Chai Tow Kway is a traditional Teo Chew cuisine popular in South East Asia. In the local language, chai tow kway (or chai tau kueh) can directly be translated as fried carrot cake, though it has no carrots in it. In fact, its core ingredient is the humble white radish or daikon.
Things have changed since we first shared this recipe in 2010. Our culinary experiences have expanded and our palates have since grown. I hope that we never stop learning and improving our ways in the kitchen.
It’s not often that we would choose to revisit a much loved recipe here on our blog. However as time passes, The Boy continues to tweak this popular street side (hawker stall) dish available at most Malaysian pasar malams (night markets) and Singaporean hawker stalls. This dish is also available at most dim sum (yum cha) places.
The favourite part of The Boy cooking this meal for us is that I get to travel down memory lane with it.
I am reminded of my childhood days of wandering the busy night market stalls on Saturday nights with Madam Mummy and Big Sis in search of our dinner. We would scour the streets just to find our favourite rojak stall, popiah vendor, chai tow kway uncle, ayam goreng (fried chicken) stall and other favourites.
You can see how spoilt I was when it came to having a variety of good food to choose from. I am forever grateful to that exposure growing up.
If I could go back now and speak to that 5 year old me, I’d say, “don’t bother playing with the carousel and slides at McDonald’s, go explore, inhale and eat all the things, as when you are much older you will regret that you didn’t enjoy it enough”!
Luckily for me, I have The Boy who helps me reclaim some of my childhood dreams in the form of chef-ing in our home kitchen 🙂
Chai Tow Kway – Fried Radish Cake Recipe
For the Radish Cake:
- 600 g of shredded White Radish (Daikon)
- 3 Tablespoons of Water
- 200 g Rice Flour
- 250 ml Water
For the Stir Frying Ingredients:
- for 1 quarter of radish cake prepared
- 2 Tbsp of Peanut Oil (reserve another 1 tsp for later)
- 1 Tbsp of Shallot Oil
- 1 Tbsp of Garlic (diced)
- 1 Tbsp of Lap Cheong (Chinese sausage) (diced)
- 1 Tbsp of Preserved Turnip (Chai Poh)
- 1 tsp of Chilli Paste (adjust if you prefer it spicier)
- 2 Eggs
- 1 tsp of Fish Sauce
- Dash of Ground White Pepper
- 1 Tbsp of Spring Onions/Scallions (sliced)
- 1 handful of Bean Sprouts
- 1 Red Chilli (sliced)
- Coriander leaves (for garnishing)
- Add 3 tablespoons of water to the shredded radish. Steam radish in wok until it turns translucent. This should take about 25 – 30 mins on low flame. Take radish out and leave it aside to cool.
- To prepare the flour mixture, add a pinch of salt and sugar into the flour. Mix flour into 250ml of water. Stir the mixture thoroughly to remove any lumps.
- Combine the cooled radish with the flour mixture and mix thoroughly.
- Pour your final mixture into a cake tin and steam with a wok for 30 – 35 minutes over a medium-high flame.
- Take the radish cake out and leave it to cool for a few hours or overnight in a refrigerator. This will allow the cake to firm up.
- To stir fry, cut out 1 quarter of the radish cake and keep the rest in the refrigerator.
- Cut the quarter into smaller chunks.
- Heat peanut oil and shallot oil in a "seasoned" wok on medium-high heat. Add in your radish cake.
- Fry till the edges are brown and crispy-looking (if you prefer a crunchier texture on the outside, leave it to brown further).
- Add in garlic, lap cheong and preserved turnip. At this stage, you might find that the wok is a little dry. If that’s the case, add another teaspoon of oil. Fry till garlic is fragrant.
- Add the chilli paste. Stir ingredients and add the eggs in. Add the fish sauce and a dash of white pepper.
- Toss in the sliced red chillies and some spring onions. Fry till the egg cooks.
- Add the remaining sliced spring onions and a handful of bean sprouts in and fry for a further 5-10 seconds. Turn the flame off. Give a quick stir before plating up.
- Garnish with coriander leaves.
Note: If you don’t have a “seasoned” wok, use a non-stick pan to prevent the radish cake from sticking onto the base when frying.
You can also try the “dark” version. Just add in Thick/Dark Soy Sauce (Cheong Chan Thick Caramel Sauce) at the same time as the fish sauce and white ground pepper.
I guess I am lucky after all to have married a pure Teo Chew boy 😛 We showed pictures of this dish once to my Po Po who exclaimed in delight that The Boy had gone to all the lengths to replicate this dish at home.
I’m so proud that she knew I was well looked after by The Boy 🙂
What childhood dish would you like to recreate?