This recipe is for the Hong Kong version (usually served during Dim Sum) of Ma Lai Koh which is apparently “lighter” in color compared to the Malaysian version. However, I’m wondering if this cake is even Malaysiansince this cake is sometimes also called steamed sponge cake (which is a Chinese cake). Can some please enlighten me…please?

Ingredients:
-300g basic pau starter (use all purpose flour instead of cake flour)
-240g sugar
-4 eggs (200g)
-60g cake flour
-1 tbs custard powder (optional)
-30g oil
-1 tsp double acting baking powder
-1/2 tsp vinegar
-dash of lye water (about ¼ tsp)

What to Do:
Mix together by hand, sugar and pau starter until sugar dissolves. Then add eggs one at a time, followed by the addition of oil, custard powder, flour, vinegar, lye and baking powder; mix until smooth. Grease an 8” cake pan with some oil. Steam the empty pan for 5 mins before pouring in batter. Steam cake on high heat, lifting the lid to release excess steam every 10 mins. until done (about 30-40 mins).

Comments (27)

On 4:03 AM , fooDcrazEE said...

u r right. this is definitely Chinese. The difference is in the vinegar. For actual MA LAI Ko in malaysia, theu used brown sugar or palm sugar and thus darker.

 
On 10:53 AM , Anonymous said...

I was so ignorance, since young, when I heard this kueh being called "ma lai kor" I relate it to "malay cake" in cantonese.

jc

 
On 12:15 AM , hoangtam/tt said...

foodcrazee,
thanks for clarifying. Does the Malay version taste like the chinese version at all?

jc,
I was like you too....still don't know why it's called Malay cake when the cake is actually chinese. weird huh?

 
On 12:49 PM , lilyng said...

tt

i was just about to ask you about ma lai koh cos i was asked if i had one that has big big holes. i asked around and donlung gave me a recipe to try. i did not like it cos it was too yeasty. after mixing in starter dough, mixture with eggs is to rest for another 4 hrs of which i said that if you are making this in the tropics, won't the eggs go bad.

your recipe looks more promising. the original should be made with lard and caramel.

 
On 3:44 PM , SeaDragon said...

tt,
This is definitely a Chinese cake. I read somewhere it is so called due to the brown colour of the cake which resembles the dark skin of Malay people, don't know how true it is though ;p

 
On 8:39 PM , culinary said...

looks like ma lai ko fever is on...
a different version from fonia, looks delicious too.

 
On 12:07 PM , Little Corner of Mine said...

Yup, looks delicious to me as well!

 
On 10:19 PM , Anonymous said...

What is Bánh Men?

 
On 12:27 AM , hoangtam/tt said...

Bánh men is a cookie made from tapioca starch, sugar, and coconut milk. The cookies have a crispy, melt in your mouth texture. They are called bánh men because their shape is much like men rượu (vietnamese wine yeast). Traditionally they are coconut flavored, but these days people have gotten more creative. Thus, now the also come in pandan, durian, and strawberry flavors.

 
On 9:33 AM , Anonymous said...

Everything on your site looks delicious! Do you have a recipe for a sweet called com ruou?

 
On 3:49 PM , Vineela said...

Hi,
CAKE IS VERY YUMMY.
VINEELA

 
On 6:18 PM , LERA said...

Hi Wow, this one is sure gonna make it's way into my list of must tries...Thanks for this yummy steamed recipe :)

 
On 12:00 PM , Anonymous said...

Hiya, I'm new here, happened upon your site when searching for a recipe for ma lai koe. yours definitely looks promising. However, being an amateur cook, I was a little confused with the pau starter part of the recipe. Do you mix it into a dough first and let it rise first and then measure it and work in the rest of the ingredients? If so, how do you dissolve sugar into dough? Or do you keep everything separate and mix it that way? Please help, Thank you!
email: koolgiraffe@yahoo.com

PT

 
On 11:49 PM , hoangtam/tt said...

PT,

to answer you question about the pau starter part.

-make pau starter according to its recipe (recipe is linked) then use that starter to make the cake.

-sugar is very submissive to liquids, it will begin to "melt" as soon as it comes in contact with a liquid. The pau starter contains liquid, thus, dissolving the sugar in the starter dough is easier then you may think. A

s always, play with your food, don’t be afraid to try new things and make mistakes it's the best way to learn!

 
On 10:28 PM , Gazorninplat said...

When I was young, I thought this cake was made by horses. Seriously!

 
On 11:41 PM , hoangtam/tt said...

what? why?

 
On 2:55 PM , Anonymous said...

do u know where i can buy the custard powder and what kind is it? and for the vinegar...what kind of vinegar i should use? since there are so many kinds..and i wonder about the dash of lye water? what is it? and can u tell me where i can but it, okay. thank you.

 
On 12:20 PM , hoangtam/tt said...

you can find all the ingredients at well stocked asian grocery stores. Play with your food! why not experiment with different kinds of vinegar and figure out which works best?

 
On 12:15 PM , QQ red apple said...

Thanks for your yummy and easy recipes, I'm a fans of your blog. I'm a malaysian
chinese whose now living in Netherlands.
I can solve your clue --hong kong style Mah Lai Koh is different with Malaysian Mah Lai koh.Here you are ---http://jodelibakery.netfirms.com/. The reason hong kong people say Mah Lai koh because in the past Mah lai Koh is
brown colour,not yellow one. While Malays has brown skin, Koh is mean cake and Mah Lai is mean Malays.Malaysian style Mah Lai Koh use santan(coconut milk) in stead of water or other liquids. Can I ask you a question, why my Mah Lai KOh has no smooth surface? Help me please.....I am a food lover, likes to do experiment with my food.

 
On 1:14 AM , hoangtam/tt said...

probably because you steamed it too long or because there's too much leavening in the batter or too much flour.

 
On 1:33 PM , dragonflower said...

Thank you,I'm looking for this cake long time ago.Do you now how to make Bo Bia Ngot ?

 
On 6:03 PM , PB said...

i fell in love with a green version of malaiko. i found it in this one bakery in the chinatown in paris. it definitely tasted different from the vanilla-colored version. any ideas what they could've added?

 
On 7:32 PM , hoangtam/tt said...

probably pandan

 
On 4:04 PM , Anonymous said...

Hi Hoang Tam ,

-dash of lye water

i do not know what is it /

please help me , i realy want to try to do this cake .

thanks !

 
On 6:14 AM , Julie said...

Hi!! HT

I would like to know where to buy the custard powder!! Can't find it where I live please help thanks. Julie

 
On 11:37 PM , hoangtam/tt said...

Julie,

your best bet would to search/buy it online.

 
On 11:18 PM , Julie said...

Thank you, chị HT have a mery Xmas and a wonderful new year.