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Yam Cake Recipe (Or Kuih)

Yam Cake (Or Kuih)
Yam Cake (Or Kuih) pictures (5 of 5)

Whenever I go home to Malaysia, I would always stuff myself crazy with all sorts of kuih (local sweet or savory cake). One of my favorite is or kuih, or yam cake made of yam (in the US, yam is referred as taro). I have never attempted making kuih in the US though. Today, I have invited a fellow Penangite Su-Yin Koay of Bread et Butter to share the savory and mouthwatering or kuih recipe. Bread et Butter is a beautiful blog with many recipes: Malaysian, Chinese, baking, and all sorts of goodies. You can also find culture guide articles bout Malaysia, Penang, etc. Please welcome Bread et Butter to Rasa Malaysia and do visit her wonderful food blog. Now I could only wish that I have some or kuih for my tea break today!

I was very excited when Bee asked me if I would like to write a guest post for her blog–I mean, this was Rasa Malaysia, one of my favourite food blogs out there! She’s taught me so much about Malaysian and Chinese cooking, and it is truly an honour to have a chance to do this.

One of the things I’ve always enjoyed eating is yam cake (“or kuih” in Hokkien, where “or” = yam, “kuih” = snack or cake). It is a popular snack amongst the Malaysian and Singaporean communities, and is basically a steamed kuih made from yam pieces, dried prawns and rice flour. It is then topped with deep fried shallots, spring onions, chillis and dried prawns, and usually served with a chilli dipping sauce.

I grew up eating my grandma’s or kuih, and I remember thinking how it would be so cool if I knew how to make it. However I would always be at school when she made or kuih, so I never really learnt how it was made. And if I were being perfectly honest, I was only really interested in eating it… it also didn’t help that there was always a ready supply of it.

Of course, this changed when I came to England. I have yet to find a restaurant here that serves decent or kuih, which is highly disappointing. So I decided to ask my grandma for her or kuih recipe so I could have a go at making it myself. And you know what – I don’t know why I never tried making this before, because it is actually pretty simple! Sure, there’s a bit of prep work involved in dicing the yam, but apart from that it’s quite a breeze.

The best part of her recipe is that it uses rice bowls as a measure. How brilliant is that? The ratio that’s used is 2 bowls water: 1 bowl flour: 1½ bowls yam. Of course, this means nothing is perfectly accurate in terms of weight, but some degree of variation actually doesn’t alter the final product too much. It also does not matter what size your bowl is, as long as it’s a Chinese style rice bowl (i.e. not a wide and shallow cereal bowl, for instance). Just follow the 2:1:1½ ratio and you’re sorted.

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50 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. Teoh

    Hi, I am from Penang and missed this or kuih. I can actually get most of the ingredients and so I think I can try to make it. I like eating my or kuih with tee cheo (sweet sauce) but I think it will be impossible to get where I am. Thank you for the recipe.

  2. What a wonderful guest to get to your beautiful blog Bee. Thank you for sharing such an intriguing recipe Su-yin. I love savoury snacks, and this is something entirely different from anything I’ve ever heard of. Love the topping and the dipping sauce, as also the rice bowl measures! Gorgeous post!

  3. Here we go again.. Bee and Su Yin in the same room. This blog is wayyy too sexy!! :) And so does is this yam cake. I think i had it once and i loved it but i had no clue how to make it. Mystery solved! Thanks for sharing!

    • Zen – you sure have tried many exotic Malaysian/Asian foods. That’s great. I love a chef that has a “global” palate, it make you appreciate food so much more, right? :)

  4. dido

    I like to eat yam cake and tried to make this dish but have doubt on the ingredient, 5 shallot or 5 onion? because for the Method 1, you mentioned it as onion, abit confusing.

  5. cls girl

    My mom adds lap cheong and minced pork for the topping. She sprinkles the julienned chilli on one side so that the little ones can also enjoy. ingredients are easily available in the US asian food markets. Buy the big taro. I cheat on the cooking time by microwaving!

  6. Rita

    Thanks for sharing this yam cake recipe….made it and it tasted so good. Had lots of compliments on it….can’t wait to try others.

  7. Amelia Chee

    Tried it with the correct flour this time. Eating it warm with Maggie Chilli Sauce completes the yummy. I added Chinese sausage. Delicious! I’m off to try your Kuih Dadar next. Ribuan terima kasih for sharing!

  8. tryingtocook

    i really want to try this recipe but you put 1 bowl rice flour and 2 bowl water. What kind of bowl to be used. Can you convert them to cup and to ml.
    Also can i pour the mixture to non stick pan and cook it on stove instead of steaming it? If yes, how to do it and how long to cook it?

    • It needs to be steamed I’m afraid, cooking it on the stove won’t give you the same “kuih” effect (and won’t be able to but them into slices).

  9. Ai Lin

    Hi, I would like to get some clarification of the bowl used as a measurement for this Yam Cake. Are you referring to the typical Chinese rice bowl? Thanks.

  10. Just tried this recipe and no matter how long I steam, I can’t get the top part of the cake to “cook”. It’s still a little gooey. :( I tried for 2 hours! I don’t know if there’s something wrong with my steamer or I added too much water? But I followed using the ricebowl measurements! Sigh… on the plus side, though my yam cake looks ridiculous, it tastes nice!

  11. Yeoh

    Hi, can i check with you that how many serving does this recipe write for? i mean by the end, how big is the yam cake…

  12. Rebecca Lee

    I love to make Yam cake too but Ipoh style . We added in some fried minced 菜蒲 inside the yam cake and as part of the topping !! Use some tapioca flour with the rice flour as it will give the texture QQ . Some shops steamed and mashed some yam and cooked with the batter.

  13. KC

    I tried your recipe and it seems like it lacked saltiness in the final product. You may need to clarify or give a rough estimate for the bowl to be used as I feel the 0.5 teaspoon salt is not enough if bigger bowl is used.

    And, if the paste we get after pouring in the rice flour mix is suppose to be real sticky before we steam it?

    Nice recipe though for the toppings at least as my cake is tasteless in this try =(

    • Thanks for the feedback. If you read the post, you’ll see that it mentions any Chinese rice bowl (which to my knowledge, are usually fairly small, and about the same size). At any rate, it’s advisable to taste the yam mixture, and adjust the seasonings to suit your taste.

      And yes the mixture should become a thick, sticky paste.

  14. GK

    Hi there. I tried this recipe last night, and it turned out SUPERB. Wonderful taste. Some adjustment to the salt, pepper and all spice are needed, as the original recipe was a bit bland.

    • Glad you liked it. I think I’m just someone who doesn’t use much salt in my cooking! But good to hear that you adjusted the seasonings to good effect. :)

  15. khaiming

    Tried to make some oday but somehow didn’t turn out well. Couldn’t get the top part to cook. Maybe i cut my yam cubes too big. Will try again. But it taste good!

  16. Christina

    I tried two different recipes. One using rice flour +tapioca flour = tasted good bit kinda hard not soft. The one with cornstarch+ rice flour was softer. Next I will try with wheat starch and will let you know my verdict. Like you I love rshrimp. Will try most recipe with shrimp fresh or dried.

  17. Kathleen

    Hi, am keen to try to make this but am new to cooking, may I know what exactly is rice flour? Thanks! Looking forward to try!

  18. rachQ

    Hi Su Yin, suddenly search to your Yam recipe and very interesting on it. By the way, I have few query:
    1) When the flour mixture pure into the pan, is the fire still on or off?
    2) If I replace the yam to pumpkin, would it possible to be pumpkin kuih?

  19. lizzie

    Hi Bee may i suggest instead of bowl measurment, what if you pour any form of liquid in the measurement cups and this will be easy for your readers or participants interest. Hope my suggestion is useful.
    Asian cakes is flexible, whereas western cakes must have the accurate ratio.

  20. Joanne

    I found frozen yam at the Indian grocery. The regular grocery stores keep labeling sweet potato as yam which isn’t right. Raw yam is toxic, so I was careful not to touch them with bare fingers as they may get a burning sensation.
    Thanks for the recipe! It turned out very well. Sure satisfied my cravings.. :)

  21. melissa

    Hi Bee Yin,

    Reading the posts, it seems that the bowl measurements of ingredients are kind of tricky for many. Will u pls consider to convert them to the standard measuring cup measurements?


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