Chai Tow Kuay (Fried Carrot Cake)

Black fried carrot cake
by Edward Ikhwan

My grandmother bakes a lot. She usually bakes traditional cakes, like Nian Gao and roll cakes. One of my favorite is Chai Tow Kuay, or as it is more known as Fried Carrot Cake. No, it’s not the same as the carrot cake that we usually find in bakeries. It’s actually a Singaporean snack – I grew up in Singapore as a child, so I am quite a fan of Singaporean food . They usually fried them black or white. My grandmother’s specialty is the black fried carrot cake. She taught me once, and since then I’ve always tried to bake them. I should say that’s it’s not as easy as how it looks, but it is worth a try.
My version is a little stickier than my grandmother’s, but it still tastes good!

Here’s the ingredients:
1. shredded half radish (around 400 grams)
2. a cup of water
3. 300 grams of glutinous rice flour
4. 100 grams cai poh (pickled radish)
5. sweet soy sauce
6. dark soy sauce
7. chili sauce (optional)
8. chopped spring onion

Now, here’s the step by step:
1. Boil cai poh for about 15 minutes, or until the saltiness reduce. Chopped them into small pieces. Leave them aside.
2. Mix water and rice flour. Pour them over the radish. But, remember! Don’t pour too much rice flour mix, or the cake will be very hard. Just enough, until the radish is all covered by the rice flour mix.
3. Bring the radish mix to boil, for about 30 minutes, until it becomes sticky. Then transfer it to a round baking pan. Steam it for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when it is inserted. Let it cool. For the best result, keep it in the fridge for a night.
4. Cut the radish cake into large pieces.
5. Heat one to two tablespoons of oil on a frying pan. Put the cake in. Let it cook for a while.
6. Cut them into smaller pieces by using a ladle, spatula or spoon. Put 1 tablespoon of cai poh (a pickled Chinese raddish). Add 2 teaspoons of dark soy sauce. Mix them up. Add sweet soy sauce as much as you want – I usually add a lot, because I like them sweet – and some chili sauce. Cook them for a while, then add chopped spring onion. Mix them.
7. Serve it while it’s still hot.

I don’t really use precise amounts in the recipe, so don’t worry if it turns out differently when you fix it, and if you make more, then there are some leftovers. The recipe itself, calls for 3 servings, but again, it’s up to you.

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