Taro is a primary crop in the Jiaxian Township of Kaohsiung, which is located at the southern end of Taiwan. In Jiaxian, you will find many taro root specialty items, such as taro ice, taro biscuits and taro rice cake. Though this dish is popular during Chinese New Year, I prepare it as a side dish year-round.
Adapted from a recipe shared by Kuo Cheng Wu/Arlington, TX.
- 1 bag (1 lb.) rice flour
- 2 Tbsp. glutinous rice flour
- 1 Tbsp. tapioca flour
- 8 cups water (or one can of chicken broth + 6 cups of water)
- 3 Tbsp. cooking oil
- 3-4 cups taro, cut into strips about 1 cm x 1 cm x 3 cm (or in U.S. measurements, approximately 1/3 inch x 1/3 inch x 1 inch)
- ¼ cup dried shrimp, pre-soaked in water for 10 min., then minced
- 1 cooked salted egg, chopped
- 2-3 sticks Chinese sausage, diced into small pieces of about 1/2 cm (or in U.S. measurements, approximately 1/4 inch)
- 1 tsp. white pepper
- 3/4 tsp. of salt
- 3/4 cup fried shallots
- Mix the ingredients listed in Part A in a bowl. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a stir-fry pan over medium temperature. Cook the dry shrimp first for about one minute. Then begin to add Part B ingredients: first add salted egg and stir for another minute. Finally, add the taro along with the minced Chinese sausage to pan and stir fry for an additional two minutes. Add seasonings and mix.
- Once the ingredients in Part A have been thoroughly mixed, gradually pour the mixture into the stir fry pan. Continue stirring while pouring the mixture in order to ensure consistency. Turn the heat off when the mixture has thickened and divide between the two foil pans.
- Place filled pan into the steamer and steam for approximately 40 minutes or until done. (Insert a chopstick into the center of the taro cake. When the stick comes out clean, the dish is ready.)
- One easy method of steaming the rice cake is by using a Ta-Tung traditional rice cooker. Place the steamer rack in the cooker and add one cup of water in the outer part of cooker , then place one taro pan on the top of the rack and cook. After the rice cooker switch pops up, add another cup of water to the outer part of cooker and continue steaming.
- When rice cake is done, slice and serve. For more flavor, add some oil to the skillet and pan fry slices of the cake. Serve with sauce if desired.
What kind of pan can be used to make this dish?
You will need two 8-inch or 9-inch diameter round aluminum foil pans. These can be found in most American supermarkets in the baking section or in the aisles of many 99-cent discount stores.
What kind of sauce goes well with this dish?
Though some prefer to eat taro rice cake plain, the dish is traditionally served with two types of sauces:
- Soy sauce paste with minced garlic, or
- Chili sauce if you prefer a spicy taste
What kind of Chinese sausage should I use?
Xiang Chang is a fresh, plump sausage which consists of coarsely chopped pieces of pork and un-rendered pork fat. The sausage is rather sweet in taste. This is what a package of Chinese sausage looks like:
The taro didn’t change in color after it was steamed. Is this taro rice cake undercooked?
Because the dish is steamed, not baked, the completed dish will retain the color of raw taro. This is an example of what the finished product looks like:
However, to give the taro rice cake color as well as flavor, you can pan-fry the pieces. The taro pieces in this photo have been pan-fried.