Sandwich Shop Goodies 18 – Vegan steamed taro cake (bánh khoai môn hấp)

    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.

    This is one of the few times when “cake” is not too far off from “bánh“: bánh khoai môn hấp is semi sweet, soft, meatless, and too light to make a meal by itself.

    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
    (281) 988-5222

    Previously on Sandwich Shop Goodies: mung bean milk (sữa đậu xanh)
    Next on Sandwich Shop Goodies: Chinese sesame beignet (bánh tiêu)

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    5 comments to Sandwich Shop Goodies 18 – Vegan steamed taro cake (bánh khoai môn hấp)

    • Kathy

      From the recipe I know, they don’t use water. 500grams shredded taro, 250grams tapioca flour, 2 tbs rice flour, 14oz coconut milk (1can). 1/4bag vanilla. It turns out really good. I will let you know next time after using your recipe.

    • Kathy

      I forgot sugar in the recipe.

      500g taro
      250g tapioca flour
      200g sugar
      2 table spoon rice flour
      14oz coconut milk

    • Mai

      Thank you Kathy! Your recipe sounds really good with just the coconut milk! Does it dissolve the flours well enough? The number in my recipe would yield a much more liquidy batter than yours, which I think would make it take longer to steam, among other things. How quick does the cake take to steam according to your recipe? I’ll have to try your recipe soon. 🙂

    • Kathy Do

      I followed your recipe but it didn’t come out the way I’ve seen sold at stores! Mine came out very coconutty and it didn’t set. I steam for an hour but toothpick still come out not clear. I tried putting in the refrigerator to cool it down but still liquidy…

    • Mai

      Kathy, that’s really unfortunate… I’m sorry. When I have time to make this recipe again, I’ll carefully check my measurements and update it here. Please check back when you have time.

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