All about Food. B:9 Most of the blog will be about my various cooking experiments with some reviews of local restaurants thrown in once in a while. Reviews/food experiences from other place will be included also.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Taiwanese Cake

Last night I made some salty cake (鹹蛋糕) which is a Taiwanese speciality. The cake is actually sweet but the topping consisted of minced pork and fried shallots which give the cake its unusual taste. This is the third time I experimented with this recipe. The first time I was forced to use the oven to bake the cake because I didn't have a large steamer. The second time I used a steamer but because I cut down the amount of ingredients, the cake was a bit too flat. This time the result was much better and the cake is much fuller, but I still have to experiment with the cooking time.

Before making the actual cake, I cooked the minced meat. Instead of following the recipe, I went with my mom's way of preparing this dish. The meat was normally used as an awesome topping for noodles or rice, but it is great for this cake. The pork was stir-fried with garlic and ginger, followed by the addition of water, rice wine, soy sauce, sugar, black and white pepper, and salt if necessary. Fried shallots was added right at the end before everything was transferred to a pot for slow cooking.

While the meat is being slow cooked, I started with the cake batter, which consisted only of eggs, flour, and sugar. Once the eggs and the flour were beaten until stiff and cream-colored, flour was sifted and folded into the egg-sugar mixture. About half of the batter was poured into a 20 cm pan that's greased and lined, and some of the meat and fried shallots were added on top of the batter. After about 10 minutes, the remaining batter, meat, and shallots were added, and the cake was steamed for another 10 minutes. Wid's mom complained that the cake was not completely cooked so she steamed it for another 40 minutes, which I thought was too much time because the cake ended up being more doughy than it supposed to be. Oh well. I'll try again next time and cut the cooking time to around 40 minutes instead of over an hour.

With the exception of the chewiness, the cake turned out well. The taste is perfect, and the saltiness of the meat and the sweetness of the cake complemented each other nicely. Besides trying to perfect this recipe, the next steamed cake I'll try is Ma La Gao (馬拉糕), which is a Cantonese style cake that you often find in dimsums.

Here's a picture of the cake. Click on the image for a larger version

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