Steamed Yam Cake (Taro) 芋粿

It’s a sad day today. I don’t talk much about current affairs or personal things here much as this is obviously a foodblog. But I feel an affinity to the events that took place to MH17. My in laws were due to arrive back Europe today and thankfully they weren’t on that fateful flight (they arrived this afternoon, thanks be to God!). Hubs and I flew home from Switzerland via Amsterdam on the exact same route just 3 months ago. It’s heartbreaking, it’s sad, it’s tragic. It could have been my in laws, it could have been us but it was MH17. “Life at best is very brief, like the falling of a leaf, like the binding of a sheaf, be in time.” Our lives are in God’s hands. My heart goes out to all affected by this tragedy.

Just as the Honeycomb Cake I shared a couple of days ago, Yam Cake is one of those night market treats that I hadn’t considered making until very recently. For some reason, there are always those unattainable, unreachable foods that seem impossible to make at home. Or so it seemed.

After having tried making Radish & Pumpkin Kueh a couple of months ago, I really wanted to try my hands on a different recipe. One that is less sticky. And then on Instagram, I came across Bee’s picture & recipe. Of course I had to make it. In fact, that evry same afternoon, I went out and got everything I need. By the same evening, it was already cooking on the counter. 🙂 Talk about efficiency! (ehem… more like greed).

In fact, in the past week, I’d already made this recipe twice and both times it turned out perfect!

This isn’t the first time I’ve cooked with yam and in case there is a confusion on the difference between yam (taro) and sweet potato, do check out the little explanation I offered in my Yam Rice recipe.

The ingredients for this recipe is not too different from my Radish version – Yam, Dried Shrimp, Chinese Sausage, Garlic, Shallots, Oil, Rice Flour, Tapioca Flour, Water, Garlic, Chinese 5-Spice, Chicken Bouillon (optional), White Pepper, Salt, Spring Onions, Red Chillies (optional).
Steamed Yam Cake 1

Peel the yam. It’s quite slippery so be careful!
Steamed Yam Cake 2

My trusty food processor took all the work out of grating. Very necessary kitchen tool, I say.
Steamed Yam Cake 3

This kitchen scale has been around since I could remember. 
Steamed Yam Cake 4

Flour slurry!
Steamed Yam Cake 5

This is where the flavouring comes in. I like my yam cakes a little peppery. 
Steamed Yam Cake 6

Fry off a good amount of dried shrimp and Chinese sausage to bring out as much umami as possible. Without dried shrimp, this cake would be tasteless, flavourless and totally bland.
Steamed Yam Cake 7

Garlic is added in much later as it burns easily.
Steamed Yam Cake 8

I like to give the shredded yam a little fry through to dry out a bit as well as soften very slightly. It’s a good enough headstart.
Steamed Yam Cake 9

And then the slurry is poured in. Keep stirring as the bottom can stick and burn.
Steamed Yam Cake 10

Once it has thickened into a paste, much like starchy glue, it’s ready for the steamer!
Steamed Yam Cake 11

I left this steaming until it solidified.
Steamed Yam Cake 12

When it’s done, don’t be surprised to see that the surface is a little glossy and damp. This will dry up nicely and everything in the world will be good again. 😉
Steamed Yam Cake 13

When all is done & cool, it needs a massive dose of garnish.
Steamed Yam Cake 14

I like this with loads and loads of extra fried shallots, fried dried shrimp and spring onions.
Steamed Yam Cake 15

This yam came is soft, chewy and full of pure yam flavour.
Steamed Yam Cake 16

I brought this to my church’s brunch and it was gone in a second.
Steamed Yam Cake 17

If you like yam cakes, I assure you, this is one reliable recipe that’s so simple you won’t believe you made it yourself.
Steamed Yam Cake 18

Do you have other Malaysian/local recipes for me to try?


“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” (Galatians 5:1)

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Steamed Yam Cake (Taro) 芋粿
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 15-20
  • 550g Yam, peeled & shredded
  • 6 tbsp Dried Shrimp, rinsed & roughly chopped
  • 1 Chinese Sausage, skinned & cubed
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 6 Shallots, sliced
  • 5 tbsp Oil, for frying shallots
  • 280g Rice Flour
  • 70g Tapioca Flour
  • 1100ml Water
  • ¼ tsp 5-Spice Powder
  • 1 Chicken Seasoning Cube
  • 1 tsp White Pepper
  • 1 tsp Salt, or to taste
  • 2 stalks Spring Onions, sliced
  • 1 Red Chili, sliced
  1. In a large bowl, mix water, flours, chicken seasoning, 5-spice powder, salt & pepper. Set aside.
  2. Grease a 10 inch round pan, or pans that fit into your steamer. Can be done in batches.
  3. Heat up oil & fry the shallots till light golden brown. Scoop out from oil & over some paper towel to let cool for later use.
  4. Add minced dried shrimp cook at low heat till fragrant. Reserve 2 tbsp for topping.
  5. Toss in Chinese sausage & garlic. Stirfry for another minute.
  6. Add shredded yam and stir fry for a couple minutes.
  7. Pour in flour batter and cook at low heat.
  8. Keep stirring and scrapping bottom until mixture is gluey and thick.
  9. Bring water in the steamer to a rolling boil.
  10. Scoop the mixture into prepared container & steamed for 40 to 50 minutes, or until mixture is firm and cooked through.
  11. Remove pan from steamer and leave to cool completely before turning out onto a place.
  12. Top with spring onions, reserved fried golden shallots & dried shrimp as well as red chili and cut into cubes to serve alongside hoisin sauce.

Recipe adapted from: Honey Bee Sweets


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