Orh Nee

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Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

Chinese Heritage Cooking

Chinese Heritage Cooking

By Christopher Tan and Amy Van

Published 2018

  • About

This classic Teochew dessert made of taro paste is traditionally sweetened with plenty of sugar and mixed with lard for a richer taste and depth of flavour. Fresh pork fat is fried with garlic until the lard is rendered, then the liquid lard is mixed with the steamed taro and cooked until the mixture becomes a soft, gooey paste. A thick sugar syrup is then stirred in before serving. These days, for a healthier but nonetheless delicious rendition, you can substitute cooking oil for the lard.


  • Taro 500 g (1 lb oz)
  • Liquid lard or cooking oil 125 ml (4 fl oz / ½ cup)
  • Precooked ginkgo nuts 18

Sugar Syrup

  • Sugar 200 g (7 oz)
  • Water 180 ml (6 fl oz / ¾ cup)


  1. Wash taro well and pat dry. Slice taro across into 3-cm (1-in) thick rounds. Place rounds on a heatproof tray in a single layer and steam over high heat for 15–20 minutes, until tender throughout.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare sugar syrup. Boil sugar and water together in a wok, stirring, until sugar is completely dissolved. Turn off heat.
  3. Transfer steamed taro to a large mixing bowl. Peel off and discard skin. While flesh is still hot, mash it with a wooden pestle or potato masher until taro is smooth.
  4. Add lard or cooking oil and taro mash to sugar syrup in wok. Turn on heat to medium-low, and stir-fry for 5–7 minutes, stirring constantly, until orh nee has smoothened out and starts to pull away slightly from the wok. Add a little more hot water if it seems dry.
  5. Place 3 ginkgo nuts in each of 6 heatproof serving bowls. Scoop orh nee over and level the surface. Place bowls in steamer and steam over medium heat for 10 minutes.
  6. Turn orh nee out onto serving plates and serve. Alternatively, spoon orh nee into bowls, top with nuts, steam and serve in the bowls.