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In Singapore when we talk about “carrot cake”, the next phrase that comes with it is “black or white?”. And of course we are talking about the savoury kind, not the dessert, actual cake with cream cheese frosting type of carrot cake.
To be accurate, it is actually suppose to be called radish cake, or affectionately known as “Cai tao kueh” This is made with white radish, shaped like a massive white carrot or also known as the Japanese Daikon. It has a faint peppery taste, way milder than the small red/yellow kind.
The basic recipe for this cake is to shred heaps of radish and rice flour mixture, which is then steamed until it forms a giant savoury cake. Add in a bit of carrot, wax sausages (I would call it the asian chorizo), dried shitake mushrooms, coriander, dried shrimp if you want to make life easier later by pan frying slices of it as a snack, or Dim-Sum style.
Cross sectional slices of what it looks like after steaming for 40mins: I tend to cut the radish instead of shredding it so as to keep the texture when I pan fry the slices.
Beautiful colours. (I forgot the shitake mushrooms!)
So, there are 2 options what to do with the cake.
1) Pan fry until crispy and served with sweet soy sauce.
2) White Carrot cake: Stir fry with egg, prawns and preserved radish, drizzled with fish sauce.
If you want the black carrot cake, fried in egg and dark soy sauce, just shred the radish finely and keep the recipe simple.
Option 1! I love sweet sauce. =D It’s a huge bottle of sweet soy sauce and I wonder when I’ll ever finish that.
Option 2! Great recipe here: http://xinfully.wordpress.com/2011/08/03/fried-carrot-cake-or-chai-tow-kway/
Do NOT be overly generous with fish sauce. I nearly gave myself hypertension by blindly giving a few good lashings of it. Also, to play it safe, always soak preserved radish in water for 10mins before use.
Option 3: Black Carrot cake - Similar to white carrot cake, except that it is only fried in egg, garlic, spring onions and indonesian kechap manis (sweet soy sauce).
I would reccomend Singaporeans residing overseas to try making cai tao kueh as it is actually quite easy. My British colleagues seem to like it too. =]