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Singapore “Carrot Cake” or Chai tao kway with Homemade Ketjap Manis

Those that know me know I love to try new things. I’m quite adventurous when it comes to food. A few incidents occurred this past week that propelled me to make this tasty vegetarian recipe. I had ordered three Culinaria books to round my collection, and the first one was on South East Asia. Reading the first section about Singapore and Malaysia, and the various ethnicities that make up that region got me hungry. Particularly the Chinese old fashioned coffee shops , a fading tradition, where they serve for breakfast a egg jam made of eggs, sugar, pandan, and condensed milk, and such things as this ‘carrot cake” which is a cake made up rice flour, and shredded Daikon Radish, eggs, and a thick sweet soy sauce called ketjap manis ( which is Indonesian in origin). Lo and behold the next day I received 3 perfect looking Daikon Radishes in my Organic Vegetable Box. I knew I had to make this recipe. The Chinese words for Daikon (chhài-thâu)and
Carrot (âng-chhài-thâu) are similar and this is why its called ‘Carrot Cake” or Chai tao kway. The dish varies over regions and can served white or dark with the dark so based ketjap manis. Some people even add dried shrimp to it. Be warned, this breakfast dish takes while. A cake is made by steaming shredded wok fried Daikon and rice flour for and hour and then letting it cool for a minimum if eight hours.
Then more slicing,dicing, and frying and there you have it. The pasty white cake getting soft and sticking to wok, didn’t look appealing at all at first. And the smell of Daikon sautéing reminded me of sauerkraut. But in that final stage of adding the eggs, garlic,  Ketjap manis, Siracha, and scallions, my nose became alive and I could see this would be a good dish. That extra of cilantro and Sambal Olek just took it over the top. I could eat this for lunch or dinner. For a vegetarian dish, its very tasty and filling. You can find the recipe here from Epicurious. Note I couldn’t find Ketjap manis so I made my own using a combination of various ones on the internet. I used brown rather than white sugar, so the result is more subtle in sweetness). Some people add molasses or brown sugar as well.

Homemade Ketjap Manis (Indonesian Ketchup)
2 ½ cups Brown Sugar
½ cup water
2 ¾ cups Dark Soy Sauce
3 whole garlic cloves
3-4 Star Anise Pods
1 tsp ground ginger.

In a heavy bottom saucepan combine sugar and water and bring to boil until syrup starts to form and it starts to caramelize.Carefully reduce heat and add the soy sauce and other ingredients. Reduce heat carefully and simmer for 15 minutes until reduced and thickened. Let cool. Can be kept for a while in the refrigerator for a few months tightly covered.

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The Duo Dishes said...

If anybody is brave enough to try new dishes, it's you. This is totally one that's new...perhaps to everyone. Love your no fear attitude in the kitchen.

Nina Timm said...

That, my dear Courtney looks so scrumptious, I would love to try this recipe. I am lucky enough sometimes to see Chinese Radishes at the veggie market!!

MaryMoh said...

Looks very delicious. It's my favourite. I love it with a lot of bean sprouts.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

That is an interesting dish! Very appetizing. Ketjap manis is such a wonderful soy sauce...



kayce. said...

damn, this sounds GOOOOD! definitely worth the effort, i can see. :))

Dharm said...

Coming from Malaysia where this dish is often sold by roadside vendors, I can say that you've done a pretty darned good job! Usually, lots of bean sprouts are added to as well as chilli paste - but that's coz Malaysians like all things spicy!

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

Wow, you are a very adventurous cook!
I have ordered this book too, thanks to you. ;-)
Love that ketchup! I have seen that phrase written but didn't realize that it meant Indonesian ketchup.

FND said...

By the way, Ketjap may sound like Ketchup..but it really is soy sauce. Its just one of those language switching thing, cant explain it. Here we called Ketchup = Tomato Sauce. And Kicap = Soy Sauce. Just a South East asian thing.

Love the food on your blog!

sheila lestari said...

Hi! amazing blog. I am indonesian. and impressed with you making Kecap Manis *the right pronounciation*. and I never really thought of making it so you go girl but i found it strange coz we never put anise pods and ginger in the kecap. dark soy sauce and yes brown sugar thats it =)

glamah16 said...

Thanks Sheila. Good to know next time I make it.