Monday, October 28, 2013

Steamed Yam Cake and Steamed Radish Cake

Steamed Yam Cake (Orh Kueh, 芋粿, 芋头糕)
Ever since I found out that YB was a huge fan of the steamed yam cake, I have always wanted to make an attempt at the recipe. I would often ask my mum why she hadn't made any of late, and she would tell me that the these days, yam (or taro) are are quite expensive.

Fair enough.

Although I was really hoping for her to share her recipe with me. :)

Honestly, I never thought I would come to this stage where I'd be making any of our Malaysian dessert delights but I suppose when you're up for a cooking challenge (and always planning to tickle your hubby's heart through his tummy), you'd get there eventually.

Yam or taro is sold here in Melbourne for AUD $9.99 to $10.99 per kg, and the tuber roots tend to be packaged cut into half, lengthwise. They are not the rounds one we have back home, but longish, possibly 5-6cms longer than your hand.

My description is awful. I forgot to take a picture, sorry.

I adapted the recipe from Rasa Malaysia's site based on what I had in the kitchen as I was too lazy to keep buying all the ingredients to complete the recipe. I tend to stretch my weekly grocery budget whenever I plan to try out a new recipe, so I really should stop browsing the Internet for ideas and do something productive like cleaning the house. :(

Instead of shallots, I used some red onions instead, since they are quite pungent aromatic anyway.

For the topping, I used chopped red chilli, chopped coriander, dried turnip bits and chopped dried shrimps. I definitely missed the taste of shallots!

On a closer inspection, I'm impressed that it looks almost like the real deal, almost like my mum's! 

A homemade one tastes less doughy (like the ones sold at hawker stalls) and is more compact with dices of yam more visible to the eye. When kept overnight, it tastes so much better. 

What would I improve on the next time?
1. Must have shallots.
2. Reduce the amount of five spice powder used to 1/2 teaspoon. It was too strong to my liking.
3. Will not use chopped dried shrimps for the topping. I would prefer just shallots, coriander, red chilli, and dried turnip. (Spring onions sold here are gigantic and don't look very pretty once chopped/diced into pieces.)

Note: Instead of bowls as stated in the recipe, I changed them to measuring cups instead. I also steamed them in 2 different bowls as I didn't have a tray to steam it in.


Steamed Radish/Turnip Cake (Lo Bak Gou)

I never had the intention of making this dish, but I had a white radish root to make use of. Each time I opened the fridge's crisper drawer to grab some leafy vegetables, I'd spot the white root eyeing me mournfully as I tried my best to pretend it wasn't lying at the bottom of the drawer, being smothered by the kai lan, pak choy and broccoli. 

I wanted the fried version but in order to get to that stage, you'd have to steam it first so gah, I thought I'd just stick to the steamed version then and decided to use this recipe.

One of the mistakes I made was that I didn't grate the radish as finely as possible. I was too lazy to use my crappy grater which I had purchased for AUD$2.80 because it was hard work. :P

The trickiest bit for me was cooking the mixture until it was thicker and less watery. 

I am a hopeless bum in gauging it and I'm sure my mixture was still a bit wet when I started steaming it.

Using the same toppings I used for the yam cake, except for the dried shrimps, you'd think that this was steamed yam cake!

Texture wise, as I mentioned my mistake earlier (about the radish strips), the radish strips were visible as a whole when you cut through to the cake. It does add a bit of texture, which I don't mind, I suppose (neither does YB) but it wouldn't have passed a perfectionist chef's test.

It was bouncy springy, too, which I wondered whether it was due to some leftover moisture in the mixture I failed to remove before steaming it.

You can see how lumpy they are.

* I steamed 3 different batches in 3 different bowls.

Consumed the next day, it tasted awesome. Thanks to the chinese sausages, I suppose.

I cut them into slices and pan fried them for 15 mins on medium fire and they tasted great.

Anyway, don't judge me so harshly for my first attempts.  It's always so easy for a non-cook to comment (that I feel like slapping them, "Why don't you cook it yourself!") and we all know that practice makes perfect. :) 

I doubt I'll be having a second go at this anytime soon. Too much work involved and er, let's try to stick to healthy eating and cooking for the time being, shall we? :P

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