It may be apparent now that I love chai tow kueh! I took every opportunity I could in Singapore to eat this favourite dish of mine but my trips there are few and far between and so I have had to learn how to cook this dish.
However, making the daikon radish cake, the basis of the dish, from scratch is quite an undertaking and having made it before, I have no wish to steam up my kitchen again anytime soon! I’ve now been making it using a particular ready-made product – and so I call it cheat’s chai tow kueh!
What you’re looking for in this cheat’s version is ready-made lo bak goh, white steamed daikon cake, usually studded with little pieces of dried shrimps and pork. Panfried square slices of lo bak goh are a dim sum regular and you may have seen them or tried them before. If you have tried them before, you’ll know how delicious it is! Some larger Chinese supermarkets may sell large cakes of lo bak goh in their refrigerated sections – all one would do is slice and fry to get the dim sum dish. In central London, you can find it at Lo’s Noodle Company. If you are unable to obtain it, you can certainly make your own, following one of the many recipes available online. For chai tow kueh, you can leave out the bits of bacon, mushroom and dried shrimp.
This recipe makes a serving of the “white” kind of chai tow kueh – the kind I prefer. A “dark” kind is also made that includes a dark caramel soy sauce.
Cheat’s Chai Tow Kueh
lo bak goh, enough for 1
2 cloves garlic, chopped
about 5-6 pieces of preserved turnip, rinsed and chopped
chili paste, like sambal oelek or chili-garlic paste, optional
1 spring onion, sliced
Chop up the lo bak goh into bite sized pieces. Heat a little oil in a wok or frying pan over medium heat and add the pieces of lo bak goh and fry, tossing occasionally. Take out the lo bak goh when it’s starting to colour.
Beat the eggs together with a good splash of the fish sauce. You won’t need any extra salt as the fish sauce is salty enough. You could add some white pepper in with the eggs though it’s more usual to sprinkle it overtop the finished dish.
Add a little more oil to the pan and fry together the garlic and preserved turnip. When the garlic is fragrant and golden, add the chili paste if you’re using it and fry another minute. Add the lo bak goh back to the pan and mix together until heated through. Spread the mixture to a single layer in the base of the pan. Pour the egg mixture over the pan evenly – you’ll now be frying everything like an omelette. If you like your spring onions slightly cooked (taking the raw edge off them), now is the time to sprinkle your chopped spring onions over the unset side of the omelette. When the underside of the mixture is set and golden, flip the carrot cake – cut the omelette first into smaller pieces to facilitate this flipping. When the other side is also cooked, plate it and sprinkle over the spring onions and white pepper if you didn’t use them before. Eat!