How to make hawker-style fried carrot cake
Half a day’s preparation will prove to be worth the wait
Not to be confused with the popular cream-cheese based dessert, this local Singapore favourite is a savoury dish made up mostly of rice flour and white radish, which some refer to as white carrot.
Fondly called Chai Tow Kway 萝卜糕, this fried rice cake can be prepared two ways: black (with sweet dark soy sauce) or the white carrot cake variety.
For now, let’s focus on the most basic preparation of the dish, which is no less delightful. Making Singapore fried carrot cake happens in two phases — making the cake phase and stir-frying.
How to Make Singapore Fried Carrot Cake
Makes 5 servings
Total Preparation Time: 11 hours
Cooking Time: 40 minutes
- Chinese radish or daikon, 1 pound
- Vegetable oil, 6 tablespoons
- Salt, 2 ½ teaspoons
- White pepper, 1 teaspoon
- Ground rice flour, 2 cups
- Eggs, 6 large pieces
- Garlic, 2 tablespoons, chopped
- Water, 2 cups
- Thick soy sauce, ¼ cup
- 1 teaspoon of Sriracha
- Scallions, chopped, ½ cup
Making and steaming the cake phase:
- First, peel the Chinese radish and shred using a food processor. Set aside any remaining liquid.
- Place a flat wok over your stove and heat until it starts to smoke. (Make sure an accompanying lid is within reach).
- Drop 3 tablespoons of oil, swirl inside the wok so that the oil coats the bottom.
- Slide processed radish into the wok along with the remaining liquid you set aside.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper. Stir-fry over high heat for 2 minutes.
- Turn the heat moderately low, cook radish until tender, making sure the radish doesn’t stick together. This could take about 12 to 14 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, mix rice flour with water. Whisk well and drop in the radish. Take a 9-inch round cake pan and oil the bottom. Pour the resulting mixture into the cake pan. Don’t worry if it’s lumpy!
- Place cake pan atop a rack inside a steamer. Cover and steam for an hour over moderately low heat.
- Check the cake! Note thought that it could be well-formed, but still sticky to the touch.
- Let it cool for about an hour before wrapping the pan in cling wrap. Refrigerate overnight. (For at least 9 hours!)
The stir-fry phase:
- The next day, remove your cake from the refrigerator. Unwrap it. Using a knife, loosen the cake along its edges.
- Once loosened, turn cake upside down onto a cutting board.
- Cut the cakes into rectangular cubes, sizing them depending on your preference. Half an inch to two inches. Have fun with it!
- Pour 3 tablespoons of oil in a hot dry wok or non-stick pan and fry the cake , adding salt and pepper, until the edges are crisped. Remember not to move them around constantly, but to let cake rest for a few seconds in between stir-frying. Break them apart to avoid clumping together, as needed.
- Push the cubes aside and saute garlic and scallions on the pan.
- Add eggs and continue to stir-fry. Add a teaspoon of Sriracha and half a cup of chopped scallions.
- Once done, transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle more scallions if you wish. Serve!
- As mentioned earlier, you can add thick, sweet soy sauce while stir-frying the carrot cake cubes. You can even pour the egg over the cakes and mix well.
- Instead of radish, you can also make cakes out of rice flour alone.
- To make the black version of Singapore fried carrot cake, add more dark soy sauce while stir-frying or more chilli sauce for the “white” variety.
We know this seems like a lot of work to make it, but we promise that half a day’s preparation will prove to be worth the wait!