Friday, September 14, 2007

Sharon's Mom's Taro Kuih

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Have you noticed that all kuehs (a Malay word that probably came from the Hokkien word kuay for chinese steamed cakes and desserts) have become so commercialised that they taste just what they are made of: flour, sugar and boxed santan? There's hardly any jencaixheliao , real ingredients, in them. I don't eat kuehs unless they're home-made.

Taro kueh has that old Hakka (or is it Hokkien?) nostalgia to it. It reminds me of younger days before people had cheesecakes or pizzas or burgers. My mom used to make taro kuehs that tasted better than any you could buy. But that was before she became hypertensive. After that, her healthy taro kueh with low salt, seasoning and oil was so bland we totally boycotted her kueh and she never made it again. When Sharon, Wey's BM tuition teacher a couple of houses away, gave us some of her mom's taro kueh I was immediately reminded of how taro kueh should taste--savory sweet with a mixture of flavors from the yam, fried dried prawns and fried onions.
Typically, kuehs are made by 'feel' and experience so the quantity of some of the ingredients were not available. I have tested the recipe and this is the best I can go. You can make your own adjustments to the taste and texture of the kueh by adjusting the seasoning and amount of water and flour. Traditionally this kueh should be a nice shade of purple, if you can get hold of a really purple taro. Most commercial yam kuehs are artificially colored, so beware. Sharon's mom has generously agreed to share her delicious kueh recipe with us:

Yam Kueh

2.3 litres water
500g (after peeling) taro, diced into 3/4 cm cubes
3/4 cup (or more, up to you) dried prawns, washed & chopped coarsely
500g rice flour
3 t salt (more or less)
1/4 t pepper (more or less)
1/8 to 1/4 t 5 spice powder (to your liking)
2 t chicken stock granules & 1/8 t msg

Garnishing:

shallots, sliced finely n fried in oil till crisp
finely cut spring onions
finely chopped red chilies

1. Put 6 to 7 T veg oil into hot wok and add the dried prawns and fry till golden brown and crisp at low heat. If dried prawns aren't fried long enough, the kueh will lack flavor--I learnt this in my first try.

2. Add the taro and fry till light brown. Season fried ingredients with salt, pepper, msg, 5 spice powder and add the water (which seems a lot but will dry up) and rice flour, mixing well. Taste the batter and adjust seasoning to your liking. Continue frying at low heat ( mixture burns easily), stirring well for about 12 to 15 minutes until mixture is thick, stiff and 'springy'.

3. Grease a 12"/30 cm round tin and scoop the fried mixture in, pressing lightly to level and fill out the tin.

4. Steam at high heat for 50 min. Let kueh cool completely and slice it into small servings. Scatter the garnishing over the top. Any leftover can be kept in the fridge and later reheated by pan-frying with a little oil till light-golden.

5. Serve with a sweet chili sauce like Lingham's, and a mug of kopi-O.

Update 27/4/08: I've realised that 'taro' is the correct word for what we call 'yam' here, because 'yam' anywhere else refers to sweet potato.

13 comments:

Denise said...

WOops! I just printed out ur recipe for my collection. Haha, WU TAO KOU!!! anything comes with Taro are my Fav!!! * LOlz *

Can you make Yam rice???? hahaha

Have you eaten the Yam Rice (Wu Tao Fan) at "Seri Maju" , Asia City Mall (Same row with Japanese Goods shop), which they only served during lunch time, and dinner time they served Steamboat one? WOW! VEry nice Oo..

Shan said...

Besides the main market in KK where can I find fresh corriander? Are there any other stores?

Terri @ hungerhunger said...

denise: yes, yam's so delicious. i can't make yam rice n i 've heard of tt steamboat place but never been there. will def go n try d yam rice;thanks for telling! if u like yam 'kok' d corner shop behind Baptist Church at the entrance of Austral Park makes good ones n their tuaran noodles too but i haven't been there like more than a year now.

shan: i'm afraid i've only seen fresh coriander at markets like those in lido n foh san n d row of shops in front of Tshung tshin schl in d morning.n d tanjong aru market, tt would be nearer for u.

Shan said...

Good to know - thanks Terri :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Terri,

Just tried the Yam Kueh last week. Success at first try, if I have to say so myself. Yes I was also sceptical about the 2.3 liters of water as stated in the recipe. " o ye of little faith", I initially used 1.5 liters and only added the rest when the mix was looking too thick.
...but how did you garnish the kueh to look like in your pics? The wonders of digital photography? or perhaps painstakingly assembling each piece of the garnish, ha..ha..
Your recipe is now "kitchen tested"

goodfoodlover

Beatrice Chin said...

Your blog will be my first Food list from now on.it has food from every country!i'm sure my frens would love to share it with.

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

beatrice: and welcome to a blog tt tries to please every palate. do keep in touch!

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

anon: hi, Yi just told me about ur comment. i didn't reply bc I didn't have the comment widget in january. great to know u did well with this recipe; yi has always said u can cook very well n i agree bc ur ais kacang was excellent!heard about ah hock...

Anonymous said...

hi, was reading the ingredients and would like to confirm on the rice flour. Is it the glutinous rice flour?

terri@adailyobsession said...

anon: it is just rice flour.

Kathy said...

Hi, I made your taro kueh over the weekend and it tastes fantastic! The texture of the kueh is good as well. Oddly, it filled the 7 inch round pan to the brim though I only made half the serving size. Thank you for sharing. I enjoy reading your food blog.

Anonymous said...

Just found this web site and wow the recipes is amazing. I visited Malaysia nine years ago and still remember the delicious food. There is malaysian restaurant here in england but just don't taste the same.

Miz Parish

lawel381 said...

Greetings from Down under, Thanks for sharing the recipe. Works a treat considering that you cant exactly pop down the shop and pick up some "taro kuey" from where i live. keep up the good work i will continue to visit your site in the future.

Best Regards,
Elvin law
New Zealand

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