Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Chive & Radish Rice Cakes

I think I am eating more vegetables now than my younger years. I don't really dislike vegetables but sometimes I find them boring and very few ways to cook them except stir fry, blanch or steam. At least the warmer days leave me with choices of eating raw and leafy vegetables like lettuce, arugula with a combination of raw fruits or eating them cooked, saute or stir fried. And Curry is a big influence in my eating habits these days as he must see greens on his plate at dinner time and I am left with no choice but to cook a big plate of greens everyday.

I have never used Chives in my cooking and would like to think that it is used more like a herb rather than a vegetable. But I love chives and cabbage Baos that are sold in the Asian groceries and would love to try making them one day. Rice cakes are not normally eaten in Malaysia and I have only tasted them once long time ago. I got the idea of this recipe from an old Dim Sum book of which I added radish and preserved radish to make it more flavorful.

The texture of these rice cakes is chewy and according to my kids, gooey too! According to the recipe they need to be steamed first and then pan fried. I tested both ways by steaming it first and then pan fried and also the shortcut way of filling the rice dough and pan frying it straightaway. I didn't find much difference in texture of the rice cakes which tasted doughy and just like cooked rice but mashed and patted into a patty! Perhaps some people like it steamed straight out of the heat but I like mine pan fried thereafter to give the slight crisp crust on the surface of these rice cakes.

The radish released moisture during the steaming, hence the filling remains moist with the slight sweet taste of the chive and its subtle aroma giving the plain rice cakes a better taste. The preserved radish added the savory part and definitely cannot be omitted as it is a lovely ingredient to add into any plain tasting ingredients like rice. It is best to roll the rice dough a bit thinner than 1/3 inch and not to overstuff with the filling as the dough cannot really stretch as with wheat dough and easily tear during the wrapping of the filling. My way to do it is to roll it round about 3 times larger than a teaspoon and use a heap of teaspoon filling for each rice cake. To seal it up, gather up the rim and sides slowly and pinch to close. Turn the cakes smooth side upwards and flatten slightly with your palm to form a disk shape.  It is best to serve these cakes warm as after a while exposed to the air they can become hard and needs to be reheated again. Snip the rice cakes to 4 parts before serving for a better presentation and serve with chilli sauce.

Recipe :
Ingredients :
2 cups Rice flour
1/2 cup Corn Flour
2 cups water
8 oz grated Daikon Radish
1 cup of chives, chopped
1/3 cup Dry & Preserved Radish, diced
1/2 of a shallot, diced
1/2 tsp 5 spice powder
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt
Cooking oil

Method :
Filling :
1)Heat 1 tbsp of cooking oil in a large frying pan. Saute the shallots for 30 seconds.
2)Add in the grated Radish and preserved Radish and stir to mix and cook for 5 mins.
3)Scatter in the chives and stir in to mix. Season with the 5 spice powder, pepper and salt. Cover with lid and let it cook for another 3 mins. Remove from heat and let the filling cool to room temperature.

Rice Cake:
1)Sift the rice flour and corn flour together.
2)Bring the 2 cups of water to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and immediately stir in the flour mixture. The flour will absorb all the liquid and produce a white gooey mass, keep stirring for 3 mins. Let it cool for 10 mins.
3)Using your hand or the heavy mixer with the hook attachment, squeeze and knead the dough for 5 mins. Flour your hand lightly with rice flour if too sticky but  the dough will get more smooth and doughy after you start working with it. Divide the dough into 10 to 12 equal size balls. Place in a bowl and cover while you work with one at a time. Grease a large steaming plate with some cooking oil. Prepare the steamer.
4)Take one rice dough ball, gently roll it out to about 1/3 inch thick and 3 times larger than a teaspoon. Place one teaspoon of the filling in the middle and gather up the edges to seal. Do this gently as the rice dough easily breaks and tear. Turn the bottom smooth side upwards facing you and lightly pat the rice cake flat to a disk. Transfer to the greased steaming plate, cover and continue with the rest of the rice dough and filling.
5)Once the water is hot, place the rice cakes into the steamer for 10 mins on medium heat. Remove and let cool or can be served warm with chilli sauce.
6)Alternatively, let the rice cakes cool for 10 mins, heat up some cooking oil in a frying pan and pan fry the rice cakes, 5 mins on each side. Dish up and cut each rice cake into half or quarter parts and serve with chilli sauce.

Makes : 10 to 12 rice cakes

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