Notes: Mei cai, or Chinese preserved vegetables, have been fermented with a salt brine. Preserved turnip is a common choice for this dish, though I used a jar labeled as "vegetables". It can be purchased in packets or in jars in Asian supermarkets. If you can't find it, either omit or use a lesser amount of sauerkraut.
Though I give directions for baking the cake in a water bath, this recipe traditionally starts with a steamed cake, which you can do if you own a steamer basket large enough to hold an 8- or 9-inch cake pan. Pour the mixture into the pan, set in the steamer basket, and simmer gently until the cake is just firm.
Don't worry if the eggs and radish cake break apart while cooking—it doesn't have to be a cohesive omelette.
This recipe is adapted from Rasa Malaysia.
About the author: Yvonne Ruperti is a food writer, recipe developer, former bakery owner, and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Easy Artisan Bread. You can also watch her culinary stylings on the America's Test Kitchen television show. She presently lives in Singapore working on her new baking cookbook, and as a recipe developer for HungryGoWhere Singapore. Check out her blog, shophousecook.com, or follow her on Twitter @yvonneruperti.
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- 1 large daikon radish (about 28 ounces), grated
- 1 3/4 cup (about 7 ounces) rice flour
- Kosher salt
- 4 eggs
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 3 tablespoons Chinese preserved vegetables (see note)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/2 bunch scallions, sliced
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
Place grated radish in large straight sided skillet or saucepan with lid. Add 1/3 cup water and bring to simmer over medium heat. Cover and gently simmer until radish is translucent and tender, about 40 minutes. Remove lid and let cool.
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 325°F (see note above). In small bowl, whisk rice flour with 1 teaspoon salt and 3/4 cup water until smooth. Strain if there are lumps. Stir in cooled radish and any accumulated juice.
Pour mixture into cake pan and cover with foil. Poke a few holes in the foil. Set pan in a large roasting pan and fill roasting pan halfway with hot water. Bake until just firm, about 50 minutes. Let cool to completely firm up for easy slicing, at least 4 to 6 hours in the fridge.
Remove cake from fridge and divide into thirds. Cut one of the pieces into 3/4-inch cubes and set aside. Wrap and freeze remaining pieces for another time.
In medium bowl, whisk eggs with fish sauce. Heat oil in wok or non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add radish cake cubes and fry, stirring, until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes.
Add preserved vegetables, garlic, and white pepper, and fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour eggs and scallions over mixture and cook, folding eggs from the sides over to the middle and pressing to hold the omelette together, until eggs are cooked through (see note). Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.