I must admit that I am a terrible shopper, especially when it comes to grocery. Whenever I'm doing my food shopping in a large supermarket, my eyes will lit up and all sense of proportions and quantities goes out of the window. What makes it worse is that I do not like list making, therefore, a shopping list that will keep me in check is never at hand to curb my frivolous way. Yes, every interesting thing I see, I will poke it to within the last inch of their life and then without thinking, chuck them into my basket. Before I knew it, it will be full and I would have gotten more things than I initially set out to buy. When I'm at a Chinese supermarket, I'm at my worse. Everything just looks so enticing, and can you blame me?
Last week, I went to Chinatown to buy some ingredients for my Singapore Chai Tow Kway/ Fried Carrot Cake and as usual, decided to get two large daikon/mooli. Not entirely sure why as I only needed one but after making the carrot cake, and being left with a lonely white radish sitting solitarily on my kitchen top, I've decided to make the Cantonese version as well. This is the frugal side in me coming out, kind of equivalent to a buyer's remorse. I simply cannot let it goes to waste.
The Cantonese radish cake/ Loh Bak Goh 蘿蔔糕 or sometimes known as the turnip cake is a very popular Dim Sum dish. It is also commonly found over the Chinese New Year festival as this creamy radish delight is considered to be very auspicious for the Cantonse. It is essentially rather similar to the white radish cake for the Chai Tow Kway but instead of being just plain, it is full of delicious savoury ingredients such as the Chinese cured sausage/lap cheung, dried shrimps/hae bee, shiitake mushroom and many more. The end product is much more fragrant and flavoursome and all it need is to be gently pan-fried and is ready to serve. So Lucky me, two tasty carrot cake breakfast in a row and I'm not complaining.
Ingredients (Serves 4-6)
750g grated daiko/white radish
800ml boiling water
25g dried shrimp
20g dried shiitake mushroom
3 Chinese Lap Cheung/sausage
1 tbsp sunflower oil
3 spring onions, finely sliced
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander
200g rice flour
Sunflower oil, for frying
light or dark soy sauce for serving
chilli sauce, for serving
Place the grated daikon in a large pan and pour over enough boiling water to completely cover the daikon. Leave for 10 minutes and drain in a colander, reserving 400ml of the soaking water.
Soak the dried shrimps and mushrooms in hot water for 30 minutes. Drain and add the soaking liquid to the reserved daikon water. Squeeze out any excess water from the mushroom, cut off the tough and chewy stalk and finely diced the cap.
While the shrimps and the mushroom are soaking, place the lap cheung/sausage in a steamer and steam in a wok or a large pan, over simmering water for 10 minutes. Remove and finely diced.
Heat the oil in a wok until smoking. Add the lap cheung/sausage and shrimps and stir fry for 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add the spring onions, rice wine, sugar, salt, black pepper and then the drained daikon, rice flour, coriander and toss well to combine. Finally, pour in the reserved soaking water and mix thoroughly.
Line a 9 inch cake with cling film. Pour the mixture into the pre-lined cake tin and smooth with a spatula. Place the tin in a steamer and steam over simmering water for 1 1/2 hours, until firm. Remember to replenish the boiling water every so often, do not allow the steamer to dry out. Remove the tin from the steamer and leave to cool in the fridge overnight.
Cut the cake into 1 cm thick slices. Heat some oil in a frying pan until smoking and pan fry the radish cakes in batches for 2 minutes on both sides, until golden and crispy. Serve immediate with you choice of either light or dark soy sauce, along with some chilli sauce.