Chai-tau-kway (菜头粿) or Fried Carrot Cake (this is different from the ang-moh carrot cake), is one of the most liked hawker food in Singapore. Go to any foodcourt or hawker centers, there will be a stall selling this, typically the stall will also be selling either orh lua (fried oyster/ oyster omelette), char kway teow, or hokkien mee, or all those mentioned.
And there’s two versions of the chai-tau-kway / fried carrot cake: the white version and the black version. What’s the difference? The black version is added with thick black sweet sauce, thus the fried carrot cake has the sweet tinge to it. Personally, I like mine savoury as it is closer to the KL style. So the recipe below is for the white savoury version.
The recipe below is adapted from Singapore Mr MakanSutra and Makan Guru, Mr KF Seetoh
The Carrot (Radish) Cake
1/2 medium size radish – approx 250g (julienne/ shredded) – you can add some shredded carrots if you wish to
175g rice flour
600ml water (300ml room temp water + 300ml hot water)
1 tsp salt
1.Blanch the shredded radish with boiling water till soften. If need to, give it a quick boil for 2-3mins. Strain the radish and discard the water.
2. Combine rice flour, salt and the 300ml room temperature water in a metal bowl and mix it well.
3. Add the radish into the rice flour solution, and add the other half of water (300ml hot water)
4. Sit the bowl over a pot of boiling water, and stir the mixture till it thickens (or you can also do this step in a non-stick pan/ wok)
5. Once the mixture thicken, transfer it to a metal/ enamel tray and smoothen it down.
6. Steam on high for approximately 30-40 mins.
7. Once it’s done, leave it until completely cool to allow the radish cake to firm up (or best to leave it overnight).
Frying the Carrot Cake
The steamed radish cake (cut enough for 1 or 2 persons*)
(Note: *, the rest of the cake can be stored in the refrigerator)
1 to 2 tbsp chai por (preserved radish/turnip)
2 to 3 eggs (lightly beaten)
3 cloves of garlic (chopped)
1 tsp soy sauce or fish sauce (added to the eggs)
3 tbsp of oil (vegetable oil or lard oil)
Dash of white pepper
1 tbsp of thick dark sweet sauce *
(Note: * if you’re making the dark/ sweet version).
Spring onion and/or coriander for garnishing
1. Cut up steamed radish cake into small chunks.
2. In a non-stick pan, heat up the oil and fry radish cake chunks till lightly browned and crisp. Set aside on the pan.
3. Add more oil and fry the garlic till slightly brown and add the chai por. Fry till fragrant. Drizzle more oil if it is too dry.
(Note: you may add some chilli paste/ sambal at this stage if you want it spicy, or you may serve the sambal on the side)
5. Add the fish/ soy sauce into the beaten eggs and slowly pour the eggs all over radish cake. Allow the eggs to set slightly before flipping it over.
6. Once you get the crispness that you want, you can plate it up and garnish it with chopped spring onion and coriander
For the “black” sweet version:
– Drizzle the thick sweet sauce towards the end and stir fry it to mix well.
(Note: this is not the favourite of my family, thus I do not make this).
Disclaimer: The KL style of CTK has bean sprouts and chives added to it, thus giving it more texture. As I grew up eating this version, I guessed the white version of the chai-tau-kway is thus more palatable to my taste and liking.