Easy Ma Lai Koh (马来餻)

This is a steamed cake commonly found in dim sum restaurant, and of course it has always been in my order list. According to an article I have read, real chefs in Hong Kong would use a starter dough or levin to create this. However for the convenience of most home cooks I experimented instead with an instant yeast. I will experiment on my next cake using starter dough, and compare the difference between the two. So watch out for my post.


  • 240g sifted plain flour
  • 6g instant yeast
  • 200 ml warm water
  • 60g custard powder
  • 190g brown sugar
  • 256g eggs (equivalent to 4 large eggs, my egg is 64g each)
  • 3g sifted baking powder
  • 3g sifted baking soda
  • 60g melted butter
oops sorry I forgot to include my butter in the picture, sign of old age …

Now, prepare an 8 inch square pan lined with baking paper, set aside. Mix in all your ingredients except the baking soda, baking powder and butter. Ensure all ingredients are incorporated with no visible lumps from flour or sugar. Set aside and let it proof for an hour.

See the difference of the bubbles? This is what you should see after proofing.

Scoop some batter into a separate bowl (about 100g), add in your melted butter, baking powder and baking soda. Mix well. Then pour it back to the batter. Ensuring all are mix well. Mix gently as you do not want all the air bubbles popped. Transfer it to your pan. Tap your pan gently on your table a few times to pop off some big air bubbles. You want your cake to have more uniform texture. Steam for 45 minutes to an hour on medium high heat or do a skewer poke test. Poke the skewer at the center of your cake, if your skewer comes out clean then it is ready. Avoid opening the cover for the first 30 minutes.

As I do not have a big cloth to use for covering my steamer to prevent steamed water going in, I just cover my square pan with an aluminium foil. It works perfectly for me.

Now the most awaiting moment!… tan tan tan tan….

If you like my recipe, or you made the steamed cake using my recipe, please let me know, I would love to see it. Thanks for checking on my blog!

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