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Friday, February 15, 2013

Fried carrot cake (Chai Tow Kway)

Delicious Singaporean street food, that does not have any carrots :-). It's a steamed savory daikon cake, cut into pieces and fried with eggs.
Source: Adapted from Mummy, I Can Cook

Taste: 5 (out of 5)
Difficulty: 4 (out of 5)

Ingredients:
For the cake
- 1 large daikon (about 100 g), finely shredded
- 50 g fine rice flour
- 150 ml room temperature water
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
For frying
- one daikon cake from above
- 2 eggs
- 3 tbsp of sauerkraut (in absence of salted preserved radish (chai poh) from the original recipe)
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 2 tbsp of fish sauce
- 2 tbsp of vegetable or coconut oil for frying
- chili sauce to taste
- 2,3 green onions, chopped
Total: 2 servings

Directions:
It's better to make the radish cakes the day before, and cutting up and frying the day after.
1. Steam or cook on low heat the shredded daikon with 75 ml of water for about 30 minutes, or until the daikon is translucent. Let cool to room temperature.
2. Add the flour, the salt and the remaining water to the blanched daikon, and mix well. Pour into a shallow 8 inch baking pan and steam on high heat for 45 minutes. At this point the "cake" should be firm. This was not the case for me, so I baked it in the oven for another 30 minutes at 325F, until it finally solidified. Let the cake cool, cover with cling wrap to prevent drying and refrigerate overnight.
3. When ready to cook, cut into little cubes when it's fully cool, don't worry about ragged edges as these are the bits that get irresistibly crispy.
4. Pour the oil into the pan and heat it to med-high heat. Fry cake cubes until crispy around the edges. You can press on it with the spatula for maximum crispy edges.
5. Add the sauerkraut and the garlic, reduce the heat to medium and and fry till fragrant. Drizzle with fish sauce and chili. Spread everything around the pan.
6. Beat eggs and pour the mixture evenly over the radish cakes. Let set until the bottom is nicely browned, before flipping over and browning on the other side. To make it easier on yourself, just cut roughly into smaller portions with the sharp edge of your spatula before flipping. It's okay for the cake to be semi-falling apart, like scrambled eggs.
7. Finish with chopped spring onions.

Afterthoughts:
- This is really delicious, with the soft and crispy texture of the cake and the fish sauce flavors. It makes a perfect meal for any time of day and night.
- I might be doing something terribly wrong with making the steamed rice cake. So far I tried this recipe twice. The first time I just steamed the cake, and it was not firm at all, even after a night in the fridge. And then when I was frying it it turned into a mushy mess. The second time I bought brand new rice flour and used a more traditional steaming pan, but the cake was still too soft. So I went to my well known method of baking cakes and it worked. I guess I have to experiment more with steaming cakes. Any suggestions on this topic would be welcome.
- I love using saurkraut in Asian dishes - it's a wonderful Oriental ingredient ;-). It's really great in Chinese fried rice too, ads a lot of crunch.

2 comments:

Angie's Recipes said...

This is so delicious. It's a must during Chinese New Year.

denise @ singapore shiok said...

Hi Elana, I'm really impressed that you made this from scratch. Sorry to read that you've had issues with the set of the radish cake. Hope you get it perfect next time :) Your 'trick' of subbing sauerkraut for cai poh or pickled radish is brilliant!