Carrot Cake (Not What You Think)

Me Against the Spitting Oil

Me Against the Spitting Oil

I spent several hours yesterday and today attempting to make Malaysian carrot cake. It’s not the carrot-and-spice-studded sweet treat that automatically comes to mind for many of us. I’m talking about a steamed cake made of rice flour and daikon, the strong-flavored turnip or radish of Asian cultures.

Grated daikon and rice flour are mixed together and steamed until solid, then left overnight to firm up. The next day (today), they are sliced and fried in a generous amount of oil in a pan in order to get a crispy outside, in perfect contrast to the chewy, pillowy inside.

Unfortunately, thanks to the moisture in the steamed cakes, the frying part was a dangerous mess. Oil spit and jumped all over the place, creating an oil slick on my kitchen floor. A piece of renegade carrot cake even landed on my lower eyelid. Yow! I have multiple freckle-sized burns covering my arms, and a few on my legs and feet, too.

When the ordeal was over, I ended up with three mounds of mushy, tasty goodness that isn’t exactly what I ate in Malaysia. Mine were a lot blacker on the outside–next time I will not attempt to hang my laundry and cook at the same time.

However, with the addition of a soy-hoisin-chile sauce, I could taste the potential. I just have a couple kinks to work out…

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