Sunday, July 17, 2011

Pak Tong Koh

Pak Tong Koh is a leavened, steamed, Chinese cake. It’s very light and features a distinctive porous structure. It’s one of the sweeter Chinese dishes I know of, but is tempered with a noticeable tang from the yeast. I don’t have a proper steamer, but I perched a cake pan on top of a vegetable steamer in a large pot and it seemed to work quite well. My grandmother used to make this all the time, sometimes with brown sugar, sometimes with yellow rock sugar and I’ve been trying to figure it out for years. I’m probably biased, but I think I’ve finally got her’s beat. I’ll have to make it next time I’m home and see. The recipe is a modification/combination of these two recipes: and It’s closest to the second recipe, but with the sugar syrup idea from the first. I’ve switched to normal dry yeast and have managed to greatly reduce the preparation time. Apart from the steaming setup, it requires no specialized utensils or tools and is very easy to make. Enjoy!

Serving Size: 12
Yield: 1 cake


190 g rice flour
120 mL water
50 mL warm water
8 g dry yeast
10 g white sugar
250 mL water
150 g golden sugar


1. Mix B and set aside.

2. Mix A together to make a thickened paste.

3. Dissolve sugar in boiling water from C

4. Pour C into A, while still hot, mixing together until smooth. Whisk for 5 min. Put the bowl into the freezer. Wait until cooled to approximately 40 °C. (If it is too hot, the yeast will die)

5. Stir B into the mixture. Cover bowl with a damp towel and set in a warm place for 30 min. The mixture should be actively bubbling.

6. Pour the mixture into a 20 cm round cake pan, lightly oiled, and steam for 25 minutes.

7. Let cool before slicing.

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