Singapore Favourites #2: Chai Tau Kway (Fried Carrot Cake)

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.

Chai Tau Kway (Fried Carrot Cake)

Chai Tau Kway (Fried Carrot Cake)

 

The recipe below is adapted from Singapore Mr MakanSutra and Makan Guru, Mr KF Seetoh

The Carrot (Radish) Cake

Chai tau kway

Chai tau kway

Ingredients

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

 Method:
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).

The steam radish/ carrot cake

The steam radish/ carrot cake

Frying the Carrot Cake

Ingredients:

The ingredients for frying the chai tau kway

The ingredients for frying the chai tau kway

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

 Method:

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.

Chai tau kueh/ Fried carrot cake

Chai tau kway/ Fried carrot cake – the KL style with beansprouts and chives

 

I am submitting this to Asian Food Fest Singapore Month

Singapore Favourites #1: Singapore Chilli Crab

Chilli crab is one of the famous seafood dishes that originates from Singapore. According to my search on the internet, the Chilli Crab recipe was created in 1950 by Singaporean chef, Madam Cher Yam Tian with her husband, Mr Lim Choon Ngee. The couple ran Palm Beach Seafood Restaurant on Upper East Coast Road (near the present day East Coast Seafood Centre).

Singapore Chilli Crab

Singapore Chilli Crab

Today, it is one of the favourite dishes among Singaporeans and visitors to Singapore, and it is widely known globally. There are quite a number of versions to the Chilli Crab recipe, and I’ve tried and tested a number of times the recipe and I think the recipe by Violet Oon, Singapore’s cooking doyenne, to have the closest taste to those served in some well-known seafood restaurants in Singapore.

This dish is cooked using mud crabs, but here I am using flower crab instead (for personal reasons), and it is equally yummylicious. This is not a very spicy dish, and it is well-loved by my whole family including my girl.

Ingredients:

Chilli Crab

Chilli Crab

Recipe adapted from Violet Oon’s recipe:

3-4 flower crabs (or 1-2 mud crabs) – depending on size
vegetable oil
5-6 cloves of garlic*
8-12 fresh/ dried chilli * (I used dried chilli)
1-3 cups of water
(note: *pounded/ blended to a paste)

2-3 cloves of garlic (chopped)
1 tsp pounded brown preserved soya beans or dark miso
5 tbsp tomato sauce
2-3 tbsp sugar (or to taste)

¼ tsp salt (or to taste)
½ lemon to get approx 1 tsp of lemon juice
1 tbsp of cornflour (mixed with a little water)
1 egg (beaten)
2 spring onions
1 small bunch coriander

Method:

1.  In a pot or a large wok, bring the water to a boil and cook the crab till it’s ¾ done. Remove the crab and set it aside, but DON’T throw away the stock.
2.  In a large wok, heat the oil over high heat.
3.  Add garlic and stir-fry for 1 minute, or till slightly brown.
4.  Add the chilli-garlic paste and stir-fry till fragrant, then add the bean paste and fry a little. Make sure you don’t burn the paste at this stage.
5.  Add the tomato sauce, sugar and the stock and stir well. Let it simmer a little.
6.  At the stage, you can add in the crab and let it simmer further.
7.  Once the sauce bubbles up a little, add in the corn starch and stir it well.
8.  Break eggs into a bowl and whisk it a little to break it up. Slowly pour the beaten egg into the sauce (in a few circles), and let it simmer for approximately 10 seconds, and then turn off the heat.
9.  Add in the lemon juice and stir it once or twice. (Don’t stir it too much)
10. Plate it up and garnish with chopped spring onions and coriander.

Serve this with steam or fried mantou. Although more sinful (because it’s fried), my personal preference is fried mantou. It is somehow tastier when dipping it into the chilli crab sauce!

 

Fried mantou

Fried mantou

 

Singapore Chilli Crab

Chilli Crab with the yummy sauce for dipping with mantou

I am submitting this to Asian Food Fest Singapore Month

 

Dung Po Rou (Pork) 东坡肉: Braised Pork Belly

I have a slab of pork belly sitting in the freezer for some time now which I initially bought to make roast pork (siew yoke). I was cracking my head on what to do with it when I recalled seeing a picture of a succulent piece of pork belly on WendyinKK’s blog.

I did a quick search on “pork belly” and found her ‘Dong Po Pork’. Checked my fridge and kitchen and I have all in ingredients needed to make the braised pork belly. As I was chauffeuring my girls to their enrichment classes in the morning, it would mean that I could only get this dish ready for dinner.

So I spent a good part of the mid-morning and afternoon making this dish, and boy, was it worth the time and effort to make this. The two thumbs-up and gleeful faces I got from my hubs and elder gal were priceless.

The flavour and taste of this pork belly is just superb, The meat and skin just melt in the mouth and the gravy – it’s especially yummy to drizzle it onto a plate of hot steam rice. Both my hubs and girl loved it so much that they had a second helping of rice tonight. So looks like this is something I have to make again soon.

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Dong Po Rou

Dong Po Rou (Pork) 东坡肉 (adapted from WendyinKK)

DSCN2588

Ingredients:

1kg pork belly, skin on
100gm spring onions
50 gm ginger
500gm Shao Xing Wine
100gm light soy sauce
20gm dark soy sauce
80gm rock sugar (or in Wendy’s recipe: brown candy sugar)

Method:

1. Boil a pot of water and scald the pork belly for approx 5 minutes. Drain and set it aside.
2. Cut the spring onions lengthwise (into halves) to fit the base of pot. Slice ginger and placed on top of the spring onions.
3. Placed the boiled pork belly onto the spring onions/ ginger with its skin side down.
4. Measure out the light and dark soy sauces and then pour into the pot. Add the sugar and lastly the rice wine. Add some water if the liquid level is too low.
5. Add some water to ensure that there is liquid covering most part of the pork.
6. Boil the pork on high heat for about 15-20mins, and then reduced it to low heat and simmer for about 2 hours. (I flipped the pork over on its halfway mark). Note: to test for tenderness, see if it can be poked through with a chopstick.
6. Remove pork belly from pot and put into a steaming dish, skin side up.
7. Steam the pork belly on high heat for at least 30 minutes. (According to WendyinKK, this is a crucial step, so do not skip this step)
8. Pour gravy (in pot) over the pork when it has finished steaming.

A great dish to serve with a bowl of warm steam rice. Try it, you won’t regret it.

Note: I used a shallow claypot for braising the pork.

Image

Putting it into the claypot for braising

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The sliced up pork

 

Note to self: I found out a friend also made the same dish recently and when I read her blog, I noticed that she added star anise and cinnamon when braising the pork. I think I’ll try that next time and see if it’ll enhance the flavour of the pork and the gravy further. Will keep you posted!