Saturday, February 27, 2010

Steamed Radish Cake

It has been a long time since I last made any Chinese dishes and snacks. Same with all my bakings, I have to wait for the mood to come along when I am ready to go shop for the ingredients and take time in the kitchen to prep them. Simple Chinese cooking is very quick when comes to the cooking part while the prepping part takes more time, especially when the dish involves more than garlic and ginger!

This steamed radish cake is served at Dim Sum restaurants and also a dish made at home and served during the Chinese New Year celebration. This happens to be Curry's favorite too and his father used to make it all the time when he is here on his annual visit. There is another similar taro version of which I will keep it in my to do list until I can locate a good taro and the recipe. 

To make this dish is not difficult and perhaps the only thing that is dreaded is grating the radish. Recently it is very popular in Hong Kong to make this dish from thicker string cuts of the radish, resembling french fries shape and size. This gives the texture a more chunkier bite. I made it the old fashioned way by grating the whole radish thinly in strands. Rice flour and wheat starch which are available in Asian stores are the main dry ingredients which bind all the other ingredients together to form a very thick paste which is then spooned into a greased dish pan and steamed on medium heat for 1 hour. As tomorrow will be the 15th day of the Chinese New Year celebration, I added goji berries to give the dish an auspicious color. I used a square pyrex dish measuring 9' x 9' to contain it and a wok to do the steaming. This dish can be eaten straightaway or let cool completely  overnight and cut into slices and pan fried in a little oil till slightly brown on both sides and served with chilli sauce. Either way, it is good tasting when you are in the need of something different and savory.

Recipe :

1-1/2lb (700g) grated Daikon radish (do Not squeeze out any water from the radish)
1/2 cup Wheat Starch Flour
1-1/3 cup Rice Flour
2 cups lukewarm water
3 cloves garlic (minced or grated)
1/2 cup Goji berries (optional)
1/3 cup dried shrimp
2 of Chinese Preserved Sausage (sliced and diced to small pieces)
2/3 cup of sliced shitake mushrooms
(about 4, re-hydrated and sliced thinly)
1-1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp White pepper
1 tsp Sesame Oil
1/2 tsp of 5 Spice Powder
Scallion for garnish

Method :

1)Heat 3 tbsp cooking oil in a large pot. Saute the garlic for 1 min and then add in the dried shrimp and Chinese sausage. Stir to mix and saute for about 5 mins.
2)Add in the mushroom slices. Mix and let cook for about 2 mins. Add in the grated radish together with the salt, pepper, sesame oil and 5 spice powder. Stir to mix all the ingredients together. Let it cook for 7 to 10 mins, continue stirring.
3)Place the rice flour and wheat starch into a large bowl and pour in the lukewarm water. Stir to blend thoroughly.
4)Add the goji berries into the radish mixture into the pot, stir to distribute. Pour the flour and water mixture into the pot and stir and cook for about 5 mins till it is almost dried out.
5)Prepare a large steamer and grease a round or square dish measuring 8 or 9 inches. Remove the radish mixture from heat and scoop and pat down the mixture into the oiled dish. Steam on medium heat for 1 hour.
6)When first removed from the steamer, the texture feels wet and slightly firm. Let cool to room temperature before slicing. If desired, can be pan fried with a little vegetable oil before serving.

Serves : 6 to 8 persons