel Cassia sticks for Cinnamon sticks.

      Would surely love to hear about your attempt if you do try this.


  1. […] difference between yam (taro) and sweet potato, do check out the little explanation I offered in my Yam Rice […]

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