Chinese

Traditional Teochew Fried Carrot Cake (Char kway or Chai tow kway) 潮州炒粿 / 菜头粿

Fried carrot cake is a very popular dish in Singapore, it is commonly known as “chai tow kway”. It is made with white radish and rice flour and in chinese, radish is called white carrots. It is a dish made up of radish cakes cut into chunks and fried with omelette, preserved radish “chai po” and garlic.  Despite the popularity of this dish, it is not known to many, traditionally a teochew dish, this dish was tradtionally made with simply rice flour and water and is called “Char Kway” which means fried rice cakes. That is why elder teochews like my Ah Ma (grandma) will only call this dish as “Char Kway”. Radish was a later modification made to the dish and honestly, they don’t taste very different! I tried making this the traditional way this time, and i was hoping to make it with the addition of radish the next time.

I have been craving for this for the longet time and what held me back from making was the difficulty of finding preserved radish (chai po) in Australia. The chai po is the highlight and most important part of this dish for me! I would always ask for extra chai po whenever i ordered it in Singapore. That explains how excited i was when i came across this asian deli just across the street from Ben’s work place. I was sooooooooooooooooooooo happy! Not only they had my beloved chai po, they had sambal (which i can’t make my curries without), hor fun – flat rice noodles (which makes the most delicious beef hor fun that Ben adores), and heaps of other things that i have been looking for the past year! I can stop bothering my friends to get me bottles of sambal chilli from perth now, heh =) I have never appreciated asian groceries this much!

Back to the recipe, i have nothing but compliments for the texture of the rice cakes i made. I added a small amount of grated carrots for a nicer presentation and slightly sweet taste. However, i do think i can improve on the frying part as i do not have a wok at the moment, it didn’t seem to work as well in a frying pan. There are 2 variations to this dish, white and black, i have the recipe for both although i personally love the black one most!

Fried Carrot Cake Recipe

Ingredients (rice cake):

  1. 200g grated carrots
  2. 350g rice flour
  3. 1 litre chicken stock
  4. pinch of salt and pepper

Ingredients (frying):

  1. Half a rice cake, cut in chunks
  2. 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  3. Preserved radish (chai po), rinsed and chopped (as much as you like)
  4. 6 eggs. lightly beaten
  5. 2 tsp fish sauce /salt (Ben hates fish sauce so i replaced with salt)
  6. 1 tbsp sweet soy sauce aka kecap manis (only for the black version)

Method:

  1. Heat up chicken stock in a large pot over medium heat and bring to boil
  2. Reduce heat to low, and using a small scoop, sccop up some rice flour and mix into the pot. Scoop by scoop, adding every scoop after the previous one is completely dissolved into the soup.
  3. When u finish adding all the rice flour, remove from heat and fold in the grated carrots.
  4. Transfer into a cake tin and steam over high heat for 45 mins
  5. Cool completely and refrigerate overnight
  6. Place a non-stick frying pan over high heat and add in about 2 tbsp of oil
  7. Add in garlic and chai po and fry till fragrant, followed by rice cakes. Fry rice cakes till it is slightly brown/crispy and add in fish sauce or salt
  8. Place rice cakes well distributed all over the pan and pour in half the egg mixture evenly over
  9. Wait for eggs to cook and brown slightly before flipping over and frying the other side
  10. The black version is done exactly the same way, with the addition od sweet soy sauce at the end

Garnish with coriander and spring onions and serve hot with sambal belachan at the side.

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