A quintessential old school Teochew dessert with decades of history and nostalgia. This warm and smooth yam paste is bursting with sweetness and a great comfort to many older Singaporeans, as well as a sizeable number of those in the younger generation. Traditionally, Teochew Orh Nee is made by cooking with sugar and shallot oil.
This simplified and healthier version uses no oil and the amount of sugar is kept to minimal. That being said, this recipe is highly customizable, so if you have a sweet tooth, go ahead and adjust the level of sweetness to your liking. I like serving this dish chilled on hot and humid days, but serving it warm is the original way of enjoying this dessert.
I recommend trying out this recipe at home on occasions such as Chinese New Year and birthdays of grandparents for an added authentic feel.
Note: This dessert can be stored for several days in the fridge. However we recommend you giving it a smell and taste test if making in advance, before reheating. Reason being the amount of starch present in the yams used, and how much this dish has been allowed to cool before refrigeration can vary the duration of how long it can be stored. When cooking up Orh Nee, please be cautious and refrain from allowing any hot blobs of yam paste to land on you. Due to its high starch content, it traps a lot of heat and can scald someone really bad if care and attention is not taken.
500 g peeled yam – sliced ½ inch thickness
3 to 4 stalk pandan leaves
80 g gingko nuts – peeled and centre pit removed
200 ml water + 2 tbsp sugar (for gingko nut)
500 ml water (for syrup)
140 g rock sugar (or more if you prefer sweeter)
serves 6 to 8
Boil gingko nuts with 1 stalk of pandan leaf and sugar for 30 mins, until softened.
Steam yam with 2 stalks of pandan leaves for 30 mins, until softened.
Dissolve rock sugar with water in a saucepan and bring to boil. Set aside.
When the yam is done, remove pandan leaves and place steamed yam in a blender.
Add in half of the rock sugar syrup and blend. If the consistency is too thick, add a little more syrup at a time.
Place yam paste in a large bowl, cover and refrigerate. Reserve the rest of the syrup for serving.
To serve, scoop desired amount into a bowl, top with gingko nuts and some reserved syrup.