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Monday, August 9, 2010

Teochew Yam Paste - Or Nee

Yam Paste 6

Yam Paste 4

Yam paste or fondly known as Or Nee is a firm Teochew dessert favourite among many here in Singapore and Malaysia. For most of us old enough to remember, our first Or Nee was probably being served at a Chinese wedding banquent dinner. The much anticipated last dish of the 10 course meal... by which time, most diners would have already overstuffed themselves with food but when this was served... it was like 'Oh, Or Nee, die die must eat'. As its popularity grew, this traditional treat became more accessible.

For me, the novelty wore off very quickly even though my friends and family continue to stay enameled with it. Reason being, most of the Or Nee I have eaten are generally, too oily and too sweet. To achieve the smooth texture, copious amount of oil needs to be homogenised with the mashed yam paste. Sugar being a natural humectant, smoothens the paste even further. (if you have ever tried making peanut butter, you would be baffled by the way the pasty peanut mixture miraculously turn smooth and creamy upon the addition of sugar) You would never catch me ordering Or Nee on my own - that was how excited I am about it.

However, my last food tasting session at Chaozhou Inn, altered my perception of Or Nee. It wasn't oily at all, had the right amount of sweetness and a subtle coconut milk fragrance that complemented amazingly well with the Yam. I started to wonder about doing this on my own. I tried googling for an Or Nee recipe but the only thing that stuck in my mind was the Creamy Mashed Potato recipe that I learnt from Tim Ross-Watson's class. I wondered if I could recreate the creamy yet light and fluffy texture of the mashed potatoes with Yam. There are a few commonalities, one of the key being the amount of fat to be incorporated. As any French chef would tell you, the secret to a really good mashed potato is lots and lots of butter. (1/3 of the weight of potato, at least!) Then, of course the mashing technique would also impart an element of airiness to the mash.

Yam Paste 2

Determined to create my very own Yam paste recipe, I went at it with a few basic points :

1. My mouli grater came out the closet to help me get an airy,fluffy mash.
2. I used minimal canola oil to blend into the Mashed Yam. (I noticed some bbloggers would use Olive oil but I thought the flavour of Olive oil would be too strong and may not complement the natural Yammy fragrance.)
3. Instead of cream/milk typically used to cut mash potatoes, I chose to use coconut cream.

The end result? Superb! Possibly the best Or Nee I have ever tasted!I have to apologise to Chaozhou Inn's Chef Yu but I really do like the texture of my Or Nee - I think the credit needs to go to my mouli grater. The creamy yam paste feels almost like a mousse in the mouth. Yes, it is that light and fluffy. It literally disappears on your tongue before it can goo up your mouth. The caveat : alot of grinding and pushing it through a fine sieve. So I leave it up to you to decide if you have the patience to go through all that trouble...other than that, it is actually quite an easy dish to prepare.

Yam Paste 3 (100)
Recipe :

300g Yam (boiled and mashed*)
50g Canola Oil
50g Coconut Cream
30g Sugar
Pinch Salt

Method :

1. * Yam was boiled in water until soft. I mashed this up coarsely with a fork then proceeded to grind it further with a mouli grater. Measure out 300g of this grated mashed yam.

2. Place (1) in a mixer fitted with a paddle mixer. Start mixing the mashed yam at medium speed. Slowly drizzle in Canola oil until smooth and well incorporated.

3. Transfer (2) into a saucepan and start heating over low heat. Add coconut cream in 5 additions. Stirring well to incorporate totally after each addition.

4. Add in a pinch of salt. Lastly, add in sugar and continue to stir over fire until all sugar dissolves.

5. Push (4) through a fine sieve to get the final smooth creamy yam paste.

6. Serve with syrup marinated gingko nuts.


Passionate About Baking said...

Hi Shirley,
You made it sound like I "die die" must try this recipe as I love this yam paste very much! It really sounds very light. I would truly love a lighter version than the normal ones.
You are truly right on the wedding dinner courses. The last one always have to be the best! By then, we were just too full to finish them all!
Thanks for sharing this lovely recipe!

3 hungry tummies said...

I can't remember the last time I had this. I do remenber the wonderful fragrant from the lard used thought. Lovely photos.

Bakericious said...

Shirley, the way you described making me drooling. I like or nee too but always cant finish the serving cos of too sweet and too oily. Probably if I am hardworking enough, I must try your recipe. Thanks for sharing.

youfei said...

Hi Shirley!

It was great meeting you yesterday! Your post is making my drool and I so so wanna get this right! My grandma is teochew but she's diabetic! I'm very much hoping this version could allow her to enjoy her fav dessert again!

I've once came across one version from The Little Teochew but it seemed much more tedious.

Your recipe seems SUPER appealing!!
But I guess it's sheer hardwork ploughing through that grater huh.. =X

thanks for sharing!

You Fei

Elyn said...

Thanks for sharing, Shirley. It's my favourite and I will give this a try soon!

Sonia ~ Nasi Lemak Lover said...

Shirley, I don't think I have ever taste or nie before, I must try this recipe one day, look delicious!

Zurin said...

Sounds absolutely lovely Shirley. I suppose it is eaten like mashed potatoes. How great and satisfying to come up with a better recipe . Bravo to you! :) and it looks creamy and soft too. I understand good mashed potatoes use a potato ricer instead of a masher. so it must be the grater u used...clever u!

Pei-Lin said...

Shirley, thank you so much for the recipe! Gonna jot it down the soonest I've had my stuff packed! I feel so honored to be one of the luckiest ones to try your 芋泥! It was love at first scoop!!! Gonna make this for my mom, too, since she's Teochew ... LOL! She once told me to wipe the Teochew out, kill all the taro plantation first ... Hahaha!

Honey Bee Sweets said...

You made the Or Nee! We were just talking about it yesterday and here you are with this lovely dish! Looks really creamy and smooth, tempting! Almost looks like ice cream in one of the shots. ;) You are tempting me to make Or Nee soon, ....but as you said a lot of grinding and pushing through the sieve....and alot of washing too. :P thanks for the recipe!

ICook4Fun said...

You know I don't think I ever try this dessert before. Since I like yam I am sure I am going to like this.

Juliana said...

Shirley, I love this yam paste..., every time that we have in the restaurant I enjoy it so much...thanks for the recipe...

tigerfish said...

It always seems so tedious to make Or Nee but you make it look too easy...:P

Edith said...

Shirley, my hubby is 100% teochew but his mom can't cook anything Teochew (won't believe it right?).

I am going to try this soon as it is our favourite! But restaurant version is always way too sweet. Any tips of getting a good yam?

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Hi Edith, the best Yam I have tasted is from Taiwan 大甲芋头. But I don't think we can find that here. Best alternative is Thai Yam. Don't use Malaysian Yam.

Carolyn Jung said...

I've never had this, but I did once have a sweet potato dessert mash at a Japanese restaurant. I wonder if the method for making it was similar. It was very smooth, and a bit sweet. A wonderful ending to the meal.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Ooh I remember this but I haven't had it for YEARS! :D Thanks Shirley!

WendyinKK said...

I've tried this once... and I don't know why... I can't swallow it.
Actually it's a gift from my bro's supplier and the man kept on saying how good it was and he purposely ordered it for my bro.
In the end , the whole thing ended up in trash, cos no one in the house gave it one "swallow".

Maybe one day I get to try yours and please do change my perception about it.

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Wendy, why didn't you all like it? was it because it was too sweet and too oily?

Jessica said...

This looks delicious! I've never tried Or Nee so I've nothing to compare it to, but it does look very tasty! Thanks for sharing this recipe.

Edith said...

How do you tell bet thai and malaysia? This morning, I saw some in the minimart and I just gotten two coz I couldn't recall how many gram you used. So 300g for how many serving? Mine is over 1kg! wondering now... what to do with the rest. hahaha

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Hi Edith, I cannot tell between Thai and Malaysia. I ask the green grocer at the wet market :).. that's the good thing about shopping in wet market! I bought half a Yam. After mashing, I weigh out 300g - gives you probably 2 portions. My recipes are always very small. After mashing and everything, you may not have 1kg, so don't worry.

Edith said...

Thanks Shirley, mashing it now. Wish me luck.

Noob Cook said...

yes, all the orr nee I had outside are too sweet for my palate. Really love your yummy photos which rekindle my interest in this dessert :)~

Anonymous said...

Have never heard of or tasted O Nee. Looks like a creamy and tasty dessert. And I love gingko nuts :)

Anonymous said...

I haven't had this dish for a long long time. Thanks for bringing back fond memories.

MaryMoh said...

I love this. Always eat at restaurants. Now I can make myself. Hope to make someday.

WendyinKK said...

Sometimes, Malaysian taro is nice than Thai.
Once I bought a Thai one, and went home to cook, but it wasn't floury. Then I went and bought another one, and the only one left was a local taro, so, haiya, I bought it, and to my surprise it was very floury and fragrant.
I'd say sometimes the soil and weather makes the difference of starch content.

Olivia said...

A warm and comfort food... such a wonderful recipe. Thanks for sharing it.

pigpigscorner said...

I love this! I had my first or nee in Singapore. I think the traditional recipe involves lard?

Miss Tam Chiak said...

The or née looks good! I like the one at mong hing trochee restaurant @ keypoint. Next time I will go try the chaozhou inn :)

Aimei said...

Your Or nee looks so smooth and creamy... is making me drool... thaks for sharing the recipe. I will bookmark it. ;)

Nice meeting you at the blogger's meet-up that day ;)

Anonymous said...

That Or Nee looks like Yam ice cream!! I bet it taste really good, i hardly get a chance to eat it unless during special occasions!

I want to teet over to your house, haha : D

Cocina Savant said...

I have never heard of Or Nee, but this sounds delicious. A very enticing dessert that I will have to try.

petite nyonya said...

this is one of s'pore's famous desserts for sure! i kinda miss it after seeing this here. i simply love anything that has got to do with yam! looks like quite a process making this. well done!

Anonymous said...

Hi Shirley,

I tried yam paste with gingko at a restaurant last night and it was really good. Love the dessert.

Thank you for posting the recipe. My family wants to try making the yam paste.

Anonymous said...

Hi Shirley, thanks for sharing. I tried your recipe and it was really yummy! Totally wiped out fast! This is a keeper.

James Ng Nam Seh said...

Hi Shirley As i was thinking how to get that melt in your mouth kind of texture on the Or Nee. I finally got the answer from you ..
All the time I use rolling pin and cleaver to smash the yam. Must admit is tedious and I failed all the time . Another mistake i didn't incorporate enough oil , I used peanut oil along with chopped onions and pandan leaves. Somehow I don't like taste either .. Your's recipe answer all my doubts .. A big thank you !!


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