Chai Tow Kway


  • 250 g grated white radish
  • 480 g water
  • 150 g rice flour
  • 12 g cornflour
  • 12 g wheat starch
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 220 g water


  • 100 ml lard, melted
  • replace with vegetable oil if you’re a Muslim, Jew or wimp; if you’re Muslim or Jewish but not a wimp, use duck or goose fat
  • 40 g minced chai poh  (salted radish), Twin Rabbit brand
  • rinse twice; soak 2-3 minutes in enough water to cover; taste and soak longer if too salty; drain
  • 20 g garlic, peel and mince roughly
  • 2 tsp light soya sauce
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • sambal (chilli paste) to taste
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp light soya sauce, add to eggs and whisk thoroughly
  • 200 g bean sprouts, rinse and drain thoroughly
  • 40 g spring onions, wash and chop roughly


  • To make steamed kway, place radish in a small pot. Add 480 g water. Weigh pot and contents. Take note of weight. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, till radish is soft, 
  • about 5 minutes. Turn off heat. Remove cover. Wait till evaporation stops, about 10 minutes. Weigh pot and contents again. Weight should be lower by 100 g. Top up with water or discard excess liquid as necessary.
  • Whilst radish is simmering, assemble rice flour, cornflour, wheat starch, salt, oil and 220 g water in a wok. Stir batter till smooth. When radish is ready, add radish liquid. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, till batter is creamy. Add cooked radish. Continue cooking and stirring, reducing heat to low as batter thickens, till batter is thick but not thick enough to hold its shape. Pour batter into 18 x 5 cm round cake pan. Level and smooth top.
  • If you have difficulty smoothing the batter, that means it’s too thick and your kway will be hard. If the top is smooth without human assistance, the batter is too thin and your kway will be mushy.
  • Steam batter over rapidly bubbling water till cooked, i.e. inserted skewer comes out almost clean. This takes about 40 minutes.
  • Remove cake from steamer. Leave till cool. Refrigerate overnight. Cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • To fry kway, heat well-seasoned wok till very hot. Place 1/3 of lard in the wok. Heat till just smoking, swirling so that lard coats bottom of wok.
  • Add steamed kway. Spread in a single layer. Fry over high heat till lightly golden. Turn over. Drizzle with a little lard. Fry till second side is also lightly golden, stirring to check if it is.
  • Add chai poh and garlic. Drizzle with more lard. Stir to mix thoroughly. Drizzle with 2 tsp light soya sauce and 1 tsp fish sauce. Stir thoroughly. Alternate frying and stirring till kway is nicely brown and aroma of chai poh is released, drizzling with more lard when wok looks dry.
  • Add eggs, followed by yet more lard. Turn over when bottom of eggs is golden brown,  pressing lightly with spatula after flipping to help eggs stick to kway. Fry till golden brown again.
  • Add sambal. (If you prefer black CTK, add sweet sauce now, about 1 tbsp per portion.) Stir till thoroughly mixed.
  • Add bean sprouts, then more lard. Stir till bean sprouts are heated through but not wilted.
  • Add spring onions, leaving aside 1 tbsp or so. Stir through. Quickly taste and, if necessary, adjust seasoning with pinch of sugar if too salty or a few drops of fish sauce if too bland. Plate, sprinkle with remaining spring onions and serve immediately.