Here’s An Old Family Recipe For Radish Cake To Add To Your Homecooked Chinese-Filipino Feast
Family recipes are powerful emblems. They connect us to our family’s past. They bring back childhood memories. And even more than faded photographs or dusty family heirlooms, they are an intimate, experiential, and pleasurable connection to our ancestors.
In celebration of the Year of the Pig, we revisit this simple recipe for radish cake from the Chinese-Filipino Choi family, generously shared by Perry Choi. Perry may have studied culinary arts, but he still loves the family cooking he grew up with. His recipe for radish cake comes straight from his grandmother. “We usually have the radish cake during family gatherings. My grandmother even makes lots so other relatives can bring home some,” he recounts. But Perry is still hopeful that one day he can cook as well as his grandmother. “The recipes have now been handed down to me but I still have to tweak them so they can be as good as my grandmother’s cooking.”
- 1 kilo radish, grated
- 4 cups water
- 8 dried or fresh shiitake mushrooms, diced
- 1/2 cup dried shrimps, diced
- 2/3 cup Chinese bacon (or substitute with regular bacon or Chinese sausage)
- 2 teaspoons Shaoxing cooking wine
- 1 1/2 cups rice flour
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- salt, to taste
- cooking oil, for frying
1. Boil radish in water for 30 minutes or until radish becomes very tender. Drain and reserve the liquid.
2. If using dried shiitake, soak in warm water to refresh. Do the same with the dried shrimps.
3. Sauté bacon until crispy. Stir in the shrimps and mushrooms and fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Deglaze with the Chinese wine and set aside.
4. Mix the boiled radish with the bacon and mushroom mixture.
5. To make the slurry, mix 1 1/2 cups of the reserved radish liquid into the rice flour. Add sugar and salt. Pour the slurry into the radish mixture and mix well.
6. Transfer the mixture to an oiled, heat resistant dish. Steam the mixture over medium heat for one hour. Allow to cool completely before cutting.
7. In a skillet, heat oil and fry the steamed radish until golden in color.
This recipe first appeared in FOOD Magazine, June 2013 issue
Recipe by Perry Choi
Styling by Tina Concepcion Diaz
Photography by Monica Savellano