(Recipe) Carrot Cake

Carrot cake, Turnip cake, Radish cake or Cai Tau Kueh. In Singapore, they refer the same thing – a crispy omelette made with rice cake and pickled radish. It is a savory dish, not to be confused with the dessert carrot cake that we are used to here. Picture the fragrance of the egg, the soft interior and crisp exterior of the rice cake, the crunch of the preserved turnip, the saltiness of the fish sauce, the spiciness from the sambal, all coming together to form a delicious Singapore delicacy rivalled only by the Hong Kong dim-sum style carrot cake. The closest western counterpart I can think of is a gnocchi omelette.

Recipe
400g radish+carrot (300g radish, 100g carrot)
600g cooking liquid
150g rice flour
20g tapioca flour
6x Eggs
Preserved Turnip
Garlic
Fish Sauce
Sambal Belachan
Scallions

Preparation
—–Rice Cake—-
Shred the radish and carrot.
Cook them in 750g of cooking liquid until the carrot softens. You may use a pressure cooker to speed up the process.
The cooking liquid can be plain water, dashi stock, chicken stock, kombu stock etc. Since the carrot cake will be cooked further, it is not that important to flavor it too much.
Remove the cooked carrots and radishes, dry them, and store the remaining cooking liquid. You should have about ~200g of drained vegetables.
Measure the rice flour (150g) and mix it with the cooking liquid (~600g). The liquid should be relatively warm, preferably around 60 celcius. I used a proportion of 1:4 of flour to liquid. There are people who advise using enough radish so that there is not need for additional addition of water. I may try this next time.
Add in the vegetable and stir the mixture over low heat until the mixture just beginds to thicken. It should still flow easily into a container. You don’t want to steam with uncooked* mixture because the rice flour will settle down, resulting in a hardness gradient in the cake.
Steam the resulting mixture for 30 min. Test the doneness by running a stick through the cake and checking if it comes out clean.
Leave the cake refigerated overnight so that it is easier to handle.

—–Turnip—–
Wash and drain the turnip.
Chop 2 cloves of garlic for each tbsp of turnip used
Fry them in a healthy volume of oil until the turnip acquires a slight brown.

—–Cai Tau Kueh——
Heat up a non-stick pan with oil. CArrot cake is not meant to be a healthy dish, so be liberal with the oil.
Add in the cut pieces of carrot cake and allow the exterior to sear into a nice brown. This is really important to create that soft and crispy texture all at the same time.
Add in 2tbsp of turnip and garlic.
Drizzle roughly one egg per 100g of carrot cake pieces.
Once the egg is cooked on one side, break the disc into four and flip them over. This is more like a pancake than stir fry so resist the temptation to mix everything together.

To serve, stack the egg pancakes on top of each other, add a spoonful of sambal belachan and a handful of scallions.

Enjoy!

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