Ma Lai Ko

I have been looking for a proven recipe for Ma Lai Ko but not successful until now. This is another Ma Lai Ko recipe I found from a blog by bigboysoven.


The texture of this Ma Lai Ko turns out quite spongy except that it’s bitter due to the amount of baking soda in the recipe. I do have a little doubt when I measured out the ingredients as I thought 1 tablespoon of baking soda seemed too much. Perhaps, 1 teaspoon is more reasonable and there should be some form of acidic components like lemon juice, yogurt, cream of tartar or buttermilk to go along with the baking soda in order for it to release carbon dioxide, i.e. to make the batter rise. Alternatively, the baking soda can be substituted with baking powder which is made of baking soda plus some acidic components.


No wonder bigboysoven recommended to serve the Ma Lai Ko with some ice-cream. The sweetness of the ice-cream does mask the bitterness of this Ma Lai Ko. I try to serve it with honey for breakfast but the honey is not sweet enough to mask the bitterness. I ended up throwing away the rest of the cake.

Do you have a proven Ma Lai Ko recipe to share? I would love to try it out.

Here is a successful version of Steamed Ma Lai Ko I discovered later.

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  1. We tried the same recipe and posted on our blog. We had the same problem of bitterness, so we assumed there was a typo in the recipe.

  2. Chris

    Check out
    July 2007.
    I didn’t try her recipe but it does look promising, though a lot of work! Good luck!

  3. BigBoysOven

    Dear Suanne,

    Very sorry as there is typo error, instead of a tablespoon, it is a teaspoon of baking soda. the bitterness you observed comes from the baking soda. Sorry for the typo error! If you can use palm sugar, it will be great as the deep colour comes from the deep browness of the palm sugar

  4. Suanne

    Hi BigBoysOven, thank you for clarifying the typo error. I will give it another try. I did use palm sugar which I had to pound it to powder form using a rolling pin and a ziploc bag.

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