April 11, 2012

Daikon Radish Cakes


After eating so many new and delicious dishes on my trip to Singapore and Thailand, I knew that I would have to try to recreate some of them once I got home!

I loved all of the curries that I ate, but one of the first dishes on my list to try was the radish cakes that I tried in the airport on my way home from Singapore (pictured below).  They were pan-fried and served hot, and had a soft texture similar to potato with a subtle but noticeable radish flavour that I really liked.


All I knew about them was that they were made with white radish (daikon), so I got to work searching for more information about how to make them at home.  I came up with a wide variety of recipes, many of which contained dried shrimp or other non-vegetarian ingredients.  So I went with the simplest approach I could find and the least number of ingredients to come up with a version that I thought would be the most similar to what I had eaten.

It took me a couple of tries until they turned out the way I wanted, mainly because I don't own an actual steamer so it was a bit difficult to cook them properly with my makeshift steamer!  But in the end, I came up with this version that I was really happy with!  The texture wasn't quite as soft and tender as the authentic version, but I thought the taste was just right - the radish wasn't too overpowering, and I liked the subtle flavour from the white pepper and the cilantro.

I liked eating them on their own, but my mom thought they were a bit plain, so you could try serving them with a dipping sauce, or some plain yogurt (I liked them this way too).  I also served mine as a meal along with an Asian pineapple slaw.

You do need to set aside a good chunk of time to prepare these, but the steps are pretty simple and most of the time is hands-off.  I think these would be a great appetizer to serve as part of an Asian meal, plus they are vegan and gluten-free, so everyone can try them!



Daikon Radish Cakes
Adapted from various sources, including this recipe 

1.5 cups grated daikon
3/4 cup water
1 cup rice flour
1 tbsp corn starch
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp sugar
a dash or two of white pepper (can substitute ground black pepper if you can't find white pepper)
1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

Place grated daikon and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool.

Meanwhile, mix the remaining ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the radish and cooking water and stir to form a dough.

Transfer dough to a greased 8x8 pan and press down with a spatula to smooth the top (the dough should be about ½ inch high and will only fill about two-thirds of the pan).

Place the baking pan in a steamer and steam for 35-45 minutes.  Remove the dough from the pan and slice into squares. 

Heat about 1-2 tsp vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Transfer squares to the skillet and sauté for about 3-4 minutes per side, until they are lightly browned.

Serve immediately.

Makes 8 squares.




12 comments:

  1. Oh, I love this recipe! I am such a fan of daikon but never do anything with it besides eat it raw with hummus or sometimes add to stir fry. I am going to try this...thanks!

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    1. Thanks, I hope you like it! The only other way that I've had daikon is grating it raw and adding it to salads too - it goes well with sesame or soy based dressings!

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  2. I'm so sad I didn't get to try the final version - you have to make them again for me!

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    1. I know, too bad you left the house early! But I'm sure I will keep improving, so next time, they'll be even better!

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  3. I've always wanted to try daikon radish, but I didn't really know how to tackle it and what to do with it. So now I have a recipe that I can use! I'm really curious to try these--they look so good!

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    1. It is a bit of a strange ingredient, and I can see how some people wouldn't like it because it can have a strong smell (especially when its cooking!) You can eat it raw or add it to salads (like red radishes), but I usually only see it in Asian recipes. Let me know if you give this recipe a try!

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  4. Thanks for the great idea, daikon radish is one of those orphan veggies that I see in the produce department but never get. So, how did you steam the 8 by 8 pan? Curious minds want to know, in fact need to know if they are ever going to try this at home....

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    1. I know what you mean - I was always curious about daikon at the market, but never picked it up until I actually needed some for a recipe! As for the steaming, I put about an inch of water at the bottom of deep, wide wok (since it was wider than any pot I owned), and set my 8x8 pan inside that (the edges of my pan hung on the edges of the wok, leaving some space below it. Then I placed a pot lid over top of the pan - it didn't fully cover the top, but it was good enough!

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  5. These look so good, it is alomst as if I can taste them through your photos, I amso excited you posted this recipe!

    ...white pepper is the BEST, love the stuff :)

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    1. Thanks! What else do you use white pepper for? Can it work pretty much the same as black pepper? I just bought a whole container of it for this recipe, and I really liked it but I don't usually see it in other recipes!

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  6. What dish did you serve with your radish cakes? I can't quite make it out in the pictures above but what would you say is a good food pairing with these cakes?

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    1. They would traditionally be served as part of a Chinese dim sum, so one idea could be to make a bunch of other Asian themed appetizers (like scallion pancakes, spring rolls, dumplings, or even noodles). I made a coleslaw with an Asian dressing and pineapple mixed in (it was quite a while ago though, so I don't have a recipe!). Or they could just be a snack on their own!

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