savory daikon rice cakes

by Heguiberto on January 25, 2011

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Steven and I are big fans of the always-trendy and iconic restaurant, The Slanted Door, located in the San Francisco Ferry Building. Their food is consistently good, and what’s even more challenging to maintain, consistently exciting. We’ve been going there for years now and we’re never disappointed. Steven especially likes their daikon rice cakes. The restaurant serves them as a sort of appetizer/side dish. They’re always warm and soft inside with a crisp outer layer, covered in a delicate ethereal sauce. Yum!

savory daikon rice cakes

savory daikon rice cakes

I’ve been vaguely promising to try them at home for ages, but you know how that can go. Recently I bumped into this great recipe on flavor explosions. It seemed close to the Slanted Door version. It calls for Chinese sausage, which I replaced with tofurkey. Next time, I’m leaving out the sausage entirely as I found it distracting. I got super excited about making this, especially the way the dish gets steamed then pan-fried. Last time we cracked out the steamer was for the Dungeness crab fest, and before that, who can even remember that far back?

savory daikon rice cakes

2 lbs fresh daikon, peeled
1 tofurkey sausage, cut into small dice (optional)
1 tbsp dried shrimp (optional)
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
4 dried shiitake mushrooms (optional)
2 cups rice flour
2 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp sugar
¼ tsp Chinese 5-spice powder (I made my own with less star anise)
4 scallions, chopped plus one for sauce
3 tbsp chopped cilantro
vegetable oil
½ tsp garlic chili sauce
1 clove garlic smashed
½ cup ponzu sauce
3 tbsp shoyu (soy sauce)

In a small saucepan, simmer grated daikon 10-15 minutes in 1 cup of water. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Soak dried shrimp with sherry vinegar in a cup of hot water for about 10 minutes. Drain and chop into small bits.

Soak dried shiitake mushrooms in hot water for a half-hour. Drain. Discard stems. Cut into small pieces.

Heat steamer on stovetop at high temperature.

cooling savory daikon rice cakes after steaming

cooling savory daikon rice cakes after steaming

Meanwhile place 2 tbsp oil in a skillet. Sauté tofurkey for a couple of minutes. Push it to the side of the pan then add prepared shiitake and shrimp. Continue sautéing for about 4 minutes longer. Remove from heat. Stir in cilantro and four scallions then set aside.

Drain radish while reserving cooking liquid. Increase reserved liquid to two and a half cups by adding some water.

Place rice flour, salt and Chinese 5-spice powder in a bowl and give it a good mix. Add radish and reserved liquid. Mix to incorporate. It should have a thick porridge consistency. Adjust texture with either more water or more rice flour. Whisk in two tablespoons of oil. Carefully fold in sautéed shrimp-mushroom mix.

The original recipe calls for a 6×9 inch tray, which I didn’t have. Instead I used a regular loaf pan and a regular glass pie dish. I lined both with parchment paper and liberally oiled them.

Fill pans with the daikon rice mixture. Steam for one hour and 10 minutes. Remove from steamer, let cool down, then refrigerate over night.

Remove from the fridge long enough to return to room temperature. Cut into half-inch thick slices. Add some oil to a non-stick skillet on high heat. Gently lay cake slices in pan and fry them for about four minutes per side.

pan-frying savory daikon rice cakes

pan-frying savory daikon rice cakes

To make the sauce add mashed garlic, remaining scallion, ponzu, garlic-chili sauce, and shoyu to a bowl. Give it a good stir and serve for dipping. If you don’t have ponzu sauce, just use lemon juice and increase the amount of shoyu.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Heavenly Housewife January 25, 2011 at 9:13 am

This is totally new to me, but it looks wonderful, I have a feeling I’d really like it. Thanks for introducing me to something new and exotic 🙂
*kisses* HH

Sharon January 25, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside is the perfect way to have it! I love eating this and I’ll have it ANY day. Yours look fantastic and I bet they’re delicious! I love trying to make food I try in restaurants as well. Oftentimes it turns out better doesn’t it? I really dislike the taste of Chinese sausage though, so I’d probably leave that out. My mom makes this brilliantly and it’s the best I’ve ever had (when she doesn’t start cutting down on the salt and pepper to be healthy). This also goes GREAT with chilli oil =D

Heguiberto January 26, 2011 at 9:38 am

HH: It came out pretty good. We love to experiment with new flavors particularly those from Asia. Our food here in SF is heavily influenced by the Chinese, Vietnamese and Japanese cuisines

Sharon: That’s how they turned out crispy outside then soft and a little gooey inside. I think you are right on the sausage, we used a vegan sausage (tofurkey) and the flavor was a bit to intense to go with this delicate dish. Next time I will probably make it entirely vegan leaving both the vegan sausage and dry shrimp out. Chili oil sounds yummy. I have some sitting in the pantry for while now. I need to put it to use soon. We adore spicy food.
I bet your mom’s cake is divine!

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