How to Make Vegan Yam (Taro) Cake

This iteration of yam (taro) cake which I made during my Twitch Live Asian Kitchen broadcast did not start out being vegan, but it became so when I realised I did not have anywhere near enough dried shrimp for it. I did have some minced preserved radish, however (the stuff you use in Pad Thai, and which I use in my Chai Tow Kway or radish cake), so I decided to use that instead.


You can find minced preserved radish (sometimes labelled as preserved turnip) at Asian grocery stores; I buy the minced variety from Thailand which tends to be slightly sweet, as opposed to the ones that are in finger-sized pieces – those are outright salty and require rinsing and mincing before use.

Vegan Yam (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 minced preserved radish

½ Tbsp salt

1 tsp white pepper

3-4 Tbsps oil

Toppings –

150g minced preserved radish

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 minced preserved radish for the topping until lightly crispy. Remove and set aside.
  6. Cut the taro cake into diamond shapes or slices, and sprinkle with the minced preserved radish, 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 !