Radish cake is probably more commonly known as “carrot cake” in Singapore, although there’s no carrot in the dish. In Mandarin, radish is known as 白萝卜 (bai luo bo) where ‘白’ means white and carrot is known as 红萝卜 (hong luo bo) where ‘红’ means red/orange. Radish cake is therefore called 萝卜糕 (luo bo gao) in Mandarin, which is possibly why locals call it “carrot cake”. There are two main types of radish cake. The type that is commonly served in dim sum restaurants is usually prepared with radish, rice flour, and other ingredients like Chinese sausage, mushrooms and dried shrimps, then steamed and subsequently pan-fried. The other type more commonly found in hawker centres is prepared with radish and rice flour without the other extra ingredients, then steamed and subsequently stir-fried with garlic, egg and preserved radish. I far prefer the latter actually, but wanted to try making the former. It’s easier to make than I had expected, but it’s slightly laborious if you don’t have a food processor to grate the radish. I grated the radish by hand and was sweating buckets in the kitchen.
The main ingredients required in this radish cake are radish, rice flour, Chinese sausage, dried mushrooms and dried shrimps. Do take note, Chinese sausage have a plastic-like casing that should be removed prior to cutting. If you try removing it just as it is, you’ll find that it’s really difficult to remove it properly. What you can do is soak the Chinese sausage in hot water for a while, then try to peel off the casing thereafter. The casing will come off easily! For the dried mushrooms and dried shrimps, soak them in hot water for at least 10-15 minutes.
What you’ll need are grated radish, diced Chinese sausages, diced mushrooms, roughly chopped dried shrimps (I personally don’t like eating dried shrimps as a whole so I chopped mine. You can choose to leave your dried shrimps as a whole), rice flour and some liquid. I highly recommend saving the soaking liquid of the dried mushrooms and dried shrimps to use in making the radish cake. This soaking liquid is full of umami goodness! Add more water to make up 330ml of liquid if needed. Some other ingredients that are not shown are seasonings like salt, sugar and pepper.
Note: If you prefer a firmer radish cake, you can use less water. I prefer mine slightly soft.
Boil the grated radish in a pot of water for about 5-7 minutes, until the radish turns translucent. Drain the water away and squeeze the radish to remove excess water.
In a frypan, fry the Chinese sausage, mushroom and dried shrimps with some oil for about 5 minutes.
Add the cooked grated radish and stir fry for a short while.
Mix the rice flour and cornstarch with the reserved soaking liquid.
Add the batter into the frypan and mix well. At this point, you can reduce to low heat or even turn off the fire.
The final mixture will look like a sticky mess as above. If you find the mixture hard to stir, add some water to the mixture.
Put the mixture in a well-oiled metal tin or glass pan.
Cover with aluminium foil (to prevent water from dripping into the radish cake) and steam for 40-50 minutes, depending on the size and height of your radish cake.
After steaming, the radish cake will look somewhat wet and gooey. Let it rest for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour before eating. You can top it off with some fried shallots and spring onion, and serve with some chilli and sweet sauce. But what I will highly recommend is to keep the radish cake refrigerated overnight and pan-fry or deep-fry it the next day. It will taste way better that way!
Cut into cubes or thick slices if you prefer.
For me, because I cut mine into cubes, I deep-fried them to get them crispy and golden brown on all sides.
And there you have it – radish cake cubes which are crispy on the outside but soft and velvety on the inside! It’s a wonderful tea-time snack that young and old will like!
- 750 g radish ($2.50)
- 80 g Chinese sausage (diced) (?)
- 30 g dried mushrooms (soaked and diced) ($0.825)
- 18 g dried shrimps ($0.576)
- 200 g rice flour ($0.58)
- 330 ml water + soaking liquid
- 2 tbsp cornstarch ($0.042)
- 2 tsp salt ($0.056)
- 1 tsp sugar ($0.006)
- 1 pinch pepper ($0.011)
- Soak the Chinese sausages in hot water for about 5 minutes, then remove the casing and dice the sausages
- Soak the dried mushrooms and dried shrimps separately in hot water for about 10 minutes, then remove from soaking liquid. Pour the soaking liquid into a bowl and add more water, if needed, to make up 330ml of liquid
- Dice the mushrooms and roughly chop the shrimps.
- Grate the radish.
- Boil the radish in a pot of water for about 5-7 minutes, until radish turns translucent. Drain away water and squeeze radish to remove excess water.
- In a frypan, stir fry the sausages, mushrooms and shrimps for about 5 minutes.
- Add cooked radish into frypan and stir fry for a short while.
- Mix the rice flour, cornstarch and soaking liquid together in a bowl to form a batter. Reduce the fire to the lowest setting, then add batter into frypan and mix all ingredients together until even.
- Pour mixture into a well-oiled metal tin or glass pan and cover with aluminium foil, then steam over high heat for 40-50 minutes.
- Once done steaming, rest for at least 30-60 minutes before eating. Or keep refrigerated overnight and pan fry or deep fry the next day until golden brown.