It is not pretty, but from the label I knew right away that it would be good. Strips of nutty taro embedded in soft-chewy tapioca just got on my list of things to make, if I ever feel like cooking. That can mean only one thing: the online recipes seem that simple.
If you google “bánh khoai môn hấp“, and presumably you read Vietnamese, the first links you find will contain something like dried shrimps (tôm khô) and pork, perhaps some mỡ hành (green onion in lard), too. That version is similar to Woo Tul Gow (or Woo Tau Ko). I haven’t tried that nor seen it in any cling-wrapped styrofoam plate at banh mi shops. If you don’t read Vietnamese, well… that’s why you have me :D: I translate. Here’s the Vietnamese recipe of the (vegan) steamed taro cake from Thư Viện Phật Học (The Library of Buddhist Studies), which most resembles what I’ve gotten from Alpha Bakery & Deli. Actually, this recipe sounds better.
Like most Vietnamese recipes online, this one lacks precise measurement (which I agree with to some extent, but that’s beyond the scope of this post). So I searched around and found a more detailed but also more complicated recipe, and here’s my wanna-be-clever combination of the two:
The minimalist’s vegan steamed taro cake (bánh khoai môn hấp)
– 1 lb taro
– 1 bag (200 g) of tapioca flour (bột năng)
– 50 g rice flour
– 150 g sugar
– 2 cans of coconut milk (oooh coconuty!)
– 2 cups of water
Mix tapioca flour, rice flour, sugar, water, and coconut milk together.
With the taro roots: wash, peel, slice into strips (as thick as you’d like, but I’d imagine the thicker they are, the longer it takes to cook the cake).
Gently mix the taro strips with the batter (don’t make mashed taro or you’ll get Kanom Pheuak).
Boil water. Steam the taro-batter mix for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Fancier versions would include pandan leaves and vanilla, or alternating layers of tapioca and taro.
If you try this recipe, do let me know how it goes.
Otherwise, I found it here once for a buck fifty:
Alpha Bakery & Deli (inside Hong Kong City Mall)
11209 Bellaire Blvd # C-02
Houston, TX 77072-2548