Steamed Fatt Ko

This post is for Carol. She asked for a recipe of steamed cake. I’m not sure if this is exactly what’s in her mind but nevertheless, as Chinese New Year is approaching, steaming some Fatt Ko seems to fit the festivities. Fatt Ko in Cantonese sounds like rise and high which is what Chinese wishes one another during Chinese New Year.


The Fatt Ko did not rise as much as it should be because I ran short of the double-acting baking powder. Anyway, I love the taste and texture of these Fatt Ko.



  • 200g Hong Kong flour (I used all-purpose flour)
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 150ml water


  • 250g Hong Kong flour
  • 20g double-acting baking powder (I used only 12g as that all I have in my pantry)
  • 160ml water
  • 200g brown sugar or gula melaka (I used brown sugar)


If done properly, the Fatt Go should rise very high and the top will split. The Fatt Go is a little chewy and denser than it should be. It also has a yeasty flavour to it as Nanzaro said it’s like eating Man Tau (in his words, eating Char Siu Pau without the char siu).

Click on Read More for the instructions.


fagao-11-300x200To make the starter, sift Hong Kong flour and mix well with instant yeast and water. I substituted the Hong Kong flour with all-purpose flour as I have no idea where to buy Hong Kong flour. If you are a Richmondite and know where to get Hong Kong flour, please let me know.
fagao-12-300x200The starter dough should be quick stiff.
fagao-13-300x200Cover with a damp cloth and set aside for 2 hours.
fagao-22-300x200After 2 hours, the starter dough has risen and has a fluffy look.
fagao-15-300x200Prepare the dough by sifting Hong Kong flour and baking powder together.
fagao-16-300x200Dissolve the brown sugar in the water.
fagao-20-300x200Fold in sifted dry ingredients into the brown sugar liquid.
fagao-21-300x200Add the starter and mix well. As the starter dough is quick thick, it does need some elbow grease to mix the two different dough together. I suggest you use a wooden spoon to mix instead of using a spatula.
fagao-17-300x200Line some custard cups with paper cups and arrange on a steamer tray. Ladle the batter until 90% full. I used a ice-cream scoop and the help of spoon to scrap the batter into the paper cup as the dough is relatively thick. Leave to rise for 20 minutes.
fagao-18-300x200After 20 minutes, the batter did rise a bit. Steam over rapidly boiling water for about 15 minutes.

This recipe is taken from Make Your Own Pastry by Novum Organum.

19 thoughts on “Steamed Fatt Ko

  1. Hi Suanes, I’m really glad I found your recipe of this fatt ko. I’m planning to make it for this coming CNY. You mentioned the recipe makes 12. I can use my double steamer to fit 2 muffin pans in the 2 layers. Do you know if that will require me to increase the steaming time? Thanks.z

    • Hi mei, you may add 5 minutess to the steaming time and try to rotate the steamer after 10 minutes. You can always test the fatt ko with a tooth pick. If it comes out clean, then it’s done.

  2. Pingback: Chow Times » Weekend Musings (06-Feb-2010)
  3. Hi Suanne,

    Your Fat Ko looks very tasty, I’m going to try that. I would like to know what’s Hong Kong Flour?? And where can I get that?

    • Hi Elsa,
      Hong Kong flour is a highly bleached flour. I just use all-purpose flour as I cant find Hong Kong flour in Vancouver too.

  4. These bring back sweet memories of when I was a kid and my Mom would take me to the bakeries in San Francisco’s Chinatown. A steamed cake or two always ended up in the bag we brought home.

  5. Wow, Suanne, the pictures of the fatt ko mini cakes looks so perfect! I’m going to try this for CNY and will you know how they turn out. Thank so much for making them and sharing the recipe! 🙂

  6. Is Hong Kong flour simply bleached all-purpose flour? I was going to guess maybe it has less gluten (I think most non-Canadian flour does), but that wouldn’t be an advantage with a yeast recipe, would it?
    I’m going to try these tonight!

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