Chinese Dim Sum Taro Cake (Wu Tao Gou)

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Chinese Taro Cake (Wu Tao Gou) 芋頭糕 - steamed, then pan fried

Do you like Dim Sum?  I LOVE eating Dim Sum… my only problem is that I find the entire experience to be VERY stressful, so it’s a love/hate thing for me.  I find myself craning my neck backwards, looking for all the carts with the food that I want to eat… worried that all the good stuff will be gone by the time the cart comes by.  (Yes, I know… I’m weird!)   One of my most favorite dim sum carts is the one that has the frying table… where the lady will fry you up either a taro cake or radish cake.  I can never find her, and instead, the lady with chicken feet keeps coming by… Uhh… no thanks!   WHERE IS THE TARO/RADISH CAKE CART?!*!??!!!$*!!????!!*!!$!!??  Avoid all the stress, and make your taro cake or radish cake at home instead!

My favorite version of this cake is actually the radish one, made of daikon: Lo Bak Gou (教做蘿蔔糕).   Because I didn’t have any daikon radish the day I made this, I used taro instead – to make the steamed taro cake, Wu Tao Gou (芋頭糕).  If you want to make the radish version, just substitute the taro root in this recipe with daikon radish instead – it’s essentially the same recipe.  No more waiting for the cart that never seems to come!

Taro Cake:

  • 2 c. grated taro
  • 2 Chinese sausages
  • 1/4 c. dried shrimp
  • 1/2 large onion
  • 5 large shitake mushrooms
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 2 c. rice flour
  • 1 c. cold water
  • 1 c. hot water
  • 2 T. canola oil, divided

1.  Chop the shrimp, sausages, onion, and mushroom into small pieces.

2.  Peel and grate the taro.  (It’s easiest to do this in the food processor.)

3.  Heat 1 T. oil in a wok over medium high heat, and stir fry the onion with the salt and pepper.

4.  Add the shrimp and sausage, and continue to stir fry for another minute.

5.  Add the mushrooms and the soy sauce, and continue to stir fry until the mushrooms are cooked and golden.

6.  Turn off the heat, and mix the raw grated taro into the cooked ingredients.

7.  Meanwhile, mix the rice flour and cold water with a whisk.  Add the hot water (just microwave the water in a pyrex measuring cup for 2 minutes), and mix in, forming a smooth paste.

8.  Add the ingredients from the wok into the rice batter, and stir.

9.  Divide the taro batter between two loaf pans.  (It is easier to get the steamed taro cake out later if you line the loaf pans first with non-stick foil.)

10.  Place the pans into a steamer set over boiling water, cover, and allow to cook for about 50 minutes to an hour.  (If you want a taller cake, you can just put all the mixture into one loaf pan and steam 10 minutes longer.)

11.  Remove from the steamer carefully, and allow to cool for 1 hour.  Remove the cakes from the pan (if you lined the pans with foil, just pull the foil up for easy removal), and cut into 1/2 inch thick slices.

12.  Heat the remaining 1 T. oil in the wok, and gently pan fry the steamed taro until golden brown on both sides.

13.  Serve hot with oyster sauce on the side.

Comments

  1. Amy says:

    Ooh. Yummy! Does it matter whether the taro or radish shred or grate? Do you have to squeeze out the water from the taro after you shred it? Do you by chance know how to make the rice flour sheets with shrimps in it and the soy sauce is usually pour over it ? Too many questions? As usual, so happy to see a new post! Btw , you can rice flour at Asian markets. Probably much cheaper than Bob’s Redmill brand?

    • Mika Mika says:

      You can shred or grate the taro… either is fine. I didn’t have a lot of moisture coming out of the taro after shredding, so I didn’t squeeze out any water this time. However, if making with daikon radish, you should probably squeeze out the water.

      I usually buy rice flour at the Asian market… but it’s a 45 minute drive from here, and I ran out! :( So… Sprouts market sells the Bob’s Redmill brand, so I buy that one when I run out of the Asian brand.

      I wish I knew how to make the shrimp dim sum in the rice pancake… maybe I will figure it out some day. :) I also need to figure out how to make that steamed yellow fluffy sponge cake… wish I had some right now!

  2. Fen says:

    Oh looks delicious! Pinning so I can make it later :)

  3. T.R. says:

    This looks sooooo good. Yum yum.

  4. jason lam says:

    wow, so much work for those tasty goodies. I have a renewed appreciation for taro dim sum.

  5. Amy says:

    Hi Mika,
    somehow my rice batter (after adding the 2 cups of liquid) doesn’t form a smooth paste like your. It is rather liquiddy (even after I add in the rest of the ingredients)

    • Mika Mika says:

      It might still be ok. Rice batter can often be thin before steaming. How did it turn out?

      • Amy says:

        I panicked so I put in more shredded taro and more rice flour in the batter to make it look more like a paste as seen in your picture. After steaming the surface look a bit tough , not as moist as your ( maybe because I steamed in a bit longer). Overall, it taste very flavorful after pan fried.

        • Mika Mika says:

          Well I hope it was still ok! Usually recipes like this are pretty forgiving, so a little bit extra probably just made the final cake a bit thicker or stiffer… which is still fine… some people like it a littler bit stiffer. :)

  6. mims says:

    Thanks for the great tutorial. Unfortunately mine did not turn out so well. Very gummy even after steaming for over an hour. I still tried to pan fry but it was gloppy and more like pancake batter. My taro root was not the freshest, and By the time I trimmed away the bad parts I did not have whole two cups shredded. But I had already moistened my rice flour so I went ahead any way. I think that was my mistake. Will try again. It still tasted pretty good with more soysauce, cilantro and sesame seed garnish.

    • Mika Mika says:

      Hi there! I’m sorry it didn’t work out for you. A few tips: make sure that the sauted taro mixture is somewhat dry (not watery) when you add it to the rice flour mixture. Also, make sure you are using regular rice flour, NOT “sweet rice flour” or “mochiko”. Regular rice flour is made from normal rice, sweet rice flour is made from glutinous rice – the rices and flours are not interchangeable.

  7. Blue says:

    Great recipe, thanks! I took the liberty to bastardize it, because I do not particularly like pork and didn’t have rice flour at hand. So I used 2 slices of turkey bacon instead of the Chinese sausage and 00 flour (pizza flour, or sometimes wrongly called cake flour in the US, but I suppose cake flour is also a good sub for rice flour; same amount, 2 cups). I omitted the shrimp. I used double the amount of shitake mushrooms (only because I had nothing else to do with the leftover mushrooms). I substituted regular onion with scallion (green parts). So lots of subs, but all amount the same (except for the mushrooms). I first cooked the turkey bacon (diced), then thew in the scallions, then the mushrooms, and last the taro (eddo). The rest exactly the same. This was the first time I made anything that steams in a container in the steamer (I usually just directly steam veggies, etc). The cakes turned out perfect. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to tell if they were done, but I had the timer set to 50 min, and the steamer that was properly closed had the cake that had turned a clear dull color and was gelatinous-hard to the touch (the other steamer had its lid a bit open, because the pan would not fit perfectly, so I steamed that cake for an additional 10 min, which worked). I let the cakes cool after taking them out of the foil and then fried in a non-stick pan. Result: DELICIOUS!!! Certainly not as flavorful as your recipe, since I left out some of the stronger flavors, like the onion and shrimp, but turkey bacon and shitake mushrooms worked well. I will probably add more soy sauce and more scallions next time around.
    For those who say they cannot get a hold of rice flour, 00 pizza flour (in most Italian specialty shops; I think King Arthur sells is as “Italian style flour”) works well. I do think rice flour probably makes the cakes tastier, but in terms of consistency, I got exactly what I have experienced in dim sum places in Chinatown (NY) and Flushing (NY). Also, rice flour is not that difficult to make at home. Will require some time and effort, but not impossible by far. I expect rice flour will be easier and easier to find in regular stores, now that the gluten-free craze is on.

    • Mika Mika says:

      Wow. Thank you for the detailed comment! I’m glad the recipe worked out well for you. You certainly can make substitutions with the flavoring ingredients to suit your particular likes and dislikes.

      Regarding the rice flour, most health food stores (like Whole Foods or Sprouts) carry the Bob’s Red Mill brand of rice flour – it seems pretty easy to find here in CA.

  8. Ely says:

    Have you tested with black eye peas? My father made a pan once but I never asked for the reciepe.

  9. YV says:

    This is a great recipe. My husband who does not like taro cakes when we go for dim sum actually ate two servings. My coworker and her husband were impressed that the cake did not fall apart two days later when they went to fry it up. Thanks for posting!

  10. Ely says:

    Looking for a version with black eye peas. My father made it once but I never asked for the recipe.
    Mahalo!

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