steamed radish cake

Steamed Radish Cake / Lo Bak Gou

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Steamed Radish Cake/Kueh (Lo Bak Gou)

There’re three (or four actually if you fry the steamed kind) kinds of ‘carrot cake’ as far as I’m concerned, and they are all terrific in their own individual way…let’s first omit the western recipe of ‘carrot cake’ in this case–By steamed radish cake here or ‘Steamed Carrot Cake’ as it can be loosely translated, I’m referring to the kind that has nothing to do with the delicious cafe-style, sweet and nutty spiced cake dessert, baked from a batter made from the grated flesh of orange carrots covered in cream cheese frosting, which I love by the way and have featured on this site titled Carrot Cake Recipe.

radish kueh
radish kueh

Well this steamed radish cake or steamed carrot cake, also known in yum cha restaurants as ‘Lo Bak Gou'(in Cantonese dialect) is made from grated white daikon radish.  It’s also a steamed cake or ‘kueh’ (Singapore/Malaysisan) with a savoury taste rather than sweet. 

This brings me to the next one if you aren’t already confused enough! A simple twist on its texture brings this kueh to a whole new level: simply by pan-frying after steaming. You can order this pan-fried version of the same radish cake at yum cha restaurants as apparently it has its origins from the Hong Kong yum cha places. There are also yam versions of the same thing.

This Recipe Makes A Base for Making ‘Chai Tow Kueh’ – Fried Carrot Cake
The final (and my favourite) carrot cake is the fried version of the above steamed kueh or steamed radish kueh, diced into cubes and stir-fried with preserved turnips, kecap manis and eggs.

In Singapore hawker stalls, you’d be looking for a stall selling ‘Chai Tow Kueh’. You can get either the ‘black’ (sauce) or ‘white’ version (sans black sauce) but yes, to add to the confusion, they have the same name. It’s just the most delectable (surprise) breakfast ever! Here’s a link to my other ‘fried carrot cake’ recipe.

Meanwhile, you’ll still have to get through making this basic carrot cake before it can be turned into the fried version. It’s quite a bit of arm work with the stirring but well worth trying when you have the time and enough love to attempt.

Ingredients (flour mixture):
450g rice flour
50g tapioca flour
800 ml warm water (for mixing in with flours)
200 ml warm water in a separate jug (for adding to wok during cooking)

Ingredients (stir-fry):
250g daikon radish (or 1 large radish or 2-3 medium ones)
50g dried shrimps (soaked in hot water till soft)
a few shitake mushrooms; dried or fresh
*chinese sausage (chopped finely) or 150g minced chicken or pork
100g shallots

*optional – this can be vegetarian if you leave out the meat

Seasoning:
2 T vegetable or peanut oil
1 T sesame oil
1 T soy sauce
1 T oyster sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper

Garnish or to serve with:
1 small bunch of coriander leaves, diced
1 large red chilli, diced

Directions:
1. Pour the 2 kinds of flours into a deep bowl.  Add the 800ml water gradually into a ‘well’ or ‘hole’ made by your fingers in the middle of the flour mixture, mix the batter well using a wooden spoon till no lumps are visible.

2. Heat up a wok with the sesame and vegetable/peanut oil.

3. Stir-fry some shallots till browned and fragrant, add the dried shrimps ( and diced chinese sausage or meat if adding these) and fry for about 2-3 minutes. Add the radish and the seasoning sauces.

4. Pour the flour batter gradually and mix well, stirring until the mixture starts thickening and gets slightly dry and cakey but not completely dry. It should be sticky like a dough. You’ll want to add more water to the batter to ensure you get a caked up thick and rather firm paste.

5. Transfer the thickened mixture into a steaming tray. Lay across a piece of baking paper and then compact it with the back of a metal spoon and weigh it down with a heavy dish so that you have a thick ‘cake’-like texture that’s compacted. Steam on high for half an hour or till done (firm to the touch). Let cool and slice wit oiled knife.

6. (CRUCIAL TIP): Pan fry in shallow oil and brown all sides before serving! It tastes so much better! Add the chillies, coriander and spring onions as garnish.

7. You can also cut the radish cake into cubes for Fried Carrot Cake.

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