It took my 2 weeks' business travel to pry me away from my cookies. Taking a break sometimes, opens up the mind for new stimulation. The stimuli for this post came in the form of an amazing XO Sauce I found in Taiwan. Unlike the supermarket versions that we get here, this is chock full of precious flavourful ingredients such as dried whole baby scallops (not the shreds we normally get), dried whole shrimps garlic and chilli . The bottles of XO sauce we normally get in Singapore are expensive and for most of them, the solids would only constitute 50% of the bottle, the rest being made up of a mild chilli oil. With this Taiwanese XO sauce, the hefty bottle was packed almost to the brim with the precious ingredients. Sold at 250NT (about US$8) for a substantial 500g bottle, this is what I would consider great value for money! This would definitely be on my replenish list when I return to Taiwan next time.
For those who do not have access to this, fret not, head over to Trissa's or Pickyin's blog to learn how to make this sauce from scratch.
There are a million ways to use the XO sauce. It is completely addictive when eaten on its own with steamed white rice, brown rice or glutinous rice. When you are in a hurry, it can be used to toss with noodles or spaghetti. It is also a great stir fry seasoning for vegetables or meat.
Here, I have chosen to use the sauce with the very tasty Hong Kong style Radish Cake. Commonly offered at Yum Cha (dim sum), the Hong Kong style Radish Cake is a steamed rice cake filled with bits of chinese sausage, dried shrimps and shitake mushroom. This can be eaten on its own or more commonly, pan fried to crisp up the skin. In the recent years, restaurants here have started to stir fry these with XO sauce, seafood and bean sprouts... a la Chai Tau Kuey.
I got the recipe from Celebrity Chef Sam Leong's 'A Taste Of Home' . However, I do suspect that there is a typo in the recipe. Instead of Rice flour, the book had asked for Glutinous rice flour. I had to throw out a batch and replace the glutinous flour with Rice flour. Also, whenever I steam rice cakes at home, I make sure that I 'pre-cook' my flour prior to steaming the liquid batter. This can either be done by mixing very hot water into the flour mixture or stirring the flour batter over low heat to thicken it up before steaming. Most recipes may just call for steaming the liquid batter directly over boiling water but I find this impractical for house cooks like us. Our stoves will never be able to generate the kind of heat intensity to cook the rice cake through.
So, if you've enjoyed this dish at Dim Sum restaurants, you can now replicate this at home now.... and eat to your heart's content!
Recipe : (Adapted from Sam Leong's A Taste Of Home)
Prawns 8 medium, peeled
Cooking Oil 1 Tbsp
Bean Sprouts 100g, Blanched. (don't need to be too precise, I think I only used 50g)
Chinese Chives 100g (Kuchai, I used a few sprigs.Add according to your liking)
Spring Onions 100g (same as above)
Eggs 2 Beaten
Cooking Oil 1 tbsp
Dried prawns 1 tbsp (soaked in water for 10mins, then minced)
Chinese Sausage 20g (minced)
Dried Shitake Mushroom 2 pieces (soaked in water for 10mins, then minced)
Rice Flour 75g
Potato Starch 20g
Corn Starch 20g
White Radish 100g (shredded and squeezed dry)
Sugar 1/2 Tbsp
Salt 1/2 tsp
Water 4 tbsp
XO Sauce 1 Tbsp
Oyster Sauce 1/2 tsp
Sugar 1/8 tsp
Dark soy sauce a dash
Sesame Oil a dash
Chinese Cooking Wine a dash
1. Prepare Radish Cake : Heat 1 tbsp of cooking oil in a wok. Fry dried shrimps, Chinese Sausage and mushroom until fragrant. Ladle out and set aside.
2. Mix 250ml water with Rice flour, Corn flour and Potato Starch flour and set aside.
3. Place remaining 250 ml water in a pot with shredded radish. Bring to boil. Add in sugar and salt seasoning. Pour boiling mixture into flour mixture in (2).
4. Stir well. Return mixture into pot. Heat over low heat and stir continuously. Once mixture starts to thicken a little add in (1).
5. Continue stirring until mixture becomes almost pasty.
6. Pour mixture into an oiled 21 cm square tin.
7. Steam over vigorously boiling water for 35mins.
8. Cool down completely (refrigerating over night if possible). (Rice cake will still be soft after steaming. Do not try to cut)
9. Cut Radish Cake into small squares. Heat some oil in a frying pan. Sear cake over high heat to crisp the surface.
10. In a hot wok, heat oil . Add bean sprouts, chives and spring onion. Stir fry briefly, then add eggs and cook until just beginning to set.
11. Add radish cake and ingredients for seasoning. Fry until fragrant and egg is cooked. Dish out and serve hot.