山藥糕 Chinese Yam Raw Cake
Chinese yam (Dioscorea opposita, aka Chinese potato, or nagaimo in Japanese) is really a great and healthy vegetable. To stir fry, cook in soup, or make a dessert, it is very versatile in Asian cuisine. Chinese yam is also a low GI tuber rich in dietary fiber that helps to maintain lower blood sugar, suppresses hunger, and high in potassium and copper. So it also makes a good source for dessert, too. And the best part is this Chinese yam raw cake is absolutely all-natural, gluten-free, dairy-free, refined-sugar-free cake that has low calories. I use fresh beetroot juice for the beautiful pink-purple color. But it can also be replaced by using a mashed purple sweet potato, too. Why not give this really simple and healthy raw cake a try?
- 500g Chinese yam
- 100g fresh beet juice
- 30g raw sugar (or adjust to taste. I like less sweet so add a bit more sugar if you prefer a sweeter cake)
- 20g butter (To add extra moisture and flavor. Optional.)
- Wash clean then peel *Chinese yam. In a bowl, put in Chinese yam that is cut into sections then steam for 20 minutes.
- Remove bowl from steamer, mash the Chinese yam with a potato masher or a fork. The finer the mashed Chinese yam, the easier to form the shape of cake. Add in raw sugar and butter while it is still hot, mix well.
- Divide mashed Chinese yam into two parts of 300g and 200g portions. Add beet juice into 200g portion of mashed Chinese yam, mix well for even coloring.
- Now a cookie press comes in handy to form the shape of the raw cake. But if you don’t have one, just use a cookie cutter with proper size or a small cake pan with removable bottom will all do the job. Slightly oil cookie press, cookie cutter or cake pan with a brush. Lay a portion of the uncolored mashed Chinese yam at the bottom, then spread the colored mashed Chinese yam on top as middle layer, then top with a third layer of uncolored mashed Chinese yam to finish. If you are not using a cookie press, give it a gentle yet firm press on the surface of the cake before demould it. Continue until finish and enjoy the healthy vegan dessert!
* When cutting Chinese yam open, you will see its gluey juice coming out. For some species the sticky juice may cause itchy or uncomfortable feeling on skin, wearing a pair of gloves is suggested before processing Chinese yam. The reason it may cause itchiness or irritation is because Chinese yam contains diosgenin saponin and dioscorine alkaloid. However, because these compounds can be eradicated by high temperature, you can also steam it first before peeling. If you do touch the juice, wash your hands thoroughly then soak in acidic solution such as vinegar or lemon juice on for relief.