Sunday, November 07, 2010

Savoury Steamed Pumpkin Cake Recipe, using rice flour

Pumpkins were sold sinfully cheap at the Giant Hypermarket last weekend! Just RM0.89 for a kilogram! So cheap that I simply couldn't resist buying one that weighed 1.7 kg for just RM1.51!

What should I do with it now, I wondered after my purchase? Probably try to steam the Chinese-style savoury pumpkin cake myself, a snack that I've often bought and relished. And what I set out to do, I accomplished three days ago! Ta..da my home-steamed savoury pumpkin cake as photographed below! Yum-yum!!

Savoury Steamed Pumpkin Cake with rice flour, a traditional Chinese cooking

Frankly, I've never cooked a pumpkin dish all my life, let alone skin one before! Gosh...I didn't know it has such a hard skin and that it was so difficult to skin a pumpkin! I tried using a sharpened meat chopper and then a kitchen knife which took me more than half an hour just to skin the pumpkin! Thank God there weren't any blisters on my palms the next morning.

Whatever, it sure was worth all the effort in my first attempt as my savoury pumpkin cake turned out better than I had expected! Thumbs up from my beloved John and his mother who enjoyed it for lunch! Simply add a little more salt will be just perfect, said everyone who've tasted it including a couple of dear friends and myself. Hmm....didn't know that pumpkin can be so very sweet!

Steamed Pumpkin Cake, like the nonya steamed yam cake, is a traditional Chinese savoury snack. You can serve it for breakfast or as tea-time snacks or even eat it for lunch and dinner which can be rather filling since pumpkin and rice flour form the bulk of its ingredients.

Googling for an appropriate recipe for the savoury steamed pumpkin cake had me so muddled as there were so many variants with differing weight in its ingredients. Nonetheless, after making comparisons and using my recipe for steamed nonya yam cake as a basis too, I decided to go ahead with my final concoction below (I've increased the saltiness after my first trial).

Recipe for Savoury Steamed Pumpkin Cake


Collage of pumpkin, main ingredient for savoury steamed pumpkin cake recipe

  • 800 gm pumpkin nett - to be skinned, membrane and seeds removed and diced (a whole pumpkin weighing 1.3 kg will yield about 800-850 gm pumpkin flesh)
  • 120 gm shallots - sliced
  • 120 gm dried shrimps - washed, soaked to soften, drained and chopped
  • 120 gm preserved vegetable ('choy poh') - washed and diced
  • 120 gm chicken fillet - diced
  • 5 dried Chinese mushrooms - soften and diced
  • 2 Chinese sausages - sliced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp chicken granules
  • 1 cup of cooking oil (approximate)
  • 3 sprigs of spring onions and 2 red chillies for garnishing - sliced

(thoroughly mix the ingredients below in a large bowl and set aside)
  • 500 gm rice flour
  • 1.3 litre water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Chinese 5-spice powder

  1. Heat up 9 tbsp of cooking oil and stir-fry the sliced shallots until golden brown. Dish out and when cooled, store in an airtight container to retain crispiness.
  2. In the remaining shallot oil (adding more oil if necessary), stir-fry minced dried shrimps till slightly brown. Add in the diced 'choy poh' and fry till cooked and fragrant. Dish out ½ of the mixture on a strainer, to be set aside for garnishing.
  3. Add in the chicken granules and toss in the chicken meat to stir-fry with the remaining dried shrimps mixture in the wok.
  4. Add in the diced mushrooms and chinese sausages. Stir-fry for 2 mins.

    Ingredients for savoury steamed pumpkin cake with rice flour

  5. Now, add in the diced pumpkin, salt and pepper, and continue to stir-fry for another 5 mins with a little water.
  6. Finally, pour in the rice flour batter mix to the pumpkin mixture. Stir to mix everything evenly on low fire, stirring continuously until mixture thickens. Turn off the fire.

    Preparing pumpkin and rice flour mixture for Chinese-styled savoury steamed pumpkin cake

  7. Spoon the custardy contents into a 29-cm round pan and spread out to level smoothly with a spatula.
  8. Steam over boiling water on high to medium heat for 1 hour.
  9. Once the pumpkin cake is done, sprinkle in the dried shrimps and 'choy poh' mixture. Turn off heat, remove from steamer and allow to cool.

    Chinese-style savoury steamed pumpkin cake, garnished with fried dried shrimps and preserved vegetable Final result: Chinese-style savoury steamed pumpkin cake, using rice flour

  10. Garnish with shallot crisps, spring onions and red chillies.
  11. Cut into slices and serve with chillie sauce or tomato sauce.

I'm absolutely delighted that now I've another new recipe added to my list. How lovely, this will surely make an interesting pot-luck dish for parties or other religious and social gatherings. Or simply to cook for my beloved family! :-)

Excess uneaten pumpkin cake can be stored in the fridge (not the freezer) for up to a week. Simply steam again or just pan-fry in a non-stick pan to serve. Realized that the steamed pumpkin cake, pan-fried a day or two later tasted so much more delicious! Hehe... was it because I've added a dash of light soya sauce as it was a little too sweet originally? We had it for lunch again today with fresh garnishing and it was just fabulous!

Pan-fried savoury steamed pumpkin cake

Update: Jan 9, 2011

I rolled out this dish again for our family's Christmas get-together on 26 Dec. 2010, a halal one without the Chinese sausages and excluded the chicken and mushrooms too. Instead, I increased the dried shrimps and preserved vegetable to 150 gms each. Moreover, I chose to grate the pumpkin instead of cubed and the texture turned out great, with the pumpkin more evenly spread and looking fantastic, I think!
Tasted fabulous too...haha!

Savoury steamed pumpkin cake, using rice flour and grated pumpkin, etc.


  1. This Savoury Steamed Pumpkin Cake looks very delicious and tasty. Great thing about it is the mushroom.
    Chinese mushrooms
    should be in our daily diet, like zhu ling. Growing below ground on decaying roots and other wood debris, this mushroom can remain in wet soil for over a year without rotting - a testament to its powerful antimicrobial properties.

  2. Thanks, it sure was finger-licking delicious though a little lacking in salt!


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