Purple Orh Nee (Teochew Yam Dessert)

Every true blue Teochew will salivate at the mention of ‘orh nee’, a sweet dessert made of mashed yam and generous amount of lard and sugar that everyone looks forward to complete their meal.

As a half Teochew, I grew up eating this at almost every wedding banquet and family dinner. This dish is seemingly simple from the list of ingredients but actually requires a lot of steps to get right.

In my version, I added a small amount of purple sweet potato to give the orh nee a sweeter taste and better texture. The natural purple sweet potato also helps to give the dessert a pleasant color that we normally associate with yam/taro.

You’ll Get:

You’ll Need:

  • 100g of pumpkin (de-skinned)
  • 1 small purple sweet potato
  • 3 to 4 Pandan leafs
  • 2 tbsp of lard oil
  • 3 tbsp of scallion oil
  • Sugar (I use a stevia and sugar blend)
  • 6 water chestnuts

Your Equipment:

  • A mixer (optional)
  • A sauce pan
  • A paste sieve
Traditional way of serving

To Make:

  1. Slice yam into 1cm thick slices.
  2. Cut sweet potato and pumpkin into bite size.
  3. Line the stream tray with Pandan leafs and place your cut yam directly on top.
  4. Steam yam, sweet potato and pumpkin in a steamer for 15–30mins (depending on size of your steamer) over medium heat.
  5. Using a fork, check periodically to see if the yam, sweet potato and pumpkin are fully cooked through. Yam should crumble when you press down with a fork. Same for sweet potato. Pumpkin should turn deep orange and look slightly translucent.
  6. Once fully cooked, dump the hot yam and sweet potato into the mixer and mix for about 5 mins over low speed. Add water to the mixture until you get a consistency close to a pancake batter.
  7. Transfer the yam-sweet-potato mixture to a fine sieve and sieve out the fibers. You should get a smooth paste by now. You can continue to add water to aid the sieving.
  8. Once you have the smooth paste, you can mix in 2 tbsp of lard oil. You can replace lard oil with scallion oil.
  9. Transfer the paste onto a stir-fry pan and over low-medium heat, stir in 1 tbsp of scallion oil. You also want to add 4 tbsp of sugar (or stevia blend) into the paste while constantly tasting to check sweetness. On the scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being diabetes you want the paste to be about 6 to 7. Yes it’s a dessert so it’s meant to be sweeter than usual which is why I used a stevia blend to control the sugar intake.

For syrup:

  1. De-skin the water chestnuts.
  2. Boil them in 3 cups of water for 10mins.
  3. Turn down to low heat and add 1 1/2 cup of sugar (or stevia blend) into the mixture. You can add more sugar if you prefer sweeter taste.
  4. Set aside to cool.

My name is Rayner. Cooking and baking are my hobbies and my way to get my mind off work. Come follow my food journey and see what I’m cooking up for the family.

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