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Steamed Taro Cake 芋头糕-- without use of dark soy sauce

Steamed Taro Cake 芋头糕-- without use of dark soy sauce

Steamed Taro Cake 芋头糕-- without use of dark soy sauce

Steamed Taro Cake 芋头糕-- without use of dark soy sauce

This is my family’s version of taro cake 芋头糕. It tastes much better than those store bought bland mushy ones. The secret here is not about the big dried shrimps or big pieces of taro you put in it. The trick is to saute all ingredients until aromatic before adding the flour mixture. I like my taro cake full of flavor so I season it well, especially ground white pepper. The cake is very yummy eaten just by itself, no dipping sauce of any kind is needed. In Malaysia, there is  also a “brown” version of taro cakes if dark soy sauce is used. You can skip the dark soy sauce if you prefer.

Steamed Taro Cake 芋头糕--oh no! I forgot to dress up the cake (garnish)!

Steamed Taro Cake 芋头糕 before garnish-- This one is made using dark soy sauce.

Steamed Taro Cake 芋头糕 Recipe (makes 2 round 11-inch glass pan, cakes are about 2 inches tall)

Ingredients:

Flour mixture:
1 pack (1 lb) rice flour
1 tbsp wheat starch flour 澄面粉 (optional)– see note below
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp dark caramel sauce 黑酱油 (optional)– see note below
4 1/2 cup water
1 tsp cooking oil

2 cloves garlic– finely chopped
2 tbsp dried shrimp– rinsed and roughly chopped
4 medium dried mushrooms– soaked until soft then thinly sliced
3 Chinese sausages (Cantonese style)– chop into small pieces
2 lbs taro– trim off skin and cut into 1cm cubes

Seasoning:
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground white pepper
2 tsp dark caramel sauce 黑酱油 (optional)– see note below
1 tsp chicken bouillon powder
1 tbsp fried shallot

Garnish:
Chopped green
Chopped cilantro
Fried shallots
Fresh red pepper (optional)– thinly sliced

Method:

  1. For flour mixture: mix all ingredients to blend well and set aside for at least 30 minutes for the flour to soak up the moisture (put in the fridge overnight if desired).
  2. Heat up a shallow pan/wok with 3 tbsp oil. Saute garlic and dried shrimp until aromatic. Add in mushroom and sausages and taro cubes, continue saute until aromatic and the taro flavor comes out. Add in seasoning and stir to combine well.
  3. Pour in flour mixture (stir mixture again before pouring in) and stir constantly to distribute evenly. Turn down heat to medium and keep stirring until the mixture resembles of thick paste. Remove from heat and scoop the half-cooked mixture into 2 glass pans evenly. Smooth the top.
  4. Steam taro cakes on high heat for 45-50 minutes. If you use 1 steamer and stack 2 trays of cakes on top of each other, be sure to switch the trays half way through steaming. Let the cakes cool slightly (remove any excess water on top of the cake) before sprinkling green onion, cilantro, fried shallots and red pepper on top of the cake.

Regina’s Note:

  • wheat starch flour 澄面粉: Adding wheat starch will make the cake to have a slightly firm texture instead of the normal soft and slightly mushy texture. But, only adding a little is enough or else the taro cake will be too firm.
  • Dark caramel sauce 黑酱油: This is a thick molasses sauce that is black in color. Please not to be confused it with Taiwan style thick soy sauce 酱油膏, as one is sweet and the latter one is salty in flavor. Also, it is different from the Indonesian style dark molasses sauce, as the latter has a much sweeter taste. Skip this ingredient if you can’t find it.
  • This is Malaysian style taro cake 芋头糕, with lots of ground white pepper added and use dark soy sauce. It’s darker and more peppery than the usual Cantonese style.
  • Leftover taro cakes tastes super delicious pan fried with a little oil– crispy on the outside! If desired, add an egg too… you’ll love it!

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Look is deceiving– this speaks so well for this wonderful vegetable dish. Everyone, including myself, who first look at this dish will think that there’s nothing special about it, but after the first bite then there’s the treasure. My sifu Aunty Wang brought this dish for our CNY potluck, I love it so much that I decided buy the ingredients and make it that weekend. Richard told me that when he saw the food he thought it is made of all kinds of yucky veggie leftovers, but then he was hooked after the first bite. This dish is best eaten at cold or room temperature as you can really taste the different flavors– and that is why I can eat it 3 days straight and still don’t get tired of it, because each type of vegetable has its unique flavor, and all the flavors go very well together.

According to Aunty Wang, this is a typical Shanghai CNY dish. Chinese is very particular about new year food. Combo in Mandarin is called ‘Shi Jin’– sounds like ten ‘Shi’, and thus the name is called Ten-Veggie Stir Fry. Of course, you don’t have to include all ten ingredients. You can also substitute one for the other like shredded tofu puffs, preserved sweet turnip etc…, but avoid using vegetable that has high liquid content or draws out liquid over time like bell peppers, black fungus etc… so the food can be kept longer in the fridge without turning slimy or watery.

10 Veggie Stir Fry Combo

Ten-Veggie Combo

Ingredients for Ten- Veggie Combo

Ingredients for Ten- Veggie Combo

Ten-Veggie Combo Recipe

Ingredients:
*4 pcs five-spiced tofu–slice each piece horizontally then cut into thin strips
*1 cup dry lily flower ‘jin zhen chai’– soaked till soft, then tie a knot and remove the stem part, rinse 2 times to remove any yellow color.
*1 carrot–cut into thin strips
*1 cup preserved salty & sour mustard green stems (hum swiin choy)– cut into thin strips, then rinse two times to remove the saltiness.
*1 cup frozen bamboo shoots– cut into thin strips. See note below.
1 pack shredded white tofu (tou kan si)– available in Chinese grocery stores– soak in water to loose up
1 lb soy bean sprout– remove the brownish bottom, rinse and drain
6 medium Chinese mushrooms– soaked overnight– remove stems and thin sliced
2 1/2 cup Chinese celery stems– remove the leaves and the “string”, cut into 2-inch long
10 red hot peppers– chopped
2-3 cloves garlic (optional)– finely chopped
1 tbsp sugar

seasoning:
salt to taste
soy sauce to taste– for ingredients with *
chicken bouillon powder to taste

Method:

  1. Heat up wok. Add a little oil and saute the first 8 ingredients, one at a time, until aromatic. Lightly season to taste. For ingredients with *, add a little soy sauce too. For soy bean sprout: saute on very high heat. When the liquid draws out, continue sauteing until the liquid dries out. Dish out all veggies into a big bowl.
  2. Heat wok again, saute garlic and peppers until aromatic. Return all sauteed veggies back to the wok, add celery stems and stir for a few more times to combine. Add sugar and seasoning to taste.

Note:

  • Bamboo shoots: frozen is better than canned ones. I seldom use bamboo shoots so I skip this ingredient.
  • Once cooling down completely, this dish can be chilled in the fridge and can be kept for 8-10 days, just use a clean dry spoon to take out the portion you need each time.

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am not a big fan of Chinese mushroom but this is really good. I learned it from a friend at a potluck party. Don’t let the name mislead you into thinking that this stew dish takes a long time to cook– it’s very simple and pretty quick as long as the mushrooms are soaked through.

Stewed Chinese Mushrooms

Stewed Chinese Mushrooms

Stewed Chinese Mushrooms Recipe

Ingredients:
20-30 medium Chinese mushrooms — soaked overnight
1 clove garlic– finely chopped
1 can chicken broth
1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar

seasoning:
3/4 tsp chicken bouillon powder
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp sesame oil
(note: if you have oyster sauce feel free to add to the seasoning, adjust to taste)

Method:

  1. Squeeze off excess liquid from mushroom and trim off the stems. Cut into 1/2, 1/3 or 1/4 size if desired.
  2. Season the mushroom with the seasoning and mix well. Let it stand for at least 20 minutes.
  3. Heat up a deep pan and fry garlic until aromatic but not burn. Add mushrooms and quick stir to prevent sticking.
  4. Pour in chicken broth and let it boil. Turn heat down to medium, half cover, and cook until the sauce gets thicken. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Adjust seasoning to taste. Garnish with some blanched/steamed green vegetables i.e. broccoli, baby bok choy, mustard, lettuce etc… if desired for nicer presentation.

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Sticky Rice Kueh

Sticky Rice Kueh

This is another savory kueh that I like. In Hokkien it is called “Pao P’ng Kueh”. Very often this kueh is sold side by side with ‘soon kueh’. This is a steamed kueh. The filling consists of seasoned sticky rice with some mushroom, dried shrimps, peanuts and a bit of preserved veggie ‘mui choy’. Just like ‘soon kueh’,  ‘Pao P’ng Kueh’ tastes good when fresh from steamer, and I like to pan fry the leftovers the next day as the skin will be crispy. The photo above was taken when I made them long long time ago– hmm… maybe it’s time to make them again (will dig out the recipe and post on the blog when I make it next time).

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