A childhood favourite of mine, the pan fried water chestnut cake is a dim sum classic. The caramelized surface is crispy while the inside is slightly sticky and chewy. Bits of juicy water chestnut add a nice crunch and refreshing sweetness. It is quite amazing when one realises that the flour used for making the cake is water chestnut too. The same raw material and yet such difference in texture when cooked.
Water Chestnut Cake
250g water chestnut flour
300g water chestnut (250g if using canned water chestnut)
4tbsp vegetable oil
Grease a 9½ inch loaf pan or a square cake tin with a little vegetable oil.
Sift the water chestnut flour. Add half the water to the flour. Stir well to form a paste and set aside for 30 minutes.
Peel and chop water chestnut coarsely.
Add sugar and chopped water chestnut to the rest of the water in a pot and bring it to a boil. Make sure the sugar has dissolved. Turn the flame down to the lowest, add the vegetable oil. Next, slowly pour in half the raw paste while continuously stirring.
Turn off the flame, add the other half of the raw paste to the pot and mix well. The paste is going to be very thick and starchy.
Pour the paste into the loaf pan or cake tin and steam it in a steamer over boiling water for 30 minutes.
Remove from steamer and leave to cool.
Unmold the cake and slice it in rectangles 1 to 1½cm thick. There are several ways to eat the cake. Chill the cake and eat it cold or pan fry the cake in a little oil. Some even coat the cake with batter and deep fry.