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Poh's steamed five spice yam cake

Preparation time
Cooking time


  • 1½ cups rice flour
  • ½ cup cornflour
  • 1 litre cold water
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup (firmly packed) dried shrimps,soaked in hot water, squeezed and finely chopped
  • 2 Chinese sausages (lap cheong), finely chopped
  • 400g yam, peeled and diced into 1cm cubes
  • 1 tsp Chinese five spice powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ⅓ cup chopped shallots (green onions)
  • 3 tbsp roasted peanuts crushed
  • 3 tbsp fried shallots (homemade or bought from Asian grocer)
  • 1 mild long red chilli finely chopped
  • Garlic chilli sauce
  • 10 long red chillies, deseeded and chopped
  • 1⁄2 head of garlic, peeled
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1⁄2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 3 tbsp peanut oil


  1. In a wok (big enough to hold a 21–22cm round spring form cake tin), place a cooling rack to sit the baking tin on. Fill with enough water so there’s about 2cm space to the rack. Heat to a gentle simmer.
  2. Mix rice flour and cornflour with water to make a thin batter.
  3. Sauté shrimp and sausage in oil until slightly coloured and fragrant, 3–5 minutes. Add yam, five spice powder, salt, sugar and batter. Cook on medium heat, stirring and scraping the pan sides continuously until mixture is a thick starchy paste. Taste, season further if needed.
  4. Transfer to greased cake tin. Turn heat up so the water is at a moderate boil and steam cake with lid on wok for about 45–50 minutes. If a little wobbly when first out of steamer, cake will firm up on cooling. Sprinkle shallots, peanuts, fried shallots and chilli over the top and allow to cool to room temperature.
  5. To make the garlic chilli sauce, blitz chillies, garlic, vinegar salt, sugar and ketchup in a blender into a smooth paste. Pour into a pot and bring to boil. Allow to cool. Whisk in peanut oil to emulsify.
  6. To serve, cut yam cake into diamonds (while still in tin) about 4cm long, carefully lift each piece out and arrange in a circle to form a flower. Serve with garlic chilli sauce at room temperature. You may refrigerate and re-steam if there are left- overs.
Preparation time
Cooking time


Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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