How to Make Savoury Taro Cake (Wu Tao Ko)

Savoury Taro Cake (Wu Tao Ko in Cantonese) was a breakfast snack that I remember being sold alongside Chee Cheong Fun (steamed rice noodle rolls) back in my hometown of Seremban in Malaysia.

My parents would typically order a small share plate of it from the hawker stall at breakfast, and it was served steamed (not pan-fried like what you get at yum cha here in Australia) and with some tim cheong (hoisin-based sauce) and a chilli sauce that’s not too dissimilar to Sriracha.

I’d previously attempted the recipe for this from my Famous Street Food of Penang cookbook and found it way too taro-y – which made me think that the Penang version of this dish must be quite different from what we had in the southern states. This time around, I made it with the amount of taro halved, and I was much happier with the result.

I also remember the version from my childhood having the dried shrimp in the taro cake rather than minced and sprinkled on top of it, so I covered both bases and did both, because, why not. And I added other features from the version I know – ie. toasted sesame seeds, spring onion etc.

This was broadcast on my Live Asian Kitchen on Twitch, though rather than sharing that full recording, I might shoot a separate, edited video and embed it here at some point.


Savoury Taro Cake


350g rice flour
1 Tbsp tapioca flour
1250ml water
2 Tbsps oil
1 Tbsp garlic, minced
½ onion, chopped
300g taro, peeled and cubed
½ tsp five spice powder
2 Tbsps dried shrimp, soaked in hot water, then drained
½ Tbsp chicken powder or ½ Tbsp salt
1 tsp white pepper
3-4 Tbsps oil

Toppings –
150g dried prawns, soaked in hot water, then drained
½ cup crispy fried shallots
3 Tbsps oil
Toasted sesame seeds
Sesame oil or onion oil
Sliced spring onion

To serve –
Hoisin sauce
Bottled chilli sauce


  1. Combine rice flour, tapioca flour and water, and mix into a smooth batter.
  2. Heat oil, then brown onion and garlic. Add all other ingredients and mix well, then add batter.
  3. Cook on low heat until it thickens. Transfer into a greased tray and steam on medium heat for 40 minutes or until done. Line steamer lid with a clean kitchen towel to prevent water collecting on the taro cake.
  4. Set aside and allow to cool.
  5. Heat oil and fry the dried shrimp for the topping until browned. Transfer into a blender and blend to a floss.
  6. Cut the taro cake into diamond shapes or slices, and sprinkle with the minced dried shrimp, toasted sesame seeds, crispy fried shallots and a drizzle of sesame oil or onion oil.
  7. Heat some hoisin sauce in a saucepan, add some water and sugar to taste, simmer until sugar is dissolved and sauce is thickened. (I do this because bottled hoisin sauce is generally too strong flavoured and too salty to use straight out of the jar unless as a spread eg. on Peking duck skin or popiah skin).
  8. Serve taro cake with the hoisin-based sauce and some bottled chilli sauce.


Share and Enjoy !


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