After making the sweet stuff, I decided I needed to make a savory version for balance. As a child, my first bite on Lunar New Year was always nian gao because I loved sweets and when my mom pan-fried the slices, the heat made the cake even more ‘mochi mochi’ and I just loved the glutinous texture. What’s not to love – sugary, moist and soft, and a positive symbolic meaning on this celebratory day? Since my family keeps a vegan diet on New Year’s Day, yet most taro cakes incorporate dried shrimps and Chinese sausages, I decided to tweak the usual recipe and make my version of a vegan taro cake. In order to up the flavor profile, I used dried shiitake mushroom for replace the umami flavor and add extra white pepper for flavorings. I did not salt my cake too much as I enjoy to dip my slices into vegetarian oyster sauce, but that is just a personal preference. Play around with the recipe based on your taste buds and diets!
Flour mixture: 1 pack (1 lb) rice flour 1
1 tsp salt
1.5 tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp soy sauce
4 1/2 cup water
1 tsp oil
2 finely chopped cloves of garlic
6 medium dried mushrooms– soaked then chopped into slivers
2 cups of cubed taro
1. Mix dry ingredients
2. Sautee garlic with salt and pepper and mushrooms. Add in taro cubes until cooked. Take off the stove.
3. Pour in flour mixture gradually. Stir until everything is incorporated. Pour into container for steaming.
4. Steam taro cakes on high heat for 45-50 minutes. Check for doneness with a toothpick. Let the cakes cool. Garnish with chopped scallions if desire.
Usually, you slice the cake, then pan fry them with a bit of oli for a crispy exterior. Dip into oyster sauce for extra savoriness.