Vegan Chai Tow Kway (Fried Carrot Cake)

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Yields: 2 Servings Difficulty: Medium Prep Time: 1 Hr Cook Time: 15 Mins Total Time: 1 Hr 15 Mins

Chai tow kway is a childhood favourite of many Singaporeans and Malaysians. I honestly have never met anybody who doesn’t like chai tow kway. (And if they exist, I probably don’t want to meet them!) This delicious, chewy, salty-sweet dish has been a love of mine since I was a child.

As this dish is made with radish, people are often confused about why it’s called carrot cake. Well, that is because both radish and carrot are called 萝卜 (luo bo) in Mandarin and 菜头 (chai tow) in Hokkien. As it seems, something got lost in translation.

If you live in Singapore / Malaysia, you can actually buy ready-made radish cakes which makes it much easier to reproduce this at home. However, since we are not in either of those places, I am also sharing the recipe on how to make it yourself. Making your own radish cake is also very satisfying because you can have a higher ratio of radish to flour.

When ordering chai tow kway at a hawker stall, you typically get asked if you want black or white. You can even have 鸳鸯 (yuan yang), which is half and half. I prefer the sweeter black version and my partner likes the white version with chilli.

Because the preserved radish is quite salty to begin with, we don’t need to go too heavy on the sauces. I usually also rinse the preserved radish before using to get rid of some of the salt.

If you are looking for the other Chinese carrot cake, you will find it Lo Pak Go (萝卜糕) Cantonese Radish Cake.

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Ingredients

0/18 Ingredients
Adjust Servings
    For Radish Cake (two servings)
  • For Vegan Egg (per serving)
  • Other Ingredients (per serving)
  • For Black (per serving)
  • For White (per serving)

Instructions

0/14 Instructions
  • Skin and grate the radish. WEIGH IT. Add 3 tbsp of water and steam it for 30 minutes. Leave to cool until room temperature.
  • CHECK THE NOTES. Create a paste from rice flour and water. Add the steamed radish, including any radish water. Add a pinch of salt. It will look like some kind of sticky coleslaw.
  • Place into a mould, pressing until even, and steam for another 30-40 minutes until cooked through. You can also line the mould with baking paper if you prefer, for easier removal later.
  • Leave to cool until room temperature. Then leave in the fridge at least overnight.
  • Remove from the fridge and cut into blocks while it's cold so it does not get too sticky. Oiling the knife also helps.
  • Mince the garlic, preserved radish, and spring onions. I'm splitting everything into two because I will be making half black and half white.
  • Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan and fry the chai tow kway pieces until golden.
  • Make a hole in the middle, add the garlic, preserved radish, and spring onion whites. You can add a bit more oil over them if you need to. Fry until raw smell disappears.
  • For Black
  • Make the vegan egg mixture.
  • Fry the vegan egg mixture into scrambled texture (preferably beforehand or in a different pan).
  • Add the vegan egg mixture, the sauces, and the ground white pepper. Mix well.
  • For White
  • Add the sauces, and the ground white pepper. Chilli is optional. Mix well.
  • Arrange the pieces around the pan to have some holes in between and pour the vegan egg mixture into the holes, creating a kind of omelette.
  • Sprinkle with the spring onion greens and serve hot.

Notes

After you grate the radish, weigh it again. My radish weighed 600g before grating and became only 420g after grating.

You may have to recalculate the amount of rice flour and water. The ratio of grated radish : rice flour : water is 3 : 1 : 1.25

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