Hello Everyone! I can’t believe that the year went by so quickly – it’s already the third day of the last month of the year! Before we dive into tonight’s post, I would just like to mention that 5 out of my 6 recipe entries for the month-long King Chef 2021 Challenge over on TikTok that I participated in, made it on the Top 20 list of weekly winners! This was also one of the reasons why I hadn’t been posting on my blog as I was focused and occupied in developing creative and unique recipes for the challenge. I think next year (month), I’ll share those recipes on the blog. In the meantime, you can head on over to my TikTok and watch my video entries for those dishes!
Moving forward, tonight, I will be sharing one last dish from Singapore before we fly off to our second last destination on our Flavours of Southeast Asia journey. The dish is known as Chai Tow Kway, or in English, Fried Carrot Cake. Yes, I can see the looks of confusion for those who don’t actually know this dish – because I had the same confusion when I first heard of it. I imagined an actual carrot cake being fried. Au contraire, despite its name, this Singaporean street food favourite doesn’t contain any carrot at all. It is actually made of white radish (daikon), which is first steamed, and then fried, giving it a crisp exterior while still soft and chewy in the center. The reason why it is called carrot cake is because the word for daikon, can also refer to a carrot because of a loose English from Hokkien translation.
To make this dish, white radish is grated and then steamed with rice flour and water. It is then cubed and tossed in a wok with eggs, preserved radish, and other seasonings. I opted to add thick sweet/dark soy sauce but you can leave this out. It is a much-loved local comfort food, not only in Singapore, but also in Malaysia, and can be consumed at various times of the day; it goes from being a breakfast dish, to a side dish, to a late-night supper dish.
PREP TIME 25 MINS* | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR | SERVES 2-3
*Allow for additional time to cool the steamed radish and to cool the steamed radish cake in the fridge overnight.
For the radish cake
- 600g white radish (daikon), shredded or grated
- 3 tbsp water
- 1 & 1/3 rice flour
- 1/3 cup glutinous rice flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp white sugar
- 1 cup water
For the chai tow kway
- Radish cake, fried
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- 2-3 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 2 red chillies, minced
- 1 red onion, finely diced
- 1 stalk scallion (light green and white part only), finely sliced
- 1 tbsp salted (preserved) radish
- 1 tsp sambal paste
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 1/4 tsp white pepper powder
- 1 tsp dark soy sauce (optional)
- 2 large free range eggs
- Blanched bean sprouts
- Scallion (green part), shredded
- Steamed Radish Cake: Combine the shredded radish with 3 tablespoons of water in a medium-sized stainless steel (or heat proof) bowl. Steam until the radish turns translucent, about 25 to 30 minutes on low heat. Once done, remove from the steamer and set aside to cool down.
- Add the flours, salt and, and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Add the water and mix thoroughly to combine, to get rid of any lumps.
- Add the cooled radish to the flour mixture and mix well to combine.
- Pour the radish flour mixture into a 8-in square cake tin and steam for 30 to 35 minutes over medium-high heat. Once done, remove from the steamer and set aside to completely cool down for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator. This will allow the cake to firmly set.
- Once the cake is firm, remove from the cake tin and cut into smaller chunks.
- Chai Tow Kway: Add cooking oil in a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Fry the radish cake (in batches if needed), until the edges are brown and crispy-looking. Remove from the pan and transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up the excess oil.
- In the same pan, sauté the garlic and chillies until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the onion and scallion, cooking until soft, before adding the salted radish. Cook for a further 45 to 60 seconds.
- Add the sambal paste, followed by the fish sauce, white pepper powder, and dark soy sauce (optional), mixing well to even coat the radish cake.
- Push the ingredients to one side of the pan. If your pan is feeling a little bit dry, and a bit more oil and add the eggs in. Stir to scramble and cook, about 30 seconds and then stir fry together with the other ingredients.
- With the heat off, add the blanched bean sprouts and shredded scallion. Toss to combine and the plate up.
- Top with extra bean sprouts, scallions, and red chillies. Serve immediately and enjoy!
– Ally xx