• Fried carrot cake (chai tow kway) (Sharyn Cairns)

Despite the name, this Singaporean street food favourite doesn’t contain any carrot at all. Instead, white radish makes the base of this comforting savoury cake which is crisp on the outside while soft and chewy in the centre.






Skill level

Average: 3.7 (20 votes)

"There are just so many surprises in this inspired street food dish from Singapore. It feels like a wicked carbohydrate hit and yet it’s made with blameless daikon radish which is grated and steamed and then cubed to be tossed in a wok with some delicious drizzles of sauces and easy bits and pieces to create a deeply satisfying snack that would happily work well with a cold beer. If you love the complexity and depth of Singaporean and Malaysian cuisine, this dish, also known as fried carrot cake or fried radish cake is incredible - and shared by my dear friend Helina Lee, a fabulous home cook from a huge Singaporean family who settled in Australia many years ago." Maeve O'Meara, Food Safari Earth 


  • 60 ml (¼ cup) vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp preserved chopped radish (chye poh), washed and rinsed
  • chilli paste, to taste (optional)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tbsp caramel black sauce
  • pinch freshly ground white pepper  

Radish cake

  • 500 g white radish, peeled
  • 200 g rice flour
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 300 ml vegetable stock

To serve

  • thinly sliced spring onion, thinly sliced red chilli and fried shallots

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Chilling time: overnight

For the radish cake, grate the radish and place into a large bamboo steamer basket. Cover and steam over low heat for 30 minutes or until translucent. Remove and set aside to cool. 

Combine the rice flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add the stock and mix well, then add the cooled radish. Pour the mixture into baking dish about 15 cm x 20 cm and steam over medium heat for 30 minutes or until a skewer withdraws clean. Stand to cool, then refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

Cut half the radish cake into bite-sized cubes. The remaining radish cake will keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Heat a large non-stick frying pan over high heat, then add 2 tbsp oil. When the oil is hot, add the radish cubes and fry until golden and slightly crisp on all sides. Move the radish cake to the outside of the pan, then add the remaining oil to the centre of the pan. Add the garlic and preserved radish and stir for 30 seconds or until fragrant.  Add the chilli paste if using. 

Stir together and mash the radish cube slightly to encourage the rough edges to be crispy. Reduce the heat to medium, add the beaten eggs and allow to lightly set. Add the caramel black sauce and gently stir through. Gently flip the radish cake over and cook until golden on both sides. Season with white pepper. Serve scattered with spring onions, sliced chillies and fried shallots.


Photography by Sharyn Cairns. Styling by Lee Blaylock. Food preparation by Emma Warren. Creative concept by Belinda So.

Brand-new series Food Safari Earth airs Thursdays at 8pm on SBS then on SBS On Demand. For recipes and more visit the program site right here.