Chinese-Style Radish Cakes

Photos by Phoenix Zhang.

We usually think of radishes in salads, but the vegetable can also make for a delicious dessert. My mom, who taught me this recipe, always says that radishes are good for the heart and lungs, and that radish cakes are even better since they are made by steaming, the healthiest way of cooking. On their own, radishes have a pungent taste, but when combined with flour and starch, they become more mellow. Those ingredients also give these Chinese-style radish cakes a soft texture. So if you want to try cooking a Chinese dessert, make some radish cakes. You can eat them for dessert or any time as a snack.

Ingredients for the cakes:

  • 750g white radish
  • 2g black pepper
  • 5g salt
  • 50 flour
  • 100g corn starch

Ingredients for the sauce:

  • 1 tsp wolfberry (optional)
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp white sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp chopped green onion
  • 2 tsp mashed garlic
  • 2 tsp sliced ginger
  • ¼ cup olive oil

Instructions for the cakes:

  1. Peel the radish (or radishes).
  1. Cut the radish into long threads using a mandoline tool or a knife.
  1. Boil the radish for six minutes.
  2. Take the radish threads out and rinse them with cold water.
  3. Put the radish threads in a container, and mix them with black pepper, salt, flour and starch.
  4. Add a spoonful of water and stir to make the mixture sticky.
  5. Mold the dough into 15 flat pieces.
  1. Steam the cakes for eight minutes.

Instructions for the sauce:

  1. Put the garlic, ginger, green onion, sesame seeds, chili powder and, if you are using it, wolfberry into a bowl.
  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan until it bubbles.
  2. Pour oil into the bowl with the other ingredients and stir the sauce.
  1. Serve the cakes warm, with the sauce for dipping.

Yields about three servings.