This is a popular Chinese delicacy I used to eat with my family in Singapore. Even tho it is often called a snack, I think it better to consider it as an appetizer for anytime of the day, breakfast, lunch, dinner or supper. The main base of this savory treat is made from Daikon radish and rice flour, making it gluten free and hearty enough to keep you full. If your are a vegetarian, you can substitute most of the ingredients using vegetable based items like veggie broth, 'fake' bacon or sausages and adding chopped Shiitake mushrooms too.
Because there are two way of serving this, whether simply eaten warm from the steamer or cut into slices or cubes then pan-fried, it makes it a versatile dish to serve as a Hors d'oeuvre, starter/appetizer or even your main entree, whichever suits the occasion.
Step 1: Prepping the Aromatics
We begin by prepping the aromatics first, We need them to be cook and nicely caramelized so they have a deep savory flavor instead of an overly raw bite and pungent smelling.
1) Cook your chopped bacon in a pan until crispy on the edges. Once crispy, reserved the fat as we are going to use it later to fry the garlic.
2) Fry your finely chopped garlic in the bacon fat until light golden brown. Do not fry too long or it will burn. Once cooked, remove from fat and placed them in a bowl.
3) To make crispy caramelized onions, in a small sauce pot, pour about 1/3 cups of oil. Place your onions into the oil and fry them for approximately 10 minutes till they are brown and crispy. Once crispy, remove from fat and placed them back in a bowl lined with paper towels.
Step 2: The Thing's You'll Need
Yield: 14 slices in 8 by 8 pan
1 small Daikon Radish
170 gm of Rice flour
2 cups (420gm/14.7floz) of water
1/2 a cube of chicken stock cube
1 white onions, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely diced
4 bacon, chopped
2 tablespoons of dried shrimp
2 scallions (green onion), chopped
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 sprig of scallion, diagonally chopped
1 red chilli or fresno, diagonally sliced
8 by 8 brownie pan OR A loaf pan
Cooking pots and pans
Step 3: Prepping the Dried Shrimp
Soak your dried shrimp in a small ramekin with 3 tablespoons of hot water from the tap. Once soften, remove from the water and chopped finely. Place them in a separate ramekin. Reserve the briny water for later.
Step 4: Grate Your Radish
Using a potato peeler, peel the skin of the radish first.
Then using a grater, one with the largest holes, grate your radishes. Be careful as the radish produce a lot of water and makes it slippery to grate.
Step 5: Cook the Radish
Once your radish is grated, transfer them into a big sauce pot. Then add in your water and stock cube. On medium to high heat, cook your radishes until tender. One sure way to know if your radishes are cook is to grab a piece and eat it.
I personally like my radishes have a little slight crunch.
Once tender, off the stove and remove pot from heat.
Step 6: Mix in All of the Ingredients
Place your pot back on the counter top and now add in all of the remaining ingredients such as rice flour, salt and sugar, shrimp, cooked bacon, crispy onions and garlic.
Mix it till it is well incorporated and batter looks like a very thick chunky cake batter.
Step 7: Insert Into 8 X 8 Pan
Lightly greased your pan to prevent it from sticking when inverting over.
Then spoon your batter into the pan and smooth the top as you go along.
Step 8: Steam Cooking
Preheat your steamer ensuring it's hot before placing your pan. If you are like me and don't have a conventional steamer, use a wok and a cookie tray as a lid.
Cook your radish cake for exactly 30 minutes on medium high heat. To check for doneness, use a toothpick and insert it in the middle of the batter. It should come out clean. A little residue might stick on the the toothpick because the rice batter is still too hot and tender, but no super sticky white batter should stick ;)
Step 9: Cooling & Turning Over
Once the cake is done, remove from the steamer and let it cool 3/4 of the way if you are serving it as the original steam version. Carefully run a knife or an offset spatula on the sides of the cake before releasing it out of the pan. then gently invert it unto a large tray or cutting board before slicing.
Step 10: Cut & Storage
Using a slightly greased knife will help tremendously in cutting them into slices as even tho they are firm, they are slightly sticky to touch.
You can eat them just like these or pan fry them.
Wrap any extra in an aluminium foil, tightly before storing them in the fridge. For prolonged storage, freeze them instead.
Step 11: Pan Fried Option
For the pan fried option, pour about 3 tablespoon of oil into a pan. Heat the pan before placing them inside.
Fry the cake until the sides are golden brown and crispy.
Step 12: Prepping Your Garnishes
Garnish your cake with some diagonally chopped scallions, sliced red chilli and sprinkle some sesame seeds.