My friend, J, emailed me from USA to say that her first attempt at Radish Cake (Lor Pak Kou) failed. It all stemmed from the wrong type of rice flour she had bought. She asked for "Rice Flour" but the clueless store manager handed her a box of "Sweet Rice Flour", which is in fact, Glutinous Rice Flour! No wonder her Radish Cake turned out like mochi :( Anyhow, I just wanted to take this chance to alert anyone who is attempting this recipe ... make sure you see the words Plain Rice Flour.
Another thing - if dried cuttlefish is unavailable, you can substitute with dried shrimp or chinese sausage (lap cheong). Or dried mushrooms? I guess you can be adventurous and experiment ;)
A note of caution: it does take some practice to get this dish right, so don't be disheartened if it doesn't work out on the first few attempts. I have had my fair share of unsatisfactory results too ... it's all part and parcel of learning, no?
So, thanks to J, I remembered I haven't had Radish Cake in a while. I used to order it every time I have dim sum, but ever since I've learnt to make this, I have stopped eating anything but my own. Kinda like never ever buying a cake once you've learnt to bake, I suppose!
Here it is again, in its full crusty-crispy-charred-along-the-edges glory :) Holy yum! The step-by-step recipe is here. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I do!