Tag Archives: steaming

Ma Lai Goh (Steamed “Malay” Cake)

6 Feb

For some reason, this old school Chinese bakery goodie is called “Malay cake”, even though it has nothing to do with Malaysia. The light cake was always my favorite dessert after dim sum (Chinese small plates eaten at lunch time). Unfortunately, traditional style Malay cake is disappearing from menus, and I can’t find them at bakeries either. So I decided to make my own. It turns out that this cake requires only a few basic ingredients.


Malay cake is a steamed cake, not a baked cake. I used a 9″ steamer basket, lined with parchment paper. 


  • 1 ¼ cups dark brown sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 120 ml corn oil
  • 130 ml milk
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla



  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar until the sugar is well dissolved and the mixture is bubbly.
    Ingredients for Mah Lai Goh
  2. Whisk in oil and milk until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture. Mix well.DSC05230
  5. Add vanilla. Mix until bubbly.
  6. Cover mixing bowl with plastic wrap and let sit for at least 1 hour, or refrigerate overnight.
  7. Pour mixer into parchment lined steaming tray.
  8. Bring water in steamer to a boil. DSC05235
  9. Place steaming tray in the steamer and steam until cake is done and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 35 minutes.


I added some chopped walnuts on top, just to make it look a little prettier.


Slice and enjoy! This cake is best devoured while fresh and warm!

Foolproof: Steamed Lobster

2 Aug

Summertime means lobster time! And while you can pay a pretty penny for a whole steamed lobster at a restaurant, you can cook them cheaply at home.  Steaming lobster is so easy, it’s almost impossible to mess up.

IMG_7744You don’t need a fancy lobster pot with a spigot. Just get a pot large enough to hold your lobsters without crowding them. I place a stainless steel steamer rack stand at the bottom of my pot, so that the lobsters sit above the water while they steam.

Steaming Lobster 101

  1. Add 1-2 inches of salted water to the pot. Ensure that the water level remains below the steamer rack stand.
  2. Bring the water to a rolling boil over high heat.
  3. Put the lobsters in, one at a time. Cover the pot and start your timer. The times below correspond to the weight of individual lobsters, not the total weight of all lobsters in the pot. I got these times from http://www.lobsterfrommaine.com, which is a great resource with information on selecting, storing, cooking, and eating lobster.
If the lobster weighs: Steam:
1 pound 10 minutes
1-1/4 pounds 12 minutes
1-1/2 pounds 14 minutes
1-3/4 pounds 16 minutes
2 pounds 18 minutes
2-1/2 pounds 22 minutes
3 pounds 25-30 minutes
5 pounds 40-45 minutes

I usually buy lobsters that weigh between 1 1/4 and 1 1/2 pounds and steaming them according to the chart above has always produced perfect results. 

The lobsters are fully cooked when their entire shells are bright red, with no blackish areas.


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