Monday, April 9, 2012

Radish Cake (Loh Baat Gou)

Radish cakes were one of my first loves at the dim sum parlor. The flavor is fairly bland, so it is perfect for introducing the uninitiated to the wonders of dim sum!

You'll need to find some of these sausages - they're available at nearly every Asian market. There are two types - Taiwan style sweet sausages are, well...sweet. They would also be tasty, but these "Chinese Style" are more traditional. They are waxy, fatty and meaty tasting, with no detectable seasonings above some salt and sugar. 
You'll need to chop up a few sausages and sauté them in a pan until they just start to crisp up. 

We grated our daikon in a food processor fitted with a grating blade. It only took a few minutes - my mother in law was very impressed. (She's always done this step by hand.) 

These are dried shrimps, or haa mai. They are salty, shrimpy and a little sweet. They come in several sizes - you'll want to look for ones that are about 3/4" long dried. I think you can find them at Asian markets, but we usually get them at Chinese medicine shops. These are great to keep on hand - they're awesome in fried rice, rice noodles, or chow mein. We keep a small jar of these in the refrigerator at all times. (Refrigeration isn't necessary, but growing up in HUMID Hong Kong convinced my husband that all dried things should be kept in the refrigerator to keep them dry.) 

Maggi is another great thing to keep around. It's very salty, and the flavor is like nothing else...except maybe Vegemite. I think it's a by-product of creating Vegemite, but I could be mistaken. 

The daikon after it has been steamed and mixed with some seasonings. I got called away so I missed the part where Ma mixed in the rice flour, but it ended up looking like a very sticky cookie batter. Make sure you taste the final product - the basic flavor won't change after you steam it! Bland radish cake is just sad. 
The finished cake, cooling on the counter after being steamed. 

Ma's Homemade Radish Cakes (Loh Baat Gou)

6 Chinese Sausages, diced
2 large daikon, grated (about 5 lb. total)
2 tsp. chicken base (or 2 bullion cubes, crushed)
1/2 cup dried shrimp, soaked and chopped (haa mai)
1 1/2 lb. rice flour
2 Tbsp. chopped green onion
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. Maggi sauce
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. each salt, sugar (to taste)
Water, as needed

(Yield: 5 pie plates of cakes)

Cook sausage on the stove until shiny, a bit crispy, and slightly translucent. 

Put grated daikon into a large pot and add 1 cup of water and the chopped dried shrimps. Cover and cook over medium heat. Add more water as necessary. Steam until the daikon is cooked - it will be soft, and will have lost its peppery bite. 

Add rice flour, green onion, soy sauce, Maggi sauce, sugar, salt and 2 cups of water. Stir and season to taste. 

Spray pie plates with cooking spray and spoon daikon mixture into prepared pie plates. Steam each plate for about 30 minutes, then set aside to cool. These cake rounds can be wrapped well in plastic and frozen for later use. 

To serve, slice the cakes into flat slices and pan fry in a little bit of oil until they are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. 

Serve with soy sauce, maggi or hoisin sauce to dip. 

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