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Chinese Carrot Cake Recipe: A Great Option for a Delicious Breakfast

If you're a fan of dim sum, you've likely tried Chinese carrot cake, also known as turnip cake. This savoury dish is a popular breakfast item in Southern China and is often served during Chinese New Year celebrations. It's a dish that's both delicious and nutritious, making it a great choice for those looking for a healthy breakfast option.

A chef grates carrots and mixes them with flour, eggs, and seasonings in a large bowl. The mixture is poured into a hot pan and fried until golden brown

To prepare Chinese carrot cake, you'll need a few essential ingredients, including grated carrots, rice flour, and Chinese sausage. The dish is typically steamed, which gives it a soft, chewy texture. However, you can also pan-fry the cake for a crispy exterior. If you're feeling adventurous, you can even add seafood to the recipe. Shrimp, scallops, and crab meat are all great options that go well with the dish.

Chinese carrot cake is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed on its own or paired with other dishes. It's a great option for breakfast, but it can also be served as an appetizer or side dish. With its delicious flavour and health benefits, it's no wonder that this dish is so popular. So why not give it a try and see for yourself how delicious it can be?

Key Takeaways

  • Chinese carrot cake is a popular breakfast item in Southern China and is often served during Chinese New Year celebrations.
  • The dish is typically steamed, but can also be pan-fried for a crispy exterior.
  • Seafood such as shrimp, scallops, and crab meat can be added to the recipe for an extra flavour boost.

History and Origin

Chinese carrot cake ingredients displayed on a wooden table with traditional cooking utensils. A chef's hand grates fresh carrots into a mixing bowl

Carrot cake is a popular dish in Chinese cuisine that has been around for centuries. It is a savoury dish made from rice flour and shredded daikon radish, also known as turnip cake. The dish is a staple during Chinese New Year, where it is believed to bring good luck and prosperity.

Cultural Significance

Carrot cake is a traditional Cantonese dish that has since become popular in other regions of China, as well as in Singapore. It is commonly served as a breakfast or snack item, and can be found in many hawker centres and food markets.

Regional Variations

The dish is known by different names in different regions. In Cantonese, it is called "Lo Bak Gou", while in Singapore it is known as "Chai Tau Kway". There are also regional variations in the recipe, with some versions including additional ingredients such as Chinese sausage or dried shrimp.

Seafood can also be added to the dish to give it a unique flavour. For example, you can add prawns or scallops to the recipe to create a seafood carrot cake.

Carrot cake is a versatile and delicious dish that has a long and rich history in Chinese cuisine. Whether you enjoy it as a snack or as part of a meal, it is sure to satisfy your taste buds.

Essential Ingredients

A kitchen counter with a cutting board, carrots, eggs, flour, and a mixing bowl. A recipe book open to "Chinese Carrot Cake" with ingredients listed

When it comes to making Chinese carrot cake, there are several essential ingredients you'll need to have on hand. These ingredients include:

Choosing the Right Vegetables

The main vegetables used in this recipe are daikon and carrots. When choosing these vegetables, look for ones that are firm, fresh, and free from blemishes. If you can't find daikon, you can substitute it with carrots or other radish varieties.

Meats and Alternatives

Chinese carrot cake can be made with a variety of meats and alternatives. The most common meats used are Chinese sausage, dried shrimp, shiitake mushrooms, dried scallop, and pork. If you're looking for a seafood alternative, you can use prawns or scallops instead of pork or sausage.

Flour and Binding Agents

To bind the ingredients together, you'll need rice flour and tapioca flour. These flours are gluten-free and provide a sticky texture that holds the cake together. You can find these flours at most Asian grocery stores.

To make Chinese carrot cake, you'll need a combination of vegetables, meats or alternatives, and flours. When shopping for ingredients, choose fresh and high-quality produce for the best results.

Cooking Techniques

Carrots and radish being grated, eggs being cracked, flour being sifted, and a wok being heated with oil

Preparing the Batter

To start making your Chinese carrot cake, you will need to prepare the batter. Begin by grating the carrots and measuring out the rice flour and water. You can also add other ingredients such as dried shrimp, Chinese sausage, and mushrooms to enhance the flavour. Mix the ingredients together in a bowl until you have a smooth and consistent batter.

Steaming Process

Once you have prepared the batter, it's time to start steaming your Chinese carrot cake. Place the batter in a greased steamer and steam over high heat for 30-40 minutes until it is cooked through. You can check if the cake is cooked by inserting a toothpick into the centre of the cake. If it comes out clean, your cake is ready.

Pan-Frying to Perfection

If you prefer a crispy texture, you can also pan-fry your Chinese carrot cake. Cut the steamed cake into small pieces and pan-fry them until they are golden brown on both sides. You can use a non-stick pan and a small amount of oil to prevent sticking.

For a twist on the traditional recipe, you can also add seafood to your Chinese carrot cake. Try adding some diced prawns or crab meat to the batter before steaming or frying. The seafood will add a delicious and unique flavour to your dish.

Remember to use a steamer or frying pan that is large enough to accommodate the size of your cake. You may need to steam or fry the cake in batches if you are making a large quantity.

Don't forget to serve your Chinese carrot cake with some chilli sauce or soy sauce for dipping. Enjoy!

Flavour Enhancements

A wok sizzles as carrots and radish fry in fragrant garlic and soy sauce, while a sprinkle of spring onions adds a pop of color to the savory aroma

When it comes to enhancing the flavour of your Chinese carrot cake, there are several seasonings and spices you can use to achieve the perfect taste. Here are some of the most commonly used seasonings and spices:

Seasonings and Spices

  • Salt: A pinch of salt can help bring out the natural sweetness of the carrots.

  • Garlic: Garlic adds a savoury flavour to the cake. You can either use fresh garlic or garlic powder.

  • Pepper: Black pepper and white pepper can be used to add a bit of heat and depth to the flavour.

  • Sesame oil: A few drops of sesame oil can add a nutty flavour to the cake.

  • Fish sauce: Fish sauce is a common ingredient in many Chinese recipes. It adds a salty and savoury flavour to the cake. You can also use oyster sauce as a substitute.

  • Soy sauce: Soy sauce adds a rich and savoury flavour to the cake. You can use light or dark soy sauce depending on your preference.

  • Shaoxing wine: Shaoxing wine is a type of Chinese rice wine that adds a subtle sweetness to the cake. You can use dry sherry as a substitute.

Garnishing for Taste and Presentation

Garnishing your Chinese carrot cake can add an extra layer of flavour and presentation. Here are some garnishes you can use:

  • Spring onions: Chopped spring onions can add a fresh and slightly sweet flavour to the cake.

  • Fried shallots: Fried shallots add a crispy and savoury flavour to the cake.

  • Sesame seeds: Toasted sesame seeds can add a nutty flavour and texture to the cake.

  • Chillies: Sliced chillies can add a spicy kick to the cake.

If you want to take your Chinese carrot cake to the next level, you can also add some seafood to the recipe. Shrimp, scallops, and crab meat are all great options that can add a savoury and slightly sweet flavour to the cake. Simply chop the seafood into small pieces and mix it in with the other ingredients before steaming.

Serving and Pairing

Chinese carrot cake being sliced and served on a plate with chopsticks, alongside a pot of hot tea

Accompaniments

Chinese Carrot Cake is a versatile dish that can be served as a snack or as part of a meal. It is traditionally served with soy sauce or chilli sauce, which can be drizzled on top of the cake to add extra flavour. You can also serve it with a side of stir-fried vegetables or seafood, such as prawns or scallops, to add some protein to your meal.

If you are serving Chinese Carrot Cake as a dim sum dish in a Chinese restaurant, it is usually accompanied by other dim sum dishes such as steamed dumplings, spring rolls, and buns. This can make for a delicious and varied meal, with plenty of different flavours and textures to enjoy.

Beverage Pairings

Chinese Carrot Cake can be paired with a variety of different beverages, depending on your taste preferences. If you are looking for a refreshing drink to balance out the rich flavours of the cake, you could try serving it with a cup of green tea or jasmine tea. These teas have a delicate flavour that won't overpower the cake, and can help to cleanse your palate between bites.

For a more indulgent pairing, you could serve Chinese Carrot Cake with a glass of sweet wine or a fruity cocktail. The sweetness of the wine or cocktail can complement the sweetness of the cake, creating a well-rounded flavour experience.

If you are serving Chinese Carrot Cake as part of a meal, you could also pair it with a light beer or cider. These drinks have a refreshing quality that can help to balance out the richness of the cake, making for a satisfying and enjoyable meal.

Frequently Asked Questions

A chef grating fresh carrots into a mixture of flour, eggs, and spices, while a steaming wok sits on the stove in the background

What's the secret to a super tasty Chinese carrot cake?

The secret to a delicious Chinese carrot cake is in the seasoning. The combination of soy sauce, oyster sauce, and white pepper gives the cake its unique flavour. You can also add other ingredients such as Chinese sausage, dried shrimp, and mushrooms to enhance the taste.

Can you suggest a simple method for making Chinese carrot cake at home?

Yes, making Chinese carrot cake at home is easy. You will need shredded radish, rice flour, cornflour, and Chinese sausage. Mix the ingredients together and steam the mixture for about an hour. Once the cake is cooked, you can fry it with eggs and other ingredients for added flavour.

What are the key ingredients for a traditional radish cake?

The key ingredients for a traditional radish cake are shredded radish, rice flour, cornflour, and seasoning. The seasoning usually includes soy sauce, oyster sauce, and white pepper. You can also add Chinese sausage, dried shrimp, and mushrooms for added taste.

How do I tell the difference between Chinese turnip and daikon?

Chinese turnip and daikon look similar, but they are different. Chinese turnip is white and has a sweeter taste, while daikon is longer and has a milder taste. You can use either of these vegetables to make Chinese carrot cake.

Is it possible to cook radish cake from frozen, and if so, how?

Yes, it is possible to cook radish cake from frozen. Simply thaw the cake and steam it for about 20 minutes until it is heated through. You can then fry it with other ingredients for added flavour.

Could you tell me if Chinese turnip cake is considered a healthy dish?

Chinese turnip cake is a healthy dish as it is low in fat and calories. However, it is high in carbohydrates due to the rice flour used in the recipe. You can make it healthier by using less rice flour and adding more vegetables and seafood such as prawns or scallops.