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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Carrot Cake Chai Tow Kway

First, I have to set the record straight - this 'cake' or 'kway' we Teochews call it, is steamed and not baked. It is not just comfort food but an identity food. It is called 'Chai Tow Kway' by any dialect group, "Chai Tow" being radish in Teochew and "kway", the "cake". This dish is the best way to elevate the lowly status of the white radish, good enough to be served in countless dim sum restaurants.

Grandma used to serve it steamed, garnished with parsley, shallots and spring onions. My household serves it crispy , with vicious lashings of dark sweet sauce and prawn chilli.

Since I do not have any big enough steamer but the microwave, I have adapted the cooking method here to suit my needs. It seems a little tacky having to check for 'doneness' of the carrot cake all the time, but considering that I don't have to invest in a steamer nor need wait for the water to boil, it may not be a bad idea after all.

For 8 persons :

200g rice flour
600 ml water
1/3 C dried shrimps
200g shredded radish
1/3 C dried mushroom slivers

1/3 C shallots
Chinese sausage , thinly sliced ( optional )

Mix rice flour with water.
Heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil. Fry shallots, shrimps,mushroom, radish,sausage until fragrant.

Finally add wet ingredient , stirring constantly until the mixture is not runny but still "spreadable".
Transfer half cooked radish/carrot mixture onto a well oiled microwaveable glassware.

( From here onwards, the rule of thumb is : always under-cook and go easy on the microwave timer since a overly nuked carrot cake is cause for heartache. )

Microwave on half power until the corners of the carrot cake is firm to the touch. This should take about 10 min to do.

Observe that the centre of the cake is still runny and looks a tad more whitish than the cooked greyish edges.
Use aluminum foil to shield the cooked corners and those at the edge of the glassware. To do this, cut a hole on a sheet of aluminum foil and place on the centre of the glassware,exposing the uncooked radish mixture.
Proceed to microwave the centre at half power. This center portion should take about 7 minutes to cook.

Remove when the centre is cooked and let it stand for 30 minutes.
when the 'cake' is cooled, cut the carrot cake to squares and fry them until crispy. Never attempt to cut or remove the carrot cake while very hot, as it will break apart very easily.

Serve with chilli sauce and sweet soya sauce.

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