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?

-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).

-1/2lb water chestnuts
-water (approx. 2 1/2 cups)
-3 tbs tapioca starch
-rock sugar (to taste)
-sesame seeds

What to Do:
Peel water chestnuts and blend with water in a blender. Boil mixture and add rock sugar to taste. Mix starch with water to make a slurry, add slurry slowly into chestnuts until slightly thick. Serve hot garnished with a few toasted sesame seeds.

Traditionally, this cake is also offered to the bride’s family from the grooms side at weddings. They’re made of cốm dep which is cooked glutinous rice that has been pounded into flat flakes.

For the Skin:
-250g cớm dẹp trắng (white rice flakes)
-100g sugar
-pandan leaves
-190g water
-1 tsp oil
-1 tsp pomelo flower or mali flavoring

*Blend together pandan leaves with water in a blender; filter out pandan leaves to get 200g pandan water (add more water if necessary). Quickly wash rice flakes in cold water until water runs clear. Add pandan juice and mix well, let rest until rice is hydrated (soft and chewy add more water if necessary). Add oil and sugar into rice flakes and mix well, stir fry over medium heat until thickened, add flavoring and cool. Divide into 8-10 portions.

-150g mung beans (peeled and split)
-50g candied winter melon
-50g sugar
-1 tbs oil
-1 tsp pomelo flower or mali flavoring

*Rinse, soak, cook and mash beans. Chop candied winter melon into small pieces. Mix together beans, candied winter melon, sugar and oil. Stir fry over medium heat until thickened add flavoring and cool. Divide into 8-10 portions.

Grease hands with oil; wrap a portion of filling with a portion of the skin. Drop the cakes into the middle of a cellophane square. Flatten the cakes into square shapes and wrap, seal the cellophane with the hot tip of and incense.
-1/4lb beef
-2 bunches watercress (approx. 1-1 ½ lbs)
-pinch of 5 spice powder
-1 tbs Chinese almonds
-1 shallot
-salt, sugar, pepper

What to Do:
Pinch watercress into small pieces, wash and drain. Slice beef and shallots. Heat 1 tsp oil in a pot, add shallots and fry until fragrant, add beef, almonds, 5 spice powder and mix well. Add water and bring to a boil, add watercress, salt, sugar, and pepper to taste.

-1/2 lb mộc/giò sống (Vietnamese pork meat paste) or ground pork
-1 package enoki mushrooms (about ¼ lb)
-1 carrot
-a few leaves of napa napa cabbage
-salt, sugar

What to Do:
Cut carrots and napa napa into bite size pieces. Break enoki mushrooms. Add water to a pot and add carrots and meat paste a tsp at a time. Bring to a boil add enoki mushrooms and napa napa and wait for the soup to boil again add salt and sugar to taste.

-2 eggplants
-onion oil
-fish sauce

What to Do:
Wash eggplant and randomly prick with a fork. Grill or broil over high heat until the eggplant’s peel turns brown and eggplant is tender. Quickly dip eggplant in water before peeling away the brown outer skin. “Fluff” up the eggplant using a fork, spread with onion oil and fish sauce, and serve with hot rice.

-1lb bean sprouts
-1/2 lb Chinese chives
-1/2lb prawns
-3 cloves garlic
-salt, sugar, pepper

What to Do:
Peel and devein prawns. Wash chives and cut into pieces approximately 2 inches long. Wash and drain bean sprouts. Mince garlic. Heat 1 tbs oil in wok, add garlic and fry until fragrant. Add prawns, chives, and bean spouts. Stir fry over high heat until prawns are done, add salt, sugar and pepper to taste.

-1 1/2lbs Chinese broccoli (gai lan)
-1/2lb beef
-1 tsp oyster sauce
-2 cloves garlic
-1 thumb size piece of ginger
-salt, sugar, pepper
-1/2 tsp tapioca or corn starch
-2 tbs water

What to Do:
Slice beef and mix with oyster sauce. Mince garlic, peel and julienne ginger. Cut broccoli into bite size pieces then blanch with a little salt. Mix together starch and water to make a slurry. Heat 1 tsp oil in a wok, add garlic and ginger and fry until fragrant, add beef and broccoli. Add salt, pinch of sugar and pepper to taste; add slurry. Stir fry over high heat until starch thickens.

Traditionally, this desert is thickened with tapioca starch which makes it almost too heavy to be served as desert. In my modified version the starch is omitted for a lighter texture.

-pomelo rind
-4 tsp salt
-200g mung beans (peeled and split)
-1 ½ liters/6 cups water (approx.)
-sugar (to taste)
-coconut milk/cream (to taste)
-pomelo flower/mali flower flavoring
-sesame seeds

What to Do:
Slice white part of pomelo rind (discard the outer “green” rind) into chop stick size strips about 2 inches long. Mix 4 tsp salt with 250g prepared pomelo rind and rest for 15 mins, before washing it many times to completely remove the saltiness and squeeze dry. Wash, soak and boil mung beans until in water until tender. Add sugar to taste followed by the addition of the pomelo rind. Bring the mixture to a boil, add coconut and mali flavor (all flavors: mung beans, pomelo, coconut, and mali flavor should be even). Serve hot garnish with toasted sesame seeds or cold over ice (as a beverage).

-260g bread flour
-30g wheat starch
-1/3 tsp baking ammonia
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp baking powder
-180g water

What to Do:
Mix together flour and baking powder. Dissolve salt and baking ammonia in water and add to flour mixture. Knead to form a wet sticky dough. Rest dough for 15 mins, shape and fry.

-Can use 290g all purpose flour instead.
-Adujust water if needed (to get dough that's wet and sticky)
-The longer you rest the dough after shaping the YCKs the puffier it get when fried.

-1 medium chicken
-1 large onion
-3 tbs sugar
-3 tbs vinegar
-juice of ½ -1 lime
-rau răm (laksa leaves)
-3 tbs fried shallots (approx.)
-coconut juice or water
-jasmin rice
-2 green onions
-salt and sugar to taste

What to Do:
Wash chicken and boil in coconut juice or water. Use chicken broth to cook rice, add salt and sugar into the remaining broth to taste. Slice onion and mix with sugar and vinegar. Marinate for ½ hour or until wilted and squeeze out excess juices. Wash and chop cilantro, green onion, and laksa leaves. Shred chicken and mix with prepared onions, laksa leaves, fried shallots and lime juice (if necessary, all flavors should be even). Serve chicken with rice, ginger fish sauce, and chicken broth garnished with chopped cilantro and green onions.

-basic vegetarian broth (approx. 2-3 liters)
-1 head of broccoli
-1/4lb straw or button mushrooms
-fried tofu or gluten
-1 large carrot
-5 cloves
-3 star anises
-1 2 inch piece of cinnamon
-1 thumb size piece of ginger
-pho noodles

What to Do:
Wash and chop cilantro. Slice mushrooms, cut broccoli and carrots into bite size pieces. Slice gluten or tofu into small strips. Grill and crush ginger; add ginger, cloves, cinnamon and star anises into broth and bring to a boil. Add carrots and simmer for 5 mins before adding broccoli and mushrooms. Simmer until veggies are cooked to your preferred texture. Boil and drain noodles. Add noodles into a bowl add tofu/gluten and ladle on hot broth and veggies. Garnish with chopped cilantro and ground black pepper. Serve with bean sprouts, ngò gai (saw tooth herb), lá quế (basil), and jalapeno peppers.

Can use any veggies you like to make this dish. As long the spices are present in the broth, you have vegetarian pho.

***Because my vegetarian dishes are prepared with “Buddhist Laws” in mind; besides not using meats and animal products, I do not use garlic, onions, leeks, chives, or any type of alcohol. However, if your main goal is to just avoid meats, feel free to add the any of the mentioned above to spice up you dishes.***
Ingredients (approximate):
-1 daikon about 1lb
-1 small cabbage
-1/2 lb carrots
-1 large apple or pear
-coconut juice or water
-salt to taste

What to Do:
Peel, wash and cut into small pieces. Simmer in coconut juice or water for at least ½ hour, strain and use in various dishes.

***Because my vegetarian dishes are prepared with “Buddhist Laws” in mind; besides not using meats and animal products, I do not use garlic, onions, leeks, chives, or any type of alcohol. However, if your main goal is to just avoid meats, feel free to add the any of the mentioned above to spice up you dishes.***
Here it is another recipe for bánh bò nương (Vietnamese honeycomb cake). Unlike the other recipe, this one is eggless, takes a bit longer and is a little more completed to make. I have to admit, prefer the other recipe over this one….the other one has a richer texture due to the eggs.


-300g rice flour
-100g tapioca starch
-300g warm water
-1 tsp yeast
-300g + 1 tsp sugar
-300g coconut milk/cream
-1 tsp baking powder (single acting)

What to Do:
Dissolve yeast in water along with 1 tsp sugar. Mix together flours and add yeast mixture, mix well. Prove for 1 hour. Meanwhile, boil together 300g sugar with coconut milk and cool to room temperature. After 1 hour knead in baking powder and then coconut milk mixture. Prove for another hour or until bubbles rise to the surface of the batter. Bake at 350’F for 30-45 mins or until golden.