Chinese New Year Taro Cake

This is a popular item on the Dim Sum cart.  It's a soft taro cake studded with little pieces of mushroom and sausage with a crisp exterior. It's the chewy/crunchy contrast that makes this cake so good, so don't be tempted to skip the frying step.  I should also mention that this is a savory cake, not a sweet one.  My son had this on the menu for Chinese New Year along with Bok Choy and Pork Belly.  The recipe makes a large cake, so we were eating slices of it for the next week.

Chinese New Year Taro Cake
Serves 8 
600 grams taro, peeled and diced
180 grams rice flour
3 cups water
3 Tblsp vegetable oil
2 Chinese dried sausages, diced
4-5 dried shitake mushrooms
10 grams dried shrimp (optional)
3 green onions, chopped
2 tsp bouillon powder
¾ tsp five spice powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
white pepper
sesame oil

Rinse and soak Chinese mushrooms in hot water until tender. Cut into small pieces. Soak the dried shrimp and chop coarsely. Set aside.

Mix the bouillon powder, five spice powder, sugar, salt and white pepper in a cup of water.  Add a dash of sesame oil.  Combine with rice flour.

Heat the oil over medium high heat to sauté the taro for 3-4 minutes.  Pour in 2 cups boiling water and bring to a boil again. Cook for 10 minutes being careful not to let the mixture get dry. Remove from heat, toss in the Chinese sausages, mushrooms and shrimp. Immediately fold in rice flour mixture and mix very well into a thick batter.

Pour the batter into a greased 8-inch round pan. Use a spatula to even the surface.  Steam covered over high heat for an hour. (I use a rice cooker for this.) Check the water level and replenish, if necessary, with boiling water. Test for doneness by inserting a chopstick into the middle of the cake. It should come out clean. 

Sprinkle with green onions and let cool.  Wrap the cake in plastic and refrigerate for 4 hours. Cut into slices and fry both sides until golden brown over medium-low heat.