Savory Yam Cake(芋头糕)


I’m a fan of savory snacks instead of sweets. If you were like me, this delicious yam cake ( Orr Kuih as the local Malaysians called it) might be your new favorite.

I’ve always wanted to make this dish but never had a chance to do so until this trip home to learn it from my mom. It’s quite labor intensive but well worth the time to get a taste of it after all the hard work.

* If you buy a whole Yam or Taro root make sure to handle it with gloves while peeling and cleaning it because if you didn’t your hand will get really itchy. In America most taro has been peeled and packaged nicely, which is a plus.

This recipes will serve about 10 -12 servings.

Ingredients for cake

250g (2 1/8 cups) rice flour
50g (1/2 cup) corn flour
1100ml water
300g (2 1/2 cups)Yam or Taro root (cut into one inch thick and 3 inches long)
1 shallots (sliced thin)
4 cups frying oil
1 teaspoon salt as desired
Pinch of sugar

Ingredients for Toppings

1 cup roasted peanuts (ground into small chunks)
2 cups dried shrimp (pan fried till fragrant and ground into fine textures)
1/2 cup shallots sliced thin (deep fried till golden brown)
1/2 cup spring onions (chopped small)
1/2 cup of red chillies (chopped small)


1. Combine both rice and corn flour in one big mixing bowl. Add water to the dry ingredients, whisk until no clumps to be seen. Add some salt and sugar to the mixture, taste according to own preferences.

2. Deep fry the taro in small batches with a work or ceramic pot until slightly brown on the edges. About 5-7 minutes remove and let it rest in a pan. When frying the last batch of taro, add in the sliced shallots at the end and continue frying for about one minutes. *Remember to constantly stir the content for even heat distribution.

3. Reserve about 1/4 cup of the frying oil, set aside. Discard the rest of the oil in a glass jar.

4. Using the same frying wok or ceramic pot add in the wet flour mixture and the reserved frying oil , heat it up using medium heat. Constantly stirring the bottom of the pan, when the mixture starting thickened into nectar to honey consistency add in the fried taro roots and shallots. (This process can take between 7-10 minutes)

5. Continue to stir content until it slowly turn into a paste. Transfer the paste into an oiled 10 inches cake pan.

6. Steam the content for 45 minutes. Serve yam cake with toppings and chili sauce.

*For children you can omit the chillies and serve the cake with ketchup. Some even add crisp bacon bits for additional crunch and flavor. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as my family do.

International Travel with a Toddler

I have much more appreciation for my husband now that I have traveled across the globe with an active toddler by myself. I think it is doable if everything is well planned ahead and having a ‘ take it easy ‘ attitude the entire trip (22 hours) when trying to contain an energy overloaded child in a confined space.

Here’s a few tips on how I survived:

Transit in family friendly airport
This time I’ve decided to transit in Taipei as it provides us with the best options when flying with EVA airways. Great transit time, family friendly airport, supportive staff with good amenities (good quality baby bassinet that could hold a 13kg infant/toddler with sanitized covers, secured buckle for bassinet, free diapers during in flight and transiting, adequate time in between toddler meal time and adult meal services and toys/activities to keep them occupied).

Taipei Taoyuan International Airport has different theme at the boarding gate, ranging from theater experience brought by Sony, Aborigines culture/history, Nature, Children Playground, Hello Kitty to Gaming Zone. You’ll sure find an area that can keep your children occupied. At each concourse there’s a nursing room that has two padded changing table with free wipes and diaper, a nursing room, sofa and a crib. They also provide baby friendly rinse aid for cleaning the milk bottle or hand washing.

Check in all your luggage
If you are travelling alone with children, please check in all your luggages. It will make your life much easier the entire trip. Don’t even try to bring a rolling carry on because trying to chase a running kid while hauling your carry on alone is a pain.

Stock Your Diaper Bag with Goodies
I only bring a large backpack style diaper bag with lots of things for my 19 months old. Even my co workers are still worried that I didn’t have enough. Now I still think I over pack some. Here’s what I have in my bag :
* 6 diapers + 1 pack travel size wipes
* 2 sets of clothes (one set for tropical wear when landed and another for changing if leakage or explosive number 2 were to happen)
* water bottle / Sippy cup
* pacifier if your baby is using one
* 3 different type of snacks (fruit pouch, cereal bars, PB sandwich)
* Mini toy she hasn’t seen before
* Color wonders marker and paper
* Emergency kit (Tylenol, benadryl, syringe, thermometer, bandaid, desitin, & moisturizer)

Request for additional assistance
Don’t feel bad asking for help from the passengers sitting next to you. Most of them willingly lend a helping hand while you are trying to eat or go to the lavatory. I was very lucky that the grandma besides me really like my daughter and they play and sing songs together when I’m finishing my meal or having to go get her milk from the cabin cooler and heat it up.

Baby carrier vs Stroller vs Leash
I have debated with myself many days whether I should bring a stroller or baby carrier or both. I’ve researched online and are getting mixed review. I walked myself through different scenarios and decided baby carrier is my best options and I still believed I made the right choice. This is because while I transit at the airport, they provided me with a baby stroller and I just have to leave it at the gate when I depart. I used the carrier during boarding and deplane and walking when she wanted me to hold her. Other time I let her run around with the skip hop back pack and keeping the leash on without her knowing.

Travelling alone with children really isn’t an easy task. Overall my daughter behaved well until the last 3 hours where she’s overly tired with jet lag and started screaming loudly when I tried to put her to sleep. I still have the return flight back to the States in a month and hopefully it will be a good one as well. I don’t think I would travel internationally again with a toddler without my husband 🙂

I think that flying on a red eye flight also help cause she did sleep for a good 6 hours of the first 13 hours flight across the Pacific Ocean. So, if you ever decided to fly with infant or toddler. I would strongly suggest flying late night. We quickly adjusted to the time difference in Asia within 24 hours of landing.

Happy Chinese New Year 猴年快乐

IMG-20160207-WA0003Happy Lunar New Year everyone!! Thank you all very much for reading and following Kinder Nutrition since December 2015.

Chinese New Year is one of my favorite holidays of all time. It is the largest celebration for the Chinese all over the world. What’s so special about it ? Well, the food(my favorite), the festivity (15 days of celebration, who can top that?), hanging out with the family, getting pocket money and visiting friends to name a few.

This year I’m bringing my daughter travelling 9000 plus miles to my hometown to celebrate the Chinese New Year (CNY) with my side of the family. With that said, I won’t be updating the blog for awhile with new nutrition info, but will be sharing my journey, the foods and culture of Malaysia with all of you.

I wish everyone have a prosperous new year ahead with good health and wealth ! Gong Xi Fa Cai.

Nutrition for Newborn 0-6 Months

I often get inquiry from new mothers about how much to feed their babies.

So, I’ve decided to compile a simple guidance for all you first time mother about what the baby really needs in a series of article dedicated to infant nutrition.

TAKE HOME MESSAGE: If you have a healthy term baby, breast milk or formula is all your baby need for the first 6 months of life. No additional water or other food is necessary at this period.

First Month of Life
Baby’s stomach is pretty tiny for the first few weeks of life, they only need a few drops of milk at each feeding during the first few day and then slowly increase about one ounce per week to about 3-5 ounces at about one month of life. If you are breastfeeding, you probably will be feeding the baby on demand (usually 10-12 feedings during this first month).

Don’t worry if your milk supply hasn’t come in yet, just continue to practice good feeding techniques to help stimulates supply. Many elders may get worried and urge you to supplement early but always check in with lactation consultant and a maternal health dietitian as to what to do. Remember, each baby is different as well, if you have a premature baby, their stomach capacity is even smaller and vice versa if you have a large baby, then they probably will need more.

This photo below illustrated the baby’s stomach size and the approximate milk content you should be feeding the baby if you are using a bottle.  If you are breastfeeding, the baby usually will release their latch when they are satisfied and full.

The perfect latch

If you are exclusively breastfeeding, your baby pediatrician will recommend a Vitamin D supplementation about 1 ml drop per day (400 IU) given orally to your baby as our human milk is lacking in Vitamin D to help support bone development. Increasing mother’s Vitamin D intake may increase the Vitamin D in the milk content but mother’s daily intake has to be consistent at about 4,000-5,000 IU daily.  Breastfeeding women’s who lives in Africa or in tropical countries usually able to obtain adequate sunlight daily (full body 15-20 minutes sun exposure), may not require to supplement their infant with Vitamin D.

One Month to 3 Months of Age
During this 2-3 months time frame, your baby needs for milk remains the same. Most baby is now able to tolerate between 3-5 ounces of milk at each feeding and usually eat at a 3 hours interval (average about 8 feedings/day). Don’t be surprise if you are still feeding your baby about 10-12 feeds if you are breastfeeding, again, it is on demand and we can’t really measure how much milk baby is taking in.

If your breast is full and firm at the beginning of the feed and then becoming soft and empty at the end of the feed, this is a good sign that baby is effectively removing milk from your breast. Always feed on one breast until it is empty and then offer the other side when the baby still wants more.

Four Months to 6 Months of Age
Your baby now can tolerate between 6-8 ounces of milk at each feeding with a total of 4-6 feedings per day (about 4-5 hours between feed). Yay ! That means, you can get some longer naps in between feeding together with your munchkin. It is also normal to feed baby 4-6 oz at each feeding but more frequently at 3-4 hours interval each. There really is no golden rule here as long as your baby is getting a minimal of 32-36 ounces of breast milk or formula in one day.

Your baby also should doubled their birth weight by 4-5 months old. Don’t try to introduce solids food to baby too early.  Each baby development milestone is different and it is solely depending on how ready they are. How do we know when he/she is ready ? Here’s a few checklist to determine:

  • Can he/she sit up and hold his neck without support ?
  • Does he/she open their mouth when seeing a spoon approaching their way?
  • Can he/she move the solids food from tongue to throat? (If you try to feed the baby and the cereal tends to drip down their chin as baby pushes the content out instead of swallowing, that means they are not ready)

If you answer yes to all of the above, congratulations !! Your baby maybe ready to start complimentary solids food.  Just as I said “complimentary” foods, this should not replace the breast milk and formula the baby still needs at this time. Most common first food to start at around 6 months is rice/oatmeal/barley cereal as they are enriched with iron as baby’s iron store is beginning to diminished at about 6 months of age. When starting solid foods, make sure you only introduce one new food at a time so that you can trace back if any intolerance or allergies were to happen.  A few teaspoon is always a good start then slowly increase to 1 tablespoon a few days later.

This How_To_Feed_Baby-English guidelines obtained from Oregon Dairy Council is a good resource that I often give to new parent at the nutrition clinic to re-assure them how much is enough to feed the baby.