Saturday, August 6, 2016

Steamed Daikon Cake--my way (makes one 9-inch cake)

steamed daikon cake
I hope you don't get too excited when I mention the word cakes. These are savory but so good! There are two ways to make steamed daikon cakes in my family. My mother makes them in small individual portions. Other relatives make them in a cake pan. However you make these they will be tasty and nutritious. Traditionally my family makes steamed daikon cakes using shredded daikon, boiled peanuts, whole dried shrimp, scallions, cilantro, and salt. I recreate this recipe by adding a few extra ingredients that are already in my kitchen for my own visual gratification. This time I ground the dried shrimp for a different texture. This idea initially came to me when I made Au Co (Steamed Taro Cakes) for my grandmother so she could eat. I prefer the smaller dried shrimp for this recipe even if I am using whole shrimp. I gently boiled the raw peanuts for about 45 minutes until they were just soft. Boil them longer if you prefer softer nuts but just don't cook them until they are mushy. I once ate mushy boiled peanuts from a stand somewhere in the South and they tasted awful. I love boiled peanuts but not when they have been boiling all day long!

Steamed Daikon Cake--my way (makes one 9-inch cake)

Ingredients:

1 large daikon (about 1.8 lbs), peeled and shredded, squeezed some of the liquid out
1 small carrot, peeled and shredded
1/2 cup boiled peanuts (use only raw peanuts to boil)
1/4 cup dried shrimp, soaked in water for about 25 minutes, squeezed the water out, roughly ground
1/4 cup ground pork
1 cup rice flour
2 Tbsp garlic chives, chopped
1 turmeric root, scraped off the skin and grated
1 tsp salt
One 9-inch by 1-inch baking pan

Method:

Mix all ingredients together using preferably metal utensils. Cut a piece of parchment paper or banana leaf to line the bottom of the pan. Transfer the mixture to the pan and gently pat the top down with a spatula. Steam for about 40 minutes. Take a small knife and glide along the edges of the pan. Take a plate and place over the top of the pan and flip it over. The cake should come out easily. Peel and discard the parchment paper or banana leaf.

*The turmeric will leave a yellow stain that is difficult to remove. You may want to wear gloves when working with it.
*Try not to squeeze the shredded daikon until it is completely dry. You also don't want it to be too moist or else your cake will be too soft and mushy. Once you combine everything the mixture should be damp. 
*My co-worker Moniqua gave me some garlic leaves or garlic chives from her garden and I saved some already chopped up in the freezer. They are not as great as freshly harvested but are a great alternative. You may use chopped scallions or chopped chives if you do not have access to garlic leaves.
*Be sure to soak the peanuts preferably overnight before boiling them. These will help the peanuts cook faster. I failed to soak them so it took me a long time to cook.
*Adjust the ingredients depending how much or how little you prefer.
*Once steamed you may eat it as is or cut it up and lightly fry it with a little oil. 

lightly fried daikon cake

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