Yam Cake… the Savoury One of course!

Yam cake is the first thing I remember from my childhood memories. It was one of many items on my breakfast menu. I used to have it 2 to 3 times weekly. I never knew that since then it has grew and rooted deeply in my heart. I think about it always and I crave for it always.


My mom was the one usually that got breakfast for us. I remember that when my mom placed the breakfast on the table. The food was wrapped in a brown packet tied with rubber band. At the side, there were 2 types of sauce, a dark color sauce which is sweet and the red one was chilli sauce. I have always liked both drizzled on the yam cake. The sweet sauce brings sweetness to the yam cake and spicy chilli sauce added kicks to it. So, I popped open the brown packet, there… the rough cuts of yam cake that was hidden beneath the brown paper protection revealed itself. Garnishes like red chilli, fried shallots, spring onion were spotted. I always can’t wait to dig in. I quickly drizzled the sweet sauce and chilli sauce all over the yam cake and picked a piece and put in my mouth. Mmmmm..

Why I like yam cake? The taste is just divine. The powdery yam is like hidden gems in the yam cake. Whenever I take a bite and bite into the yam, what I get is the powdery texture with the bouncy rice cake texture. Then I have the taste from the dried shrimps, shallots and five spice powder. On top of that, the garnish is earthy peanut, fried shallots, a hint of spiciness from the fresh red chilli, I then drizzle with sweet sauce and chilli sauce to add more complicated taste to it.


In this recipe, there is addition of wheat starch. Wheat starch is used to to make the yam cake less sticky and the texture bouncier. You can opt out if you can’t find wheat starch. Wheat starch can easily be found in Asian grocery store especially selling guang dong/ hong kong ingredients.


Yam Cake (serves 4 person)
Yield 2 of 8-inch yam cake
Adapted from Kitchen Chaos


  • 350g of yam, cut into cubes
  • 1 ½ cup of rice flour
  • 4 cups of water
  • 2 tablespoon of wheat starch
  • 2 shallots, slice thinly
  • ½ tablespoon of dried shrimps, soak for 10 minutes and chop roughly
  • 2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoon of chinese five spice powder
  • ½ teaspoon of sugar
  • ½ teaspoon of ground white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • For garnish:
    • 2 tablespoon of fried shallots
    • 2 tablespoon of crushed peanuts
    • 1 chilli, slice thinly
    • 2 sprigs of spring onion, slice thinly
  • Serve with: Sweet Sauce & Chilli Sauce
  • I am using 8-inch ceramic deep dish plate for steaming the yam cake. You can use whatever container that you find suitable for steaming. But keep the height to 2 inches or less.


  1. Peel the skin of the yam and dice the yam. Please wear gloves throughout the whole process when you are working on the yam else your hands are going to be itchy.
  2. Next, combine rice flour, wheat starch, water, five spice powder, salt, white pepper in a bowl.  Mix well and then add water. Set aside.
  3. In a pan with medium heat, put in the oil. Once the oil is heated up, put in the dried shrimps & shallots, fry for 1 minute until the shallots turn soft. Add in the diced yam and continue to fry for about 5 minutes.
  4. Turn to low heat and add in the rice flour mixture. Use a spatula to help you to stir the mixture.
  5. Stir often until it coagulates to a semi solid state.
  6. Scoop the mixture into the plate and smoothen the surface.
  7. Steam the yam mixture for about 45 minutes. Check using a wooden stick. If nothing is sticking on the stick then it’s done.
  8. Garnish and cut into any shapes you like. Serve with sweet sauce and chilli sauce.

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