No, this is not your regular dessert. In fact this savory cake has no carrot! At least not the orange one.
This is one of Singapore’s hawker delicacies. It is locally known as “Chai Tow Kway”. It is made of radish instead of carrot. For some reason, back in time, some westerners, confused in translation perhaps, called it carrot cake, and the name stuck. It is made with white carrot, also known as radish, stir fried with eggs, and flavored with seasonings. Chilli is added on request to give you an extra kick.
Two variations can be found: black and white. The black one is fried with dark soy sauce, while the white one is fried only with beaten eggs to form a crispy crust.
Here is a recipe if you want to make it at home:
Yield: 6 (main course) servings
Cooking Time: 35 min
Total Time: 11 1/2 hr
- 1 pound daikon (also called Chinese radish or luo bo)
- 7 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 2 cups finely ground rice flour (not sweet; an Asian brand such as Erawan)
- 2 cups water
- 6 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
- 1/4 cup ketjap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce) or thick soy sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sambal oelek or Sriracha (Southeast Asian chile sauce) plus additional for serving
- 3 scallions, chopped (1/4 cup)
- 1/2 cup loosely packed sprigs fresh cilantro
Special equipment: a well-seasoned 14-inch flat-bottomed wok with lid
Make and steam cake:
Oil bottom and side of a 9-inch round cake pan.
Peel daikon, then shred in a food processor fitted with medium shredding disk. Reserve any liquid.
Heat wok over high heat until a drop of water evaporates instantly. Pour 3 tablespoons oil down side of wok, then tilt wok to swirl, coating side. When oil begins to smoke, add daikon with any liquid, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and stir-fry 3 minutes. Cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring and breaking up daikon occasionally, until daikon is very tender, about 15 minutes.
Whisk together rice flour and water in a large bowl until smooth, then stir in daikon (mixture will be lumpy) and pour into cake pan.
Set a steamer rack inside cleaned wok and fill wok with water (not above steamer rack), then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to moderate and steam cake in pan on rack, covered, 1 hour (replenish water as necessary). Wearing oven mitts, transfer pan to a cooling rack and cool about 1 1/2 hours. Wrap pan tightly with plastic wrap and chill at least 8 hours.
Run a knife along edge of cake to loosen, then invert onto a cutting board, rapping on bottom of pan until cake is released. Blot with paper towels. Cut cake into 1/2-inch cubes.
Beat together eggs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a bowl.
Heat dried wok over high heat until a drop of water evaporates instantly. Pour remaining 4 tablespoons oil down side of wok, then tilt wok to swirl, coating side. When oil begins to smoke, add cake cubes, garlic, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and stir-fry, letting cake rest on bottom and sides of wok about 10 seconds between stirs, until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. (Cubes will soften and may stick to wok. Scrape brown bits from bottom of wok and continue stir-frying.) Add eggs to wok and stir-fry until eggs are just set, about 1 minute. Stir in ketjap manis, sambal oelek, and scallions, then transfer to a serving dish and scatter cilantro on top. Serve with additional sambal oelek.
Recipe courtesy: Epicurious