Cantonese Radish Cake
I made the radish cake for this Chinese New Year last night. I should had made it before the New Year but I had been unwell for more than a week and grandparents passed away, so I didn’t prepare.
Radish cake is one of the most traditional Cantonese dim-sum that can be obtained in any dimsum house or breakfast bistro. My late grandpa liked it so much, especially during his last days. Radish cake is among the few he was able to have. I couldn’t stop missing him when making the cake.
I have made radish cake for Chinese New Year for many years and I can make perfect cake now. I have experienced and improved this recipe for many times and friends of mine have practiced and proved it can definitely make delicious radish cake. It’s a detailed recipe but not complicated at all, actually it takes less than one hour to prepare and make.
Chinese white radish, 1, cleaned and peeled;
Dry shiitake mushroom, 3, 50g;
Cantonese sausage, 2;
Dry mini shrimp, 3tbsp;
Dry big scallop, 2;
Rice flour, 2 cups. Make sure it’s not glutinous rice flour.
How to do –
1. Let’s prepare the ingredients. Dry shiitake mushroom and dry scallop need to be soaked in water till soft. So I would suggest you to soak them in the morning and make the cake in the evening. Anyway, the cake needs to set in fridge overnight otherwise it would be hard to cut apart nicely. The Cantonese sausage can be obtained easily. Usually typical type is long and thin. Two or one and a half would be good enough;
2. Now let’s prepare the radish. This step is important for you need the taste of radish in the cake also to keep the texture of the radish. So I would process the radish in three ways, grating, shredding, and slicing. Squeeze the processed radish but make sure you keep the juice. It would be needed in making the batter later. In this way, I have 480g squeezed radish and about 1 cup of radish juice. To squeeze out the radish juice is important. In this way it would be easier to evaluate how much liquid when mixing the batter. For the amount of radish in this recipe, 450g to 500g would be alright;
3. Shiitake mushroom and sausage diced; dry scallop tore apart but keep the water that soaked the scallop, it’s full of good flavour and I would make the batter with it later;
4. Now everything is prepared. Let’s start cooking. I strongly recommend to use a non-stick pan otherwise you would cry when cleaning the pan. Heat 1tbsp of oil in hot pan, put in the sausage, fry in medium heat till fat released and fragrant;
5. Keep medium heat, put in dry shrimp and scallop, fry till fragrant;
6. Put in the shiitake mushroom, also fry till fragrant;
7. Put in the radish, mix well with other ingredients. Lid on and let them cook in medium heat for five minutes;
8. Now let’s prepare the batter. I now have one and a half cups of liquid mixture of radish juice and water soaked scallop. Add half cup of water. And now mix this 2 cups of liquid mixture with 2 cups of rice flour. The proportion of the liquid and flour, and the batter and other ingredients, are crucial. I would suggest to follow the proportions in this recipe strictly. Well, 2 and a half cups of liquid and flour would be alright;
9. Now you could taste the fried ingredients and season a little bit. But actually they are salty enough. I would put 1tsp of sugar. No salt, no MSG, no pepper. There shouldn’t any sauce in the pan. If there is, turn up the heat and reduce it, otherwise you would need to add a little rice flour in the batter;
10. Now this is the other important step. In low heat, put in the batter, mix with frying spoon immediately. The batter would set quickly and you would find it hard to stir. Don’t worry, try your best to stir the batter so that all ingredients coated with batter. Within one minute, the batter is half-cooked and set, not runny. Heat off;
11. Line the cake tin with a thin layer of oil and put in the cake mixture. Press it down hard;
12. It’s time to steam the cake. Water in steamer bring to boil, put in the cake tin, and cover it with tinfoil, not tightly, leave some gaps for it to breath. Steam in high heat for 20 minutes then remove the tinfoil, steam for 10 more minutes;
13. It depends on the size of the cake. Sometimes you need a bit more time steaming. Check if the cake is cooked with a chopstick. Stick a chopstick into the middle of the cake. If it turns out clean then it’s cooked, if there’s white batter on then give a bit more time;
14. Let it cool down in room temperature and keep in fridge overnight so that it can be cut nicely. Cut it into about 1cm thick slice and pan-fry double sides;
15. They are usually served with garlic chili sauce or sriracha chili sauce.
I also wrote a Chinese version here.