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Sunday, February 23, 2020

Gluten Free Vegan Char Chai Tow Kway, Singaporean and Malaysian Stir Fried Carrot Cake Recipe with Daikon Radish, and Homemade Chye Poh, Chinese Dried Daikon Radish


First time I heard about Cantonese turnip cakes, lo bak go, made with daikon radish, I was a little hesitant, because it sounded strange, but it is such a popular dish that I said I'd give it a go, and I was very pleasantly surprised, to put it mildly. They were such delightful little dim sum, that when I heard that they were often served as a stir fry, in Malaysian and Singaporean cuisine I knew I wanted to try it. Oddly, in Singapore these "turnip cakes" made with daikon radishes, are actually called carrot cake. So since this stir fry is from there, its called stir fried carrot cake.

But first, I needed to figure out what they were called.

Because I saw it sometimes written as char tow kway, other times I saw it written as chai tow kway, and I wasn't sure how there were so many people misspelling it. So I posted asking for clarification in an Asian food forum, and found out that char means to stir fry, chai tow means vegetable head, referring to daikon, and kway means cake. So Char chai tow kway is its official name, and there's two official ways to make it, dark and light. I made it dark, with soy sauce.

Char chai tow kway is traditionally made with egg, but since I wanted to make mine egg free, I used mashed tofu instead (since I knew tofu scramble was a common vegan replacement for scrambled eggs) and it tasted like it had eggs in it.

A standard ingredient in this is chye poh, Chinese pickled radish. There are so many ways to make chye poh, but I was told by Sinaporeans that though it is generally bought, you can make it from scratch this way, so I did a short cut and made mine just by grating daikon and salting it, and letting it sit out. It is a very salty item, but chopped small it is used to add saltiness to your dish instead of adding plain salt. I've included instructions on how to make the chye poh as well.

I made this recipe when a friend was over, and told her that I would be making stir fried radish cake, and she said that sounds weird, she thinks she'll pass. But then once I made it, I convinced her to try it, and upon tasting and she tasted it, she was in shock at how amazing it was, and wanted more and more.

So even if the recipe sounds strange to you, its definitely worth trying, because it is unbelievably delicious.

And of course, if you do eat eggs, feel free to use scrambled eggs here instead of the tofu.

My char chai tow kway ended up a little more crumbly than it usually is, because I didn't let my lo bak go cool off all the way and solidify first, but it didn't affect it's taste at all, just its looks. But if you want firmer, just make sure your radish/turnip/carrot (aka DAIKON) cake cools off first before you fry it up.

Gluten Free Vegan Char Chai Tow Kway, Singaporean and Malaysian Stir Fried Carrot Cake Recipe with Daikon Radish, and Homemade Chye Poh, Chinese Dried Daikon Radish

Ingredients for Stir Fried Carrot Cake:
Oil (as needed)
1 recipe Cantonese turnip cake, lo bak go (use my recipe if you want to keep it vegan)
3 cloves garlic
1 1/2 tablespoon salted turnip, chye poh (see below)
1/2 block tofu
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon molasses
3/4 pack bean sprouts
Salt (to taste)
3 scallions
Sriracha (optional)

Ingredients for Chye Poh
2/3 cups daikon radish
3 teaspoons salt (divided)

Instructions for Chye Poh
1. Grate your daikon radish.

2. Mix with 2 teaspoons salt.

3. Let sit for an hour. Pour off any liquid that accumulates.

4. Add another teaspoon salt and let sit overnight.

Instructions for Stir Fried Carrot Cake
1. Cube your lo bak go cake.

2. Fry your cake in oil until browned on all sides, mixing periodically. Add more oil as needed.

3. Dice your garlic. Add it to the cakes.

4. Mash your tofu with a fork until its in crumbles, then add it to the pan.

5. Chop up your chye poh and add it to the pan.

6. Add soy sauce, molasses, and bean sprouts to the pan and mix.

7. Add salt as needed.

8. Chop up scallions and add to the pan.

9. Serve hot, with sriracha on top if you want.

Enjoy!

Have you ever heard of or had stir fried carrot cake before? What country did you have it in? What immediately comes to mind when you hear of stir fried carrot cake? Probably something that is nothing like this, right? Does this look like a recipe that you might try?

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