Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Singapore Fried Carrot Cake (Chai Tau Kuih)

This is the crispy pancake version of Singapore fried carrot cake, though there's some debate over whether it should be called radish cake instead since it uses radish, and not carrot. But then again, sometimes it does not contain radish, so should it be just called rice cake? The radish (or daikon - I think they are similar) gives it a subtle sweetness and flavour. I do like the radish cake to be soft, so the proportion of water to rice flour I've used is about 2:1. After it's fried, the carrot cake will be crispy on the outside, soft and smooth inside. This is a popular dish in Singapore and Malaysia, and is usually eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner or supper. Look out for it when you're visiting a hawker centre there!

Carrot (or radish) cake
500g radish/daikon, grated/finely shredded
300g (3 cups) rice flour
50g (1/3 cup) tapioca starch
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
5 cups water
Grease a 10 inch round pan and set aside. Prepare a steamer.
Take the grated radish and squeeze out as much water as you can. Discard the water.
In a large bowl, mix the rice flour, tapioca starch, salt, pepper and sugar together with 6 cups water. Stir to get a smooth runny batter.
Place the radish in a large pot and heat on medium flame. Stir it around for a few minutes to let any excess liquid evaporate. Add the batter and stir to mix evenly. Let it heat up and keep stirring until it starts to thicken into a starchy consistency. Turn off the heat and stir until evenly mixed. Pour into the greased pan and level the top.

Steam for 45 minutes until cooked. It will firm up upon cooling. Refrigerate the cake so that it's easier to cut into cubes for frying.
Fried carrot cake
2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups cubed (1/2 inch) pieces of steamed carrot cake (as prepared above)
1 tbsp chopped preserved salted radish
2 tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp light soy sauce + 1/2 tsp fish sauce + 1/2 tsp sugar
1 large egg, beaten with 1/4 tsp soy sauce and dash of pepper
1/2 tsp sambal chilli (I used Glory Nonya Sambal)
2 tbsp chopped scallions


In a non-stick wok/pan, add the vegetable oil and place on high heat. When hot, add cubed carrot cake and spread them out in the pan. Be careful of oil splattering. Let it fry on one side for 1-2 minutes before turning them over to fry the other side. When sides are crisp, push the cubes aside. Let the oil come to the centre and add garlic and radish to fry for 1/2 minute. Mix through with the carrot cake. Drizzle in the soy, fish sauce and sugar mixture and mix it through evenly.

Arrange the carrot cake in the centre of the pan in one layer. Slowly pour the beaten egg mixture over the entire surface to ensure even coverage. Use your spatula to gently move the carrot cake so that the egg settles in between the pieces. Leave it for a minute to crisp up. Then cut into quarters with the spatula and flip each one over to cook the other side for half a minute. Take the sambal chilli sauce and smear it over the top of the carrot cake (which is now covered with egg). Flip over again for a few seconds, then flip back. Turn off the heat and transfer the to a serving plate. Sprinkle with chopped scallions and serve hot.

Note: Alternatively, break up the egg with the carrot cake and mix in the sambal chilli. Stir fry briefly and just before serving up, mix through with chopped scallions.

Steamed radish cake
Black version of carrot cake (with sweet soy sauce)


QembarDelites said...

Different from how we do it here but looks just as good!

Mel said...

This is one of my all time favorite. This radish cake is just suitable at any time, for breakfast, it can be for lunch and even dinner or supper, isnt it fantastic. Yum!

Nami | Just One Cookbook said...

Interesting! I actually didn't know how to make this, so it was fun reading the method. Now I only wish I can have some of this...

Cathleen said...

Wow, this looks great! This is totally new to me, but I would love to try this