Friday, April 02, 2010

White Radish Cake


Above left: just about to be steamed. Why waste? Might as well steam some corn too.
Right : fresh from the wok

I'm down with the flu how about you? Whenever I'm sick I always feel like cooking. So while I was in the supermarket yesterday I noticed they were having a special price on white radish. Not that they are expensive to begin with but I took that as a sign to attempt making white radish cake. Something I've been meaning to try for quite some time already. Its just one of things that should be on the repertoire of every Chinese woman no? Like a moment from Joy Luck Club when mother hands guarded family recipe down to daughter. Only my mum doesn't have anything "traditional" to pass on really. I can make you upside down sheperds pie and square potato pork with croutons? I always thought I was eating Chinese food at home. Who knew? So I turn to Madam Choy. Madam Choy is not a friendly neighbour nor my best friend's mum. She has a beautiful but simply presented cook book called Madam Choy's Cantonese Recipes. Reading through the book you can tell that the recipes are lovely and wholesome with very simple and subtle flavours. I decided to use her recipe and just added some chinese mushrooms. If you are looking for a recipe that will produce something most Chinese restaurants would then this is not the recipe for you. I've looked online and I think the ones who use chicken granules would probably come pretty close. This one has a subtle taste that is definitely moreish. I've put in measurements where it says "season to taste" to save all you tasting raw rice flour mixture. Eugh. Average salt eaters will find this subtle. If you drown your stuff with chilli, soy, salt, pepper, then please double the seasoning!

1kg white radish, grated
600g flour
8 cups water *
100g dried shrimp, soaked and chopped *
2 chinese sausages, skin peeled and diced finely
5 dried mushroom, soaked and diced finely
1/2 tsp five spice powder
1 heaped tbls sea salt
3 tsp brown sugar
3 tbls soya sauce
white pepper

* Water - original recipe calls for 9.5 cups but after checking out other recipes, I noticed most of them asked for the moisture to be drawn out from the grated radish. Mrs Choy doesn't mention anything about this so I just reduced the water and saved myself squeezing duties.
* Dried shrimp - I had tossed them in the oven after soaking to dry them. They were so crispy and aromatic after so I didn't bother frying them.

1. Heat some oil in a wok and fry mushroom, shrimp and chinese sausage together. Add grated radish and five spice powder, continue cooking for a couple of minutes. Add in the salt,pepper,soya sauce and sugar.
2. In a large bowl, mix rice flour with 8 cups of water. Use your hands to mix it thoroughly and smooth out any lumps.
3. Pour into wok and continue cooking. This is the last chance to adjust the seasoning! Pour into a oiled tin and steam for an hour.

This recipes makes 2 x 9" round tins.

The texture produced from this recipe is fairly soft. I think adding tapioca flour would probably make it sturdier. Still, its a pretty simple recipe base that you can build from.

Stir-fried with spring onions and egg for brunch. Moreish!

7 comments:

  1. My recipe is usually 6 bowls of water (including those drawn out from the radish) for 600 gram of rice flour. Usually i use those water used for soaking dried shrimp as well. It has been a long long time since I last made them...ahh..i shall go out to get some radish today!

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  2. Thats quite a difference, I guess it would be firmer? I think I'm just missing a dash of msg! Haha, anyway this recipe suits my palate. Pretty healthy and not too salty. Let me know how goes with the cake! Miss u lah!

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  3. One of those things that should be on the repertoire of every Chinese woman ..?!! eek, then i am no chinese :P mwuahaha

    eh, btw, that looks really rather unhealthy to be eating, sick, don't u think?! :P

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  4. What's square potato pork with croutons?? Sounds intriguing!

    I like reading about people's childhood and their mum's cooking. The same dish can be created in a multitude of ways and because you grew up knowing only mum's way, it's such an eye-opener to find out that his/her mum does it totally different!

    I wonder if we can use this radish cake to make those roadside hawker cubed carrot cake fried with eggs and taugeh?

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  5. I have heard lots of versions of this recipe and they all have delicious results.

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  6. Yummy... I can imagine the smell of the oven-dried, er, dried prawns... Heavenly. :D

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  7. Hmm... your recipe looks surprisingly straight forward compared to the one I got from my grandmother via the mother. Mine had like 20 billion steps :S I was so proud of myself when it came out of the steamer, then realised I had to eat it all myself because everyone else thought it was gross. Haha ...

    What is with the egg though?

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