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.