Thursday, October 29, 2009

Recipe for Nonya Yam Cake

Photo collage of home-cooked Nonya Yam Cake

Yum..yum! So delicous, tasty and finger-linking! I just love it!

A favourite savoury snack, the steamed Nonya Yam Cake has been a must-have for every festive season or birthday celebrations in our home in previous years. But, gone are the days where much cooking was done in preparation of those happy occasions. Nowadays, as we age gracefully, my darling John and I would rather dine out with our family at various restaurants or eateries, trying other chefs' wonderful favourites than our own. One is really spoilt for choices, where sky is the limit for culinary delights in Malaysia.

I love cooking, though interest to try new cooking/baking recipes has waned drastically over the years since our children left the nest to start their own families. No more fun cooking for just the two of us, more so, when certain essential ingredients have to be omitted or quantity reduced due to health reasons.

Home-cooked Nonya Yam Cake in a rounded container
Nonetheless, every now and then, I would still cook this popular Nonya Yam Cake whenever I'm in the mood or when there's a special request or just to treat some friends.

That opportunity came just a week ago when Catholic families in the neighbourhood gathered in our home for a prayer meeting.

They just love it and helped to polish up almost every morsel! And, I love to watch them gorging it too...haha, so rewarding to know that my labour of love was appreciated! :-D

Steamed Yam Cake is such a favourite food for Malaysians! Locals eat it at anytime, can be for breakfast, lunch, tea, dinner or supper, and sold almost everywhere, at the market places, eating stalls and restaurants, even at megamalls and hotels.

Here's sharing :

Recipe for Nonya Yam Cake

    Photo collage showing some of the ingredients used for Yam Cake
  • 500 gm rice flour
  • 6 1/2 glasses of filtered water (approx. 2 litre)
  • 600 gm yam, preferably the imported variety from China (wash, skinned and cubed)
  • 100 gm shallots (sliced thinly)
  • 100 gm dried shrimps (wash, drained and pounded)
  • 100 gm of preserved vegetable or 'choy poh', optional (wash and diced)
  • 2 cubes of chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 teaspoon 5-spice powder
  • 4-6 tablespoon cooking oil for frying
  • 2 sprigs of spring onions and red chillies for garnishing (sliced)

  1. Combine the rice flour with water, salt and 5-spice powder thoroughly in a saucepan and set aside.
  2. Heat up the oil in a kuali and stir-fry shallots till golden brown. Dish out on a strainer and set aside for garnishing.
  3. Next, fry the pounded dried shrimps (add more oil if necessary) till slightly brown, then add in the preserved vegetable and continue frying till golden brown. Dish out on a strainer and set aside for garnishing, retaining about a tablespoon of this mixture in the kuali.
  4. In the remaining heated oil with the tablespoon of the dried shrimps mixture, add in the cubed yam and chicken stock to stir-fry altogether for about 5 mins.
  5. Pour in the well-mixed rice flour mixture (refer to step 1) to the yam mixture and keep stirring continuously over high heat. Then, reduce to low heat as the mixture starts to thicken like custard. Turn off heat.
  6. Transfer the yam mixture into a 29-cm round cake tin and steam for 45 mins.

    Photo collage showing preparation of mixture for Yam Cake steaming

  7. Leave to cool and set (takes about 7-8 hrs. to set firmly).
  8. Then garnish with the fried dried shrimps mixture, fried shallots, spring onions and red chillies ( can see that missing from my pictures...forgot to buy!). Serve with chilli sauce and a brownish-sweetened sauce known locally as 'timzheong'.
Brown sauce ('timzheong') :
  1. Pound or blend together 4 shallots, 4 pips of garlic, half a thumb-size of ginger and 2 tablespoon of 'tow-cheong' (fermented soya beans).
  2. Saute the pounded ingredients in 1-2 tablespoon of cooking oil until fragrant.
  3. Add a large bowl of filtered water and bring to boil.
  4. Sprinkle some thick soya sauce for colouring. Drizzle some light soya sauce, and add 1 tablespoon of sugar, half a teaspoon of fine salt and 2 tablespoon of tomato sauce (the latter is optional, but I like it for a sourish tinge) for taste. Continue to simmer for a while.
  5. Thicken the mixture with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, premixed with 2 tablespoons of water. Stir well and off heat. Ready to serve.


  1. Jacqueline, Congratulations! You have successfully made your avatar appear in my blog. I can click on your links too and I was sent here. Cheers!

    Yam cake is my favourite. Now Amy Beh has a new competitor!

  2. Thanks, Autumn Belle...without your assistance, that would have been impossible!
    LOL!!...Amy Beh has better watch out! Seriously, I'm no match at all, haha!


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