Yam Paste Dessert with Ginkgo Nuts

Yam paste is a popular dessert amongst those from Chaozhou (Teo Chew), and is often made with lard and loads of sugar. What we have here is one that’s made with ginkgo and moderate sugar, which is a much healthier choice for dessert. Best served with hot Chinese tea.


  • 1 medium-sized yam (about 600g)
  • 200g ginkgo nut
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon sugar
  • 200g brown sugar
  • 1 glass water
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil


  1. Peel and rinse yam, slice into 1-cm thickness and steam till it is cooked. Whilst it is still hot, mash it into a paste.
  2. Boil the ginkgo nuts till cooked, shell, and cut into halves. Run boiling hot water over the cooked nuts and carefully remove the outer film and the stems within the nuts. Rinse, add in water and half of the brown sugar, and bring them to a boil. Set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a wok or a deep saucepan. Add in yam paste and stir constantly with a wooden spatula for about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add in the other half of the brown sugar and the glass of water, keep stirring till the paste is not sticking to the pan.
  5. Pour in the boiled ginkgo nut syrup. Reduce to low heat and cook for another 5 minutes before adding in the cinnamon sugar. Then stir till sugar is dissolved.

Versatility Note:

  1. Be careful with the milky white liquid appeared on the cut surfaces when peeling and slicing the yam. When in contact with skin, it may cause minor irritation. Just wash your hands with warm water if that ever happens.
  2. The stem of each ginkgo nut must be removed or it will make the whole dish taste bitter.
  3. If you can't find cinnamon sugar, just add half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder or grated cinnamon off the stick.
  4. Sunflower oil can be replaced with any other cooking vegetable oil.