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Friday, March 22, 2013

Stir Fried White Radish Cake 炒蘿蔔糕

Stir Fried White Radish Cake 炒蘿蔔糕 - it goes by plenty other names. There's the Char Chai Tau Kueh 炒菜头粿 and there's the Char Kueh Kak 炒粿角 too. Honestly, I have not an idea how exactly they differ from one another. I would guess different communities in different regions with all the local influences over time must have adopted different names at one point or another. But all in all, I really do think that they are essentially the same Stir Fried White Radish Cake 炒蘿蔔糕. They probably just differ slightly in terms of their cooking styles and their final presentations, in which each is made and tailored to suit the locals.

Perhaps someone cares to enlighten me on this, pleeeeease?

Variations in name aside, there is a couple different variations in how they are stir fried too. There's the plain white version, and there's the version which incorporates the use of dark soy sauce, and hence a version with a darker hue in general. Some are loaded with bean sprouts and chives; and some simply stir fried with eggs and nothing else. Of course, there's also the very basic version - no extra ingredients, just cubed radish cakes first pan fried and then stir fried over a high heat with some light seasonings.

My favorite of all would be the version stir fried with Chai Poh (preserved turnip) 菜圃, loaded with bean sprouts, chives and plenty of chunky eggs. Yes, huge huge bits of eggs... mmMMmm lol. And one that comes with a tinge of dark soy sauce (I don't particularly fancy the plain white version, but of course not the one that's all too dark beyond recognition either). Oh, and of utmost importance, the cubed radish cakes will have to be pan fried prior to getting stir fried. Crispy exterior, soft and fragrant interior - PERFETTO!

pan fried radish cake, preserved turnip, egg, bean sprout and chive!

This Stir Fried White Radish Cake 炒蘿蔔糕 has gotta be one the few favorites of mine that I have truly missed ever since I moved here. I have not heard or read about a place actually serving this here where I live, let alone actually eating it here anywhere nearby. So each time the craving hits, my best option would be to make do with the pan fried radish cake commonly served in dim sum restaurants.

Same yummy stuff, same yummy origin, but but but - they are somewhat different kinds of yumminess!

So make my own it is then! The steamed radish cake recipe was one adapted from Yi at Yi Reservation on his post on Dim Sum Classic – Turnip Cake (蘿蔔糕). The stir fried part was one slowly developed over time based on my very first trial (which failed big time btw! lol). Took me a couple more times to experiment with plenty of changes in between, but it's all so worth the time and patience in the end.

My wish for now - is that the craving doesn't come hitting me (AGAIN!) anytime soon. lol.

Stir Fried White Radish Cake 炒蘿蔔糕 

Steamed radish cake
Adapted from Yi Reservation
Fills a 2-quart pan (about 8" x 8")
3lbs radish, rinsed and peeled
3 tbsps dried shrimps, rinsed and soaked to soften
2 chinese sausage
3 fresh shiitake mushrooms, wiped or lightly rinsed
500g rice flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp cooking oil

Seasoning (A)
1/2 tbsp light soy sauce
1/2 tbsp Shaoxing wine
1/2 tsp white pepper powder

Seasoning (B)
1/2 tbsp salt
3/4 tsp white pepper powder

1. Using a grater, coarsely shred the radish. Set aside. Roughly chop the dried shrimps, sausage and the mushrooms. Set aside.

2. In a large wok or skillet, bring in the radish followed by the salt. Pour in just enough water to cover the whole content. Bring to boil. Cover, turn the heat down to medium and let boil for about 15 minutes.
3. Remove from heat. Strain the content through a strainer and let rest on the strainer for about 10 minutes to drain off most of the liquid. Reserve the liquid for later use.

4. Heat up a deep pan with the cooking oil over high. Add in the dried shrimp, chinese sausage and mushroom. Stir fry until aromatic, lightly browned in general. Add in seasoning (A). Stir to mix really well. Remove from heat.

5. In a large mixing bowl, bring in the strained radish in step (3) together with the rest of the cooked ingredients in step (4).
6. Add in the rice flour followed by seasoning (B). Keep folding and mixing with a spatula until well incorporated.
7. Add in the saved liquid in step (3) gradually as you stir. Depending on how well the radish has been drained, you could be adding between 1/2 to 1 cup of liquid to get a batter with a thickness that is somewhat moist in general but will not slip off the spatula too easily. Note: too dry and the radish cake will be somewhat hard after getting steamed, too much liquid and the radish cake will be too moist. So go easy and go slow with adding in the liquid.

8. Lightly oil a 2 quart pan. Pour in the mixture and level the surface.
9. Set up a steamer, and bring the mixture to steam for about 40 minutes over a medium-high heat. It's ready if a test with the skewer inserted right in the middle comes out clean. Steam for a while longer otherwise.
10. Once done, remove from heat and let the radish cake cool down completely to room temperature. And it's done! You can eat it steamed, you can have it sliced into large rectangular pieces of about 1" in thickness and pan fried (the dim sum style, that is), or you can have them stir fried (read on!).

Stir Fried White Radish Cake 炒蘿蔔糕 
Makes an individual serving 
10oz steamed radish cake (scroll up for the recipe), cubed
a handful bean sprouts, trimmed and rinsed
a small bunch of chives, rinsed and cut into 2" sections
3 cloves garlic, minced
1½ tbsps preserved turnip, soaked for about 5 minutes then thoroughly drained
2 eggs
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp light soy sauce
1/2 tbsp dark sweet soy sauce (ABC kecap manis)
1 tbsp chili garlic sauce
a sprinkle of salt
a few dashes white pepper powder
3 tbsps (+ 1 tsp extra) cooking oil

1. Heat up a pan with 2 tbsps of the cooking oil over high. Bring in the cubed radish cake and spread out in a single layer. Let pan fry until the bottom gets browned and flip them over. Fry until all the sides are nicely browned. Dish out and set aside.
2. Bring the pan back to heat with a tbsp of cooking oil over high. Add in the minced garlic and stir fry until aromatic, lightly browned. Add in the preserved turnip next. Stir fry until lightly pungent.
3. Bring the radish cake back into the pan and stir well. Add in the fish sauce, light soy sauce, dark sweet soy sauce and a few dashes of white pepper powder. Toss and stir well. Add in the chili garlic sauce next. Again stir to mix well.
4. Pushing the content to the side, add in an extra tsp of cooking oil right in the center. Crack in the eggs with a dash of white pepper powder. Let set for a few seconds before stirring the eggs vigorously to break them up.
5. Bring the eggs to mix with the radish cake. Keep tossing until all the eggs appear to have set.
6. Again pushing the content to the side, add in the bean sprouts and chives with a sprinkle of salt.
7. Spoon the radish cakes on top of the bean sprouts and chives, covering them. Let undisturbed for about a minute.
8. Stir to mix everything well together. Continue cooking until the bean sprouts just begin to look slightly wilted.

9. Dish out and serve hot.


  1. Well written, with attractive pictures. Yummy!Hardly find good one in kuantan.I love this with lots of chai Poh and bean sprouts too! Don't you add some chilli? Your favourite? :-)

  2. Oh I saw the chilli garlic sauce you chose!

    1. This is so my favorite!!! And chili's a definite! hehehhe. You are right! Kuantan's sadly not quite the place for stir fried white radish cake. The best in town that I know is probably the decades-old stall in the pasar besar hehhe. Anyway, kityeng, thanks for the nice words of yours! And thanks for dropping by! :)

  3. Oh my, this looks so good! It’s even harder to find in Sarawak.. �� Thank you for the detailed explanation and step by step guide. Can’t wait to try it.!


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