lo bak koh (radish cake)

prep 4 hrs (plus cooling time)   cook 1 hr 20 mins      makes 24 slices (serves 8)

Radish Mixture

500 g or 1 medium radish (daikon or mooli) peeled and finely grated

100 g or 2 small carrots, peeled and finely grated

200 ml (1cup) water

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp white pepper

1 - 1 1/2 tbsp sugar (sugar neutralises the bitterness of daikon)

Meat Mixture

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tbsp fragrant sesame oil

6 shallots, peeled and chopped

4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1 pair lap cheong (I used chicken lap cheong) soaked briefly then skinned and diced

4 dried shiitake mushrooms, rinsed, soaked until soft then squeezed dry and diced

30 g (1/2 cup) small dried prawns, rinsed, soaked until soft then squeezed dry and coarsely chopped

3 tbsp Shao Xing wine

Rice Flour Batter

225 g (2 1/4 cups) rice flour (not glutinous rice flour)

700 ml (3 1/2 cups) water

Combine ingredients for radish mixture and stir to dissolve salt and sugar. Cook over medium heat until vegetables are tender, pulpy and almost dry. Turn off heat and set aside.

Heat vegetable and sesame oil in another pan and fry the shallots and garlic until golden and fragrant. Add remaining ingredients, except for wine and stir over moderate heat until lightly browned. Pour in the wine and immediately cover with lid. Allow ingredients to steam in the wine vapours for 2 - 3 minutes. Open lid and stir until ingredients are dry. Turn off heat and set aside.

Prepare a large steamer and oil the bottom and sides of a 20 cm (8 in) square tin

Combine batter ingredients and whisk thoroughly. Pour batter into radish mixture in pan. Add meat mixture to radish and batter in pan. Stir until thoroughly combined then cook batter over moderate heat until mixture thickens enough to stand a spoon in.

Transfer mixture to oiled tin and lightly smooth top. Don't compress too much or cake will be heavy. Steam over high heat for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until solidified, but still wobbly in the centre. Remove from steamer and leave on counter until it reaches room temperature. Chilling cake overnight makes the cake easier to cut.

Run a blunt knife around edge of cake and gently invert onto a plate. Cut into slices and pan fry with a little oil over moderate heat until golden and crisp outside and soft inside.

Transfer slices to plate and garnish with spring onions before serving. The slices are tasty enough to eat asthey are, but some people like them with chilli garlic sauce, dried prawn sambal or sriracha.