Fried carrot cake (chai tow kway)

“Fried carrot cake?!!”, you say? This is far from the moist, cream cheese-topped carrot cake that one has for dessert. Fried carrot cake is a savoury, street-side, Singaporean hawker favourite. Even though locals call it fried carrot cake, there are no carrots in this dish. Instead radish is used, but radish has also been known as ‘white carrot’, which is how I suspect this dish got its name.

A steamed cake is first made with radish (white daikon) and rice flour. It is then cut into pieces and fried with garlic, pickled radish and egg. It makes for a simple, wholesome and flavourful one dish wonder that is loved by Singaporeans and Malaysians. You even get a choice of 2 versions, ‘black’ or ‘white’. I’ve always loved the ‘white’ fried carrot cake version as it’s more savoury than the ‘black’ version that has sweet soy sauce added.

My sister, I always cooks the best Asian meals. So the last time Honey and I were in Sydney, she made the steamed carrot cake one day in advance. And when we arrived the next day, we were able to whip up the fried carrot cake in a matter of minutes, just like how the Singapore hawkers do.

There are many variations of this dish, with some making the steamed cake with yam (taro) or pumpkin. Even whilst writing this post, my mouth waters as I remember my mom making this.

What dish makes your mouth water when you think of it?

Fried carrot cake (chai tow kway)

Steamed carrot cake

180g (1 1/2 cups) rice flour

40g (1/4 cup) tapioca flour

625 ml (2 1/2 cups) water or cold chicken stock

300g grated white radish

1 tsp salt

2 tsp white pepper

Frying ingredients

1 tbsp chopped garlic

½ tbsp pickled radish (chai poh) (washed, drained of water and finely chopped)

1 tbsp chili sauce (optional)

For ‘White’ carrot cake: 3 tbsp fish sauce/ soy sauce OR For ‘Black’ carrot cake: 3 tbsp Sweet Soy sauce

3 beaten eggs

chopped spring onion

chopped coriander leaves

pepper to taste

Method :

Steamed carrot cake

- Mix rice and tapioca flour in 250ml water. Stir well. Boil shredded radish and salt in remaining water. Pour in rice flour mixture and stir well to make batter. And bring it to a boil, stirring consistently till the mixture thickens.

-Pour mixture into 24cm square baking tray. Steam for 60 minutes till carrot cake is cooked. Allow to cool in the fridge before cutting into pieces.

Fried Carrot cake

- Heat your frying pan till hot then pour in 3 tbsp oil. Heat oil till hot. Add chopped steamed carrot cake.

-Cut carrot cake into small pieces using frying ladle, fry till golden brown. Push the carrot cake to one side.

-Pour in 3 tbsp oil. Add chopped garlic, pickled radish and chili sauce. Fry thoroughly while adding fish sauce OR sweet soy sauce. Slowly drizzle beaten eggs over carrot cake, leave to set before continuing to pan-fry till egg has cooked.

Serve with chopped spring onion, chopped coriander leaves and pepper.

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  • mademoiselle delicieuse

    Yes, very confusing growing up bilingual and having this whole carrot/radish confusion! But it’s all good is it tastes great =)

  • Hannah

    So many things make my mouth water, but right now I’ll say lemon delicious! I’ve only ever heard about carrot/daikon cakes on blogs, but I think I’d love them :)

  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella

    Haha I remember the first time my cousin from singapore tried the Australian version of carrot cake-he was shocked! I love this type of carrot cake and radish cake! :D

  • Katie

    I’ve never seen this before – how delicious, I’m really intrigued by the steamed turnip cake ! And muuuuch healthier than the aforementioned cream-cheesy-doppelgänger.

  • InTolerant Chef

    Looks so nice, I’ve not heard of this before. Too many things make my mouth water, but I prefer savoury to sweet.

  • Celia

    You’ve posted a recipe for chai tow kway? I think I love you guys.. :)

  • honeyandsoy

    Yeah! A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. It’s all in the taste 8)


  • honeyandsoy

    ooo..I’ve not eaten a lemon delicious before, but it does sound delicious (pardon the pun) 8).

  • honeyandsoy

    I love taro must love the deep fried yam puffs! wu kok?


  • honeyandsoy

    Lol, it’s just like how my mom was shocked too! The poor things are expecting a hot piping savoury dish and get served a cheese cream, slightly wicked carrot cake dessert.


  • honeyandsoy

    It is so much healthier….as long as you don’t add so much oil during the frying process ;)

  • honeyandsoy

    We love you too Celia 8), all those bread and chocolate recipes….;)

  • Aish

    I second Celia! I can’t believe you posted a recipe for fried carrot cake.
    With all these recipes, maybe you guys may make a little awesome chef (ok, almost-cook) out of me after all. You’re my cooking cheat-sheets! :)

    All I can say is.. keep the recipes, both savory and sweet coming!


  • Michelle Chin

    Yesss. Especially the ones with curry powder filling – portugese style. :D