Thursday, October 08, 2009

Pumpkin Cake - Savory or Sweet

The Chinese definitely prefers savory to sweet. While we associate "carrot cake" - the savory fried style with green onions and egg; the carrot cake in the West really...IS a cake made with shredded carrot, flour, sugar, egg, butter - oven baked.

And while we associate "pumpkin cake" as a savory (chewy, soft) quiche type of food, typically steamed with dried shrimps and shitake mushrooms (picture below);


the pumpkin cake in the West is actually a sweet cake loaf, popular in the Fall season here in the United States.

In Chinese cuisine, we use 糕 (pronounced Gao in Mandarin) in typically any "cake-type-textured" food. So often, we see the character 糕 in 蛋糕 (sweet cake) and 糕点 (pastries, fried snacks, cake-textured food)

More about pumpkin:
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds - Green Tea Flavor
Butternut Squash Soup
Baked Butternut Squash Fries



My family(not me) makes good savory pumpkin cake, IMO. I have yet to learn it from them. But I do know the ingredients used in savory steamed pumpkin cake are usually rice flour, pumpkin, dried shitake mushrooms, dried shrimps, lean meat, shallots, salt and pepper. This mixture is mixed and pre-fried in a pan/wok to release the aroma; then subsequently steamed in a heat-proof container for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Pumpkin has an auspicious name in Chinese: 金瓜 - directly translated to Golden Gourd. Thus, the Chinese usually like to use pumpkin in festive season e.g. Chinese New Year.

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