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.
Reprinted with permission from Portland, Oregon Chef's Table by Laurie Wolf. Copyright 2012. Published by Lyons Press. Available wherever books are sold. All rights reserved.
- Yield:serves 2
- Active time: 45 minutes
- Total time:5 to 6 hours
- For the Radish Cake
- 2 pounds daikon radish, peeled and grated, squeezed until relatively dry
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 1/2 cups water
- 2 cups rice flour
- 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- For the Stir-Fry
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 7-ounce portion of radish cake
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/2 small white onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
- 1/2 cup bean sprouts
- 2 extra large eggs, beaten
- 1 tablespoon Kecap Manis (sweet dark soy sauce from Malaysia)
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 1/4 cup chopped green onions
- Few dashes of white pepper
- 1 tablespoon torn cilantro
For the radish cake, fry the daikon in the vegetable oil for 5 minutes in a sauté pan. Add 1 cup of water, bring to boil, and cook for 15 minutes until soft. Drain.
Mix the rice flour, white pepper, salt, and remaining 2 1/2 cups water together to make a slurry. Add daikon to slurry, mix well, turn into oiled square aluminum pan, and steam over high heat for 10 to 15 minutes or until set. Cool in refrigerator uncovered. When completely cooled, cut the radish cake into 1-inch squares. Divide into six 7-ounce portions. Freeze unused portions of the radish cake.
For the stir-fry, Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet. Fry the radish cake until golden brown. Add garlic and onion and fry for 1 minute. Add the bean sprouts and continue cooking. Add the eggs and cook until set. Add the Kecap Manis, soy sauce, green onions, and white pepper. Mix, turn onto a medium plate, and sprinkle with the torn cilantro.