MUSHROOM MIXTURE (OPTIONAL):
- 1 ounce (28 g) dried wild mushrooms or shiitake mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons neutral cooking oil, like canola or rice bran
- 1 small shallot, peeled and finely minced
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1½ pounds daikon radish, peeled
- 2 cups white rice flour
- ¼ cup tapioca flour or starch
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
- 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 teaspoons Taiwanese black vinegar or rice vinegar
- ½ teaspoon agave or maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon finely grated ginger
- ¼ teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon scallion, chopped in rounds
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha or salam oelek chili paste (optional)
- Place the dried mushrooms in a Pyrex measuring cup or a bowl and cover with 2 cups of hot water. Let soak for 30 minutes while preparing other ingredients. Using a sieve, drain the mushrooms over a bowl, retaining the soaking liquids. Press the mushrooms in the sieve to remove any excess liquid. Measure and keep 1 cup of the soaking liquid. Rinse the mushrooms in cold water until they are free of grit and break off any tough stems. Pat the mushrooms dry and finely mince. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Over a large bowl, using a microplane or a fine grater, grate the peeled radish. Do not drain, you will want to retain the excess liquids with your grated radish. Combine the grated radish and its juice in a medium sized pot and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 20-25 minutes until radish is tender. Stir and add a bit of water to avoid scorching. It is ok for the mixture to appear wet. Remove from heat and let cool.
- To prepare mushroom mixture, heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large, nonstick skillet. Add the shallots, stirring often until tender, about 5 minutes. Turn the heat to high and add the garlic and drained mushrooms. Cook, stirring until most of the liquid evaporates. Transfer the mushroom mixture to a baking sheet, spreading in an even layer. Set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, combine rice flour, tapioca starch, salt, white pepper and 1 cup of the mushroom soaking liquid and mix well. Slowly add the flour mixture to the cooled grated daikon before incorporating the cooked mushrooms in the batter. Stir and mix until well combined. The texture will be thick, sticky and only small lumps will remain. Season to taste with salt and ground white pepper. Transfer the batter to a greased glass or ceramic baking dish that will fit in your steamer. If using a smaller dish, you will end up with several batches.
- After setting up your steamer, bring the water to a boil over high heat. Steam the cake mixture for 45 minutes to an hour until firm and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted. Allow them to cool before cutting. Refrigerate until firm to cut, 2 hours or overnight.
- While the radish cake cools you can prepare your dipping sauce by mixing all the sauce ingredients together in a jar or bowl. The dipping sauce can keep for 1-2 days in the refrigerator, covered.
- Once the radish cake has cooled and set, transfer it to a cutting board. Slice the cake into square or rectangular pieces. For reference, mine were about 2″ x 3″ and between ½”-1″ thick. Dust lightly with rice flour. Heat vegetable oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. The oil should be hot before adding the radish cake. Working in batches to avoid crowding, pan fry until golden brown on both sides. After cooking, drain briefly on paper towels to remove excess oil. Repeat with remaining cakes. Serve with a bowl of dipping sauce.
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