Expecting to see bunches of mini yams, our jaws dropped when we yanked out one huge yam … well, taro actually. Sadly, it was well past its use-by-date and was quite inedible.
It was many years later that we gave the yam another chance. This time we planted the head of a yam from Macau. That yam made beautiful yam cake and I wanted more.
After the last fiasco, I decided to get my neighbour’s advice. “When do I harvest the yam?” I asked. “Nine months from now,” she replied. “How would I know it’s big enough?” My neighbour taught me a trick. “Dig around the plant to see if the yam’s ready. If it isn’t, give it more time.” That made sense.
Strangely enough, the yam formed above the level of the ground! “Maybe the soil’s too hard,” I thought guiltily.
So I dug and loosened the soil before planting the next lot. But the yams did it again and again – so each time I could see exactly when the yam was ready.
Is this normal or some quirk of nature? Whatever it is, I’m not complaining.
Already, I see a yam that will be ready in a few weeks’ time, and we’ll have yam cake on the menu again!
Yam Cake Recipe
1 big yam, cubed
1 piece of pork, cubed
1 small bowl of garlic, minced and fried till golden brown
1 small piece preserved radish, soaked and minced
¾ bowl dried shrimps, minced and fried
2 cups rice flour
½ cup tapioca flour
1 tbsp 5-spice powder
Garnishing – sesame seeds, chopped peanuts, fried shallots, chopped chillies, fried minced dried shrimps
1. Return the fried dried shrimps (set aside some for garnishing) to the wok and add the radish and yam. Fry till fragrant. Add the 5-spice powder.
2. Add some pepper and dish into a 12-inch pan.
3. Mix flours with about 4 cups of water. Mix with the fried ingredients.
4. Steam a tablespoonful of the mixture and test for taste and texture. Add soy sauce and more flour if necessary.
5. Steam for 30 minutes.
6. Cool and sprinkle with garnishing.
Care and cultivation of colocasia esculenta(taro): rich moist compost; full sun. Harvest within 9-11 months.