This isn’t an Asian version of the Western sweet dessert. It is a savory mash-up of daikon cake, eggs, and chili sauce that you could take in many different directions. This version is called “white carrot cake,” but the black kind has dark, thick soy sauce mixed in with the beaten eggs. The recipe below is the most true to the dish we had at the Maxwell Food Center in Singapore, but you can add bean spouts, onions or just about any other vegetable. Apparently the word for carrot and daikon are very similar in Chinese, where the dish originated, and the cake refers to how the shredded daikon and rice flour set up together.
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Time: About 20 minutes active; About 3-4 hours total
1 pound daikon, peeled and shredded, keep liquid
1 teaspoon salt and pepper, each (white pepper to maintain white color, if preferred)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 cup white rice flour
2 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon hot chili sauce (sriracha)
1 tablespoon thick soy sauce (ketjap manis)
2 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1. In a large skillet sprayed with cooking spray, cook daikon with its liquid and the salt over medium heat. Cover and steam 15 minutes until daikon is translucent. Remove from heat.
2. Meanwhile in a large bowl, whisk together sugar, pepper, rice flour and 1 cup water. Add daikon mixture and whisk well—it will be lumpy.
3. Add mixture to 6″-8″ cake pan sprayed with cooking spray. Steam for 30 minutes. I did this by adding 2-3 cups of water to a tall soup pot, filling a coffee mug half way with water, placing it inside, and bringing the water to a boil while covered. I then placed the cake pan on top of the mug, covered and steamed the cake, adding water as needed to the bottom of the pot.
4. Remove cake pan and place on cooling rack. Refrigerate a minimum of 2 hours, or overnight.
5. In a large skillet, add 1 tablespoon peanut oil and heat over medium heat. Remove daikon cake from pan and cut into small cubes. Fry until outsides are browned and crisp, turning occasionally, about 15 minutes.
6. Meanwhile in a small bowl, whisk together remaining tablespoons peanut oil, eggs, garlic and hot chili sauce. Add to skillet and mix to incorporate and cook eggs, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from pan to a large plate, drizzle with thick soy sauce and sprinkle with scallions and cilantro. Enjoy hot or at room temperature with extra hot chili and soy sauces.
Writer Bio: Adrienne D. Capps loves food AND is a vegetarian! These things are not mutually exclusive in her world. She is passionate about eating, drinking, cooking, teaching, reading about food and growing food. Her goal with her food blog, Vegetarianized.com, is to open up the world of vegetarian cooking and eating to the veg-friendly and the veg-curious in an accessible way. She promises never to try to convert or make you feel guilty—just that eating less meat can be part of a healthy, fun and, above all, tasty lifestyle.