This recipe for Radish cakes came from my friend Marcus, whose mother comes from Singapore. He said that this is one of his favourite dishes from Singapore though recipe comes from a Malaysian chef. Some of the cuisine in Singapore is the same or very similar to Malaysia. In fact, I have visited both countries and enjoyed a variety of tasty foods there. However, before he sent me the link, I had never heard of this dish before in either of the countries.
The Rasa Malaysia website is the original source of the recipe for radish cakes. Marcus had mentioned that I could either make the radish cakes or buy them from a Chinese supermarket. I decided to go for the full challenge and make them myself. Just keep in mind that this does take awhile and it needs some chilling time. Therefore, it may be best to make the radish cakes the day before you cook them in this dish. One of the best discoveries from this recipe is something called sweet dark sauce. I could not find the recommended Rose’s brand from the recipe. However, the ABC brand is very flavourful. It’s basically a dark, sweet, thick version of soy sauce. Yum!
Another modification I made was that I used pickled vegetables which may or may not be considered chai poh. I didn’t find anything with the specific name at the Chinese supermarket. As an aside, in London I like shopping at either Loon Fung in Chinatown or Hoo Hing off the A406 North Circular. On this occasion, I bought most items from Loon Fung but they were sold out of radishes. Luckily I found one nearby at Tian Fu.
1 medium radish, about 700 g
200 g (7 oz.) rice flour
250 ml (8 oz.) water
1/4 teaspoon salt
Sauce for frying radish cakes
Steamed radish cakes from above
3-4 Tbsp chai poh, preserved radish/turnip
5 eggs, lightly beaten
6 cloves minced garlic
4 tsp fish sauce or slightly more, if you like
6 Tbsp vegetable oil
Dash of white pepper
Chili sauce, optional
2 Tbsp Thick Sweet Soy Sauce
6 stalks spring onion, chopped
Coriander leaves for garnishing
First, over low heat, steam grated radish and 50ml water in a heavy pot. Steam for about 30 mins, or until radish turns translucent. Remove cover and allow to cool.
Next, in a large bowl, combine rice flour, salt and water. Mix well to combine.
Add the rice flour solution to cooled grated radish. Stir and mix before pouring into a metal cake tin for steaming. Then, steam on high for 40 mins. Leave it until completely cool (best overnight in the refrigerator), so that the radish cake is firm and easy to cut.
Frying the radish cakes
First, cut up steamed radish cake into small chunks. Smaller chunks will crisp better. Although I did find that it started to merge together once it was frying, so I just used the spatula to keep breaking it up.
Next, in a non-stick skillet, heat oil and fry radish cake chunks until lightly browned and slightly crisp. Heat should be medium high.
Add minced garlic and chai poh or pickled vegetables. Fry until aromatic. Drizzle a little more oil if it is too dry. Next add fish sauce, pepper (and chilli sauce if you like it spicy). Fry to coat evenly with seasoning.
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.
Drizzle with Thick Sweet Sauce and stir fry. Dish up and sprinkle liberally with spring onions. Garnish with coriander leaves.
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