Radish cake is savoury in nature. This dish is traditionally served during Chinese New Year. It is said that during this time, the radish is most juicy and sweet. But most importantly, it signifies prosperity (yes, the Chinese take their homophones seriously). Nowadays, you can find steamed radish cake whole year around at local Hong Kong dim sum outlets. I, however, still prefer the homemade version as commercial radish cakes tend to stinge on ingredients (Chinese call it 料) for economic reasons. But if you are doing it at home, you could put as much in as you like.
So, what makes a good radish cake? I like it to be packed with radish flavour AND springy at the same time. I also like a crispy outer layer but soft tender inside. And I like to accentuate the flavour with loads of other ingredients (料). Eat it with a dab of chilli and hoisin sauce, well maybe a dollop, and it is as near to heaven as you could get. You could either serve it just steamed, pan-fried, or stir-fried with eggs and beansprout. Normally if it is the later, you could ignore the of the other essential ingredients and cook it plain.
Chinese Breakfast Recipe - Steamed Radish Cake 萝卜糕
800 g radish, peeled, grated and squeeze dry
300 g rice flour
40 g wheat starch
450 ml water (from radish and soaking water)
2 pcs wax sausages, diced
5 pcs shitake mushroom, soaked and diced (retain water)
2 pcs dried scallop, soaked and shredded
50 g dried shrimps, soaked
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, finely chopped
3 tbsp oil
little oil for frying
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp five spice powder
2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1. Soak mushroom, scallop and dried shrimp for 1/2 hour in a little water. Grate radish finely and squeeze out as much water as possible. Add soaking water and radish juice to make up 500 ml of water. Mix rice flour and wheat starch with water.
2. Heat up 3 tbsp oil in a wok. Add in shallot, garlic, dry shrimp and wax sausage. Fry until fragrant. Then add in mushroom and scallop and continue to fry until fragrant.
3. Add grated radish and saute until it is fragrant and dry. Add in seasoning.
4. Lower heat. Stir rice flour mixture so that there are no lumps. Then pour the mixture into the wok and continue to stir until it becomes a pasty batter. Remove from fire and transfer to container.
5. Steam over high heat for 40-45 mins. Remove and set aside to cool. Refrigerate to harden cake before cutting. Do not cut while cake is still hot as it would be too soft.
6. Cut cakes into 1/2 inch think and sear over oiled hot skillet to get a crispy layer before serving. When layer turns brown, turn and do the other side. Serve with chilli and hoisin sauce.