Steamed Rice Cake - 蒸米糕 [Do you miss it?]

Steamed Rice Cake

It has been awhile I last posted about homemade dishes. I am still cooking but hard to find time for photo shooting with two little monkeys around. For time being, please help yourselves with some snacks and cakes I made during their nap time.

I fond on this cake ever since I was a little kid, simply because one of my aunts made very good steamed rice cake. She passed away quite young, in her mid 40s if I remember correctly. Cakes she made were soft and fluffy, every mouthful of wonderful rice aroma without the yeasty smell and sourly taste. I regretted that did not learn to make this cake from her, I was too little then.

I searched for the recipe for sometimes, and found this recipe using traditional method which means.... no shortcut! Some other recipes called for instant yeast, cakes made with this type of yeast tend to have yeasty and sourly taste. So, I settled on the traditional method. The process seemed time consuming but it was actually pretty easy to make. Verdict? The "hard" work paid off, cakes had great texture and aroma. It was almost perfect, except the dome shape. I guess I can work on it a bit.

Actually my nose was blocked on the day the cake was made, could not smell a thing. Why I made it when I was sick? You will know as you read on the recipe. I ate some leftover cake the next day, straight from the fridge. Surprisingly, it did not hardened and thank god that I was able to get the sweet rice aroma I missed.

Steamed Rice Cake

It is known as Apam Tapai in Malay, this recipe is belong to sofinar from Myresipi. Translated recipe as follows:

Ingredients (makes 30 pieces depending on the size of mould):
1 bowl of rice, room temperature
1/4 tapai yeast
1 bowl sugar
2 bowl water
2 bowl rice flour
2 tsp eno


  1. Ground the tapai yeast, and sprinkle over rice. Mix until well blended. Cover bowl with plastic and set aside for two days or until it is watery.
  2. Add in sugar in batches and mix until sugar is melted.
  3. Add half amount of the water, mix well.
  4. Add in rice flour and mix well.
  5. Then add in remaining amount of water and mix well.
  6. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 5-6 hours.
  7. Just before steaming, add in eno and stir well.
  8. Steam in a preheated steamer for 15 minutes.

Cook's notes:

  • I used 200ml bowl for this recipe.
  • Steamed over medium heat.
  • Made roughly 20 pieces, regular muffin case size.
  • Added some food colouring.
  • To reduce the amount of eno next time, for better dome. Perhaps?
  • The fermented rice is yellowish in colour and has sweet wine aroma.

* * * Updated on 1 May 2010 * * *

Tapai Yeast

This is the yeast I used, it says Ragi (means yeast in Malay) on the label. Got it from Tesco, forgotten the price. I saw something like this at Asian Market in Sydney before, also packed in individual pack like this. The size is about 4 cm in diameter, mine left half for photo shooting.

Comments :

20 comments to “Steamed Rice Cake - 蒸米糕 [Do you miss it?]”
Sally said...

Hi your blog and all your recipes :)
Anyway...this is one of my favorite too and back in time my mom used to make it but I was not interested to learn back then. Now I'm in US now and missing alot of Msian delicacies...especially the kuih-muih. By the way, where can I buy this Tapai yeast???

gekchoo said...

hi Lydia,
can u please take a picture of the Tapai yeast? where can i get it in M'sia?


Jen said...

Hi Lydia..thank your for a wonderful blog! Can you tell me what Tapai yeast is?? Is it a brand of normal yeast or something else? I live in Australia what could I use if I can't find Tapai? Thanks so much, Jen

Mark @ Cafe Campana said...

I have never seen a cake like this. I looks fascinating.

tigerfish said...

You have just revived a classic and tradition over here! Awesome.

Bits of Taste said...

This is lovely, I have been searching for sometime of a good steamed rice cake recipe! This looks good!

Tebonin said...

I ate steamed Rice cake when I was five..Lol
My grandma made that. Haven;t ate if for ages.
I wanna try it.

Lydia said...

Hi Sally,
Thanks for dropped by. I guess many of us (around my age?) like this cake a lot. Not sure where you can get it there in US. I am more than happy to send you one if you are keen.

Try Giant or Tesco... or even malay stalls at wet market. Just ask for tapai yeast, it is also used for making tapai. I have just posted the photo, hope it helps.

Tapai yeast is one type of yeast used for making tapai (fermented food). For this cake, we make fermented rice first, then use it for making cake. You can try with instant dry yeast, but the method and end product will be different.
If you are in Sydney, try to look for it in Market City... or the place I saw before was at Bankstown, Chinese shop near to train station (walking distance).

Not my generation? (this makes me sound old!!) Perhaps you can find something similar at vietnamese town in sydney... what's the name for that suburb? Cabramatta?

I can appreciate old goodies more now, because fo my age? lol

Bits of Taste,
I have used this recipe twice so far, all good... and my boy loved it (he ate 3 in one go!!) so... try it?

Fuh... I bet you are much older than me? lol... but, never too old to enjoy this cake ya.

what's wrong with me... keep mentioning about age.

rene said...

Hi Lydia, your steamed rice cake looks colourful and tasty, any suggestion if i'm not using eno and can i replace instant yeast with the one you used?

Lydia said...

Hi Rene,
If are planning to use instant dry yeast, I thnk you need another recipe which called for the mixture of all purpose flour and rice flour.
I have not tried this recipe with instant dry yeast, not sure it works or not.

Anonymous said...

what is the weight of one package of ragi yeast.

thank you

perla y. wee

Lydia said...

Hi perla y. wee,

Sorry, I do not have the package anymore.
Just a guide, it is 5g+ roughly.


Anonymous said...

Hi Lidya!! love your blog soo much! n love all the pictures.. just wondering what is eno refers to in this recipe?

Lydia said...

You can get some info about Eno here...

Anonymous said...

Your bowl is 200 ml capacity, when you measure your rice flour, do you level it like a measuring cup? Is your rice flour nonglutenous or glutenous as in Mochi flour(sticky)?

Lydia said...

Yes, I used it like a measuring cup.
The rice is rice flour, not mochi flour.

vijayw said...

Hai, friend I love rice steam cake sinse i was little. Know i'm trying this cake for years, tell you i have all ingredients but when start to steam the result is very.... not the same taste which i want,I have elefhant brand rice flour, should I add other flours with that? please tell me. THANK YOU. Vijay wendt.

Lydia said...

HI vijayw,

Thanks for your comment.
You meant you have tried this recipe or going to try it? The elephant brand rice flour is good for this recipe, and only rice flour is used no other flour.
Good luck.

Mae Cheah said...

Hi I made this today but why do I have a bitter after taste? What do you think can coz it?

Lydia said...

Hi Mae,

Sorry that I have no idea why your cake had bitter taste. If sour taste is due to over proof.

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