Fried Radish Cake (菜头粿) Recipe
Part 1 – Making the Radish Cake
1 medium radish (about 700g when grated) + 50ml water
200g rice flour
1/4 tsp salt
1. Over a very low flame, steam grated radish + 50ml water in a thick stainless steel pot (or non-stick pot). About 30 mins, or until radish turns translucent. Remove cover and allow to cool.
2. Combine rice flour, salt and water. Mix well to combine.
3. Add rice flour solution to cooled grated radish. Stir and mix before pouring into a metal cake tin for steaming. The final mixture should resemble a somewhat watery coleslaw.
4. Steam on high for 40 mins. Leave it until completely cool (best overnight in the refrigerator), so that the radish cake firms up. It will be easier to handle too, as it will not stick to the knife when you’re cutting.
Part 2 – Frying the Radish Cake
Use half of the steamed radish cake above (enough for 1 or 2 persons)
1 to 2 tbsp chai poh (preserved radish/turnip)
2 to 3 eggs, lightly beaten
3 cloves minced garlic
About 2 tsp fish sauce* (or slightly more, if you like)
3 tbsp oil (vegetable oil or lard oil)
Dash of white pepper
Chilli sauce (optional, as much as you like)
About 1 tbsp Rose Brand Thick Sweet Sauce (omit this if you are frying the white version)
3 stalks chopped spring onion
Coriander leaves for garnishing
(Teochew cuisine is one of the few which makes use of fish sauce due to Chaoshan’s coastal land.)
1. Cut up steamed radish cake into small chunks. Smaller chunks will crisp better, and the result is a more delicious plate of Chai Tow Kway. You want a contrast in texture – a crisp exterior and a soft interior. And those really small, charred, crispy crumbs? Heaven.
2. In a non-stick skillet, heat oil and fry radish cake chunks till lightly browned and slightly crisp. Heat should be medium high.
3. Add minced garlic and chai poh. Fry till aromatic. Drizzle a little more oil if it is too dry.
4. Add fish sauce, pepper (and lashings of chilli sauce, if you like it spicy). Fry to coat evenly with seasoning.
5. Pour beaten eggs all over radish cake. Allow the eggs to set slightly before flipping over in sections. It’s OK if it starts breaking up when you flip over; you don’t need to have a perfect whole. At this stage, you can dish up and serve with spring onions if you are making the white version.
6. Drizzle Rose Brand Thick Sweet Sauce and stir fry to mix well. Dish up and sprinkle liberally with spring onions. Garnish with coriander leaves.