The Diakon Radish was the biggest challenge. I have no idea what it tastes like or what it’s supposed to taste like. In general, if I don’t know what something tastes like I try to follow the recipe exactly. I don’t have the knowledge to play around as much with new ingredients so I play it safe the first time around. I was pretty true to this recipe except for the Chinese Sausages which I could not find. I ended up using a Russian Salami (Russia and China are neighbors right?) and it came out excellent. Not sure if it’s like someone’s mom used to make but me and my dinner guests gobbled them down.
The outside had a nice crispy texture and the inside was smooth and soft and almost custardy with bits of sausage peppered throughout. The dried shrimp gave it a briny aroma but overall they were slightly bland, which was ok because combined with the dipping sauce it was immediately elevated to finger-licking status.
Adapted from Bon Appetit
- 1 1/2 pounds daikon (Asian white radish),* peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
- Chinese sweet pork sausages (lop chong or Russian salami or whatever else you can find) cut into 1/4-inch cubes (about 3 ounces)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped green onions (about 3 large)
- 2 tablespoons small dried shrimp, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups water, divided
- 1 1/2 cups rice flour
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons (or more) vegetable oil, divided
- 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger, juices included
- small Thai red chiles, halved lengthwise, seeds removed, thinly sliced crosswise or 1 tablespoon hot chili sauce (such as sriracha)
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
Fit processor with large-hole grating disk. Working with a few pieces of daikon at a time, place daikon pieces in feed tube and process until coarsely grated. Transfer daikon to bowl. Replace grating disk in processor with metal blade. Return daikon to processor and finely chop, using on/off turns.
Heat heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage cubes to skillet and sauté until fat renders and sausage browns, about 5 minutes. Add green onions and dried shrimp; stir 1 minute. Add daikon with juices and 1/2 cup water; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook until daikon is soft and liquid is almost evaporated, stirring frequently, about 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, spray 9-inch-diameter cake pan with 1 1/2-inch-high sides with nonstick spray. Whisk rice flour and remaining 1 cup water in large bowl until well blended. Stir in daikon mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread daikon mixture evenly in prepared pan. Place cake pan on bamboo steamer rack set over wok filled halfway with simmering water or on metal rack set over simmering water in pot. Cover with lid; steam over medium heat until cake is set and firm to touch, occasionally adding more water to wok or pot as needed, about 45 minutes. Remove pan from steamer; cool cake in pan 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate daikon cake in pan overnight.
Whisk soy sauce and sesame oil in small bowl. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in small skillet over medium heat. Add cilantro, ginger with juices, and chiles or hot chili sauce; stir 30 seconds. Mix ginger mixture into soy sauce mixture. DO AHEAD Daikon cake and sauce can be made 2 days ahead. Cover separately and refrigerate.
Run small knife around daikon cake to loosen. Invert onto cutting board. Cut cake into 1/2-inch-thick slices (not wedges), then cut each slice crosswise into 2-inch-long pieces.
Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add daikon cake slices to skillet and cook until golden brown, adding more oil to skillet for each batch as needed, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer slices to platter. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve herb soy sauce alongside for dipping.