Carrot Cake [Photograph: Bruce Wolf]

I ate at Andy Ricker's Ping a couple of times right when they opened in 2009. The food was a little hit and miss, but one dish was spot-on every time: the carrot cake. Not to be confused with the American dessert, Ricker's carrot cake is actually made from daikon and rice flour, and is sort of like Southeast Asian gnocchi. The dumpling-like cakes come stir-fried in a slightly sweet soy and garlic sauce, scrambled with eggs, bean sprouts, and cilantro.

Imagine my delight upon finding a recipe for the dish tucked away in the small plates chapter of Laurie Wolf's Portland, Oregon Chef's Table. Making the dish at home requires quite a bit of work: the daikon has to be grated, softened, drained, mixed with a rice flour slurry, steamed, and then finally chilled until set. Once the cake is made, though, the dish is as easy as any stir fry, and it is worth every minute of effort.

Why I picked this recipe: It'd be a shame to cook from a Portland cookbook and not eat an Andy Ricker dish. And I knew from the get-go that these "carrot" cakes would be pretty spectacular.

What worked: Each element of this dish works in perfect harmony. It was gone from my table in no time.

What didn't: Nothing. This was straight-up awesome.

Suggested tweaks: You could play with the elements in the sauce, or maybe add some ground pork to the stir-fry, but definitely make this one once through as written. You won't regret it.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Portland, Oregon Chef's Table to give away.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer out of Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American and blogs at


Comments can take up to a minute to appear - please be patient!

Previewing your comment: