Chewy pumpkin cake 南瓜餅

Project no. 2 in learning how to use alternative flours and different carbohydrates as part of food rotation to deal with food intolerances.

After the unsuccessful shredded yam cake, I tried out this Chewy Pumpkin Cake (Lam Gua Paeng 南瓜餅) which used mainly glutinous rice flour, which I’d already got plenty of practice with making glutinous rice balls, and wheat starch, which I was keen to try out for the first time.

Chewy Pumpkin Cake

The recipe is from Dim Sum by Chan Chen Hei, the same recipe book I got the shredded yam cake recipe from. Again I did some major adaptation of the recipe. The original has a filling of desiccated coconut, sugared melon strips, ground peanuts, white sesame seeds and sugar, but I decided to make mine without any filling.

Ingredients for the chewy pumpkin dough:

pumpkin flesh – 150g, steamed & mashed
glutinous rice flour – 150g
wheat starch flour – 55g
sugar – 20g (reduced from original 75g given in recipe book)

sesame seeds for coating

Started by combining the dry ingredients thoroughly, then adding enough water to form a pliable dough. The texture was different from the glutinous rice balls, not so powdery. The wheat starch gives the dough a glossy sheen when cooked (it is also what helps to produce the translucent skin for har gow prawn dumplings).

I then cut the dough into 25 portions, using the same method as with the glutinous rice balls: rolling the dough into a cylinder which I divided into five sections, then rolled out each of those sections and cut into five pieces again (with the help of my cutting sheet with measurements). After shaping the pieces into round balls, I flattened each of them.

The next step was to steam the cakes for 3 minutes (I didn’t time, just checked the colour through the glass lid of my wok). I forgot to oil the steaming plate first, and it was hard to peel the chewy pumpkin cakes off the plate when they were done!

According to this information, when it comes to glutinous rice flour, steaming creates a chewy texture and boiling a softer texture. The glutinous rice balls I have been making are all cooked by boiling.

The instructions say to let the pumpkin cakes cool before coating in sesame seeds. I found that they were more sticky when hot, allowing more seeds to stay stuck on.

I then ended up making with two versions:
1) Pumpkin cakes coated in unroasted sesame seeds then pan-fried, as directed in the original recipe (photo below). Stored unfried pieces in the fridge, to be fried only at the time of eating. Frying gives the cakes a crispy exterior. Bearing in mind the horrible results from using too little oil to fry my shredded yam cakes, I shallow fried the pumpkin cakes in about 0.5cm depth of virgin coconut oil. This was my first time using coconut oil, and it added a very fragrant overtone. (Read the current thinking on health and coconut oil here.)

2) Pumpkin cakes coated in pre-roasted sesame seeds (photo above). Fragrant and chewy — delicious. Stored leftovers in fridge and reheated in microwave when I wanted to eat. This version is less oily of course and just as delicious.

Chewy Pumpkin Cake Fried

Verdict: super-easy to make & tastes excellent! (^_^)

5 Responses

  1. Ooh! I was planning to make this as a sweet bento dish with another recipe that only requires glutinous rice flour (no wheat starch flour). I’ll bookmark this and compare the two when I make it. :D

  2. ^_^. I’d be interested to hear how your pumpkin cake goes!

    I put this the unfried version in my bento yesterday. It was quite firm at room temperature but tasty enough, although I kept thinking of how soft, delicious and fragrant it was when warm :) …

  3. Thank you so much for posting this! After years of frequenting our local dumpling restaurant and loving these things, you’ve given me the power to make them myself! ^__^

  4. Awesome post! May I know where to get the “virgin coconut oil”? Thanks and God bless :)

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