Water Cakes 水粿
水粿 or Chwee Kueh literally means Water Cakes. This is a very popular breakfast item for Singaporeans. It’s almost a must buy for every Chinese housewife to bring home for their children whenever they visit the wet market. Served steaming hot with dollops of fried preserved turnip and if you like, some sesame oil chilli sauce on the side.
We do not have a big steamer in Melbourne so I steamed the cake in one big bowl in a stockpot instead. If you were to use the little moulds, brush them with a little oil and steam the moulds for 5 minutes before pouring the batter into the moulds. As for the large bowl, I just rinse it, drain away the excess water and pour all the batter into the bowl.
Heat a little vegetable oil, add 2 cloves minced garlic and 100g preserved turnip (fresh from the package not the ones they were cooked in sugar), and fry till fragrant. Add the cubed cakes and stir-fry till the cakes are fully warmed through. Pour some beaten eggs over the cakes. Let the omelet set before turning them over. Add more beaten eggs if necessary. I used about 8 eggs for half the leftover cakes. A little light soy and ground white pepper according to taste. Remember the cakes are already salted and the preserved turnip are also salty. In this dish, I do not rinse the turnip so go easy on the salt/light soy when seasoning.
Recipe for Chwee Kueh
Ingredients A (Water Cakes):
250g Rice Flour.
2 tablespoons Wheaten Starch (if not available, omit – this gives the cake slight translucent look and softer texture).
2 tablespoons Corn Flour.
1½ teaspoon Salt.
400ml Water (tepid/room temperature).
Whisk them in a big bowl and leave aside for 10 minutes.
800ml boiling water.
In the meantime, boil a huge pot of water for steaming the cakes. You will need a steamer rack to hold the moulds or the bowl of batter.
If using the metal moulds, you need to brush some oil on the moulds and steam them empty for 5 minutes. Take them out when you are ready to pour in the prepared batter or put the batter in a kettle and pour directly into the moulds. If using a big bowl like me, skip this step.
After 10 minutes of resting the mixed Ingredients A, pour in 800ml of boiling hot water in the Ingredients A bowl, stirring all the time while pouring (you may need someone to help pour while you stir – I put a damp cloth beneath the bowl to secure it and pour while stirring).
Pour this prepared batter into the little moulds or a big bowl.
Place the cakes into the steamer and steam; 15 minutes for the small moulds and 30 minutes for the big bowl over high heat.
While the cakes are steaming, prepare the Chye Poh Topping. This can be prepared in advanced and keeps well for a few days (just make sure they are steeped in the oil).
Ingredients B (Chye Poh Topping):
400g Preserved Turnip (thumbnail 2), rinse well and squeeze out excess water.
2 cloves Garlic, minced.
2 tablespoons Sugar.
2-4 tablespoons Water.
Enough Oil to cover plus a little more over the turnip in a small pot.
In a small pot, put in the minced garlic, chye poh (preserved turnip) sugar, water, enough oil to cover all the ingredients plus a little more and cook over medium low heat till you achieved a golden brown colour. Keep stirring every now and then to prevent burning. Takes about 20-30 minutes. Let this cooked chye poh topping rest and soaked in the oil for a while and soften in texture. They are not supposed to be crunchy. Better yet if this can be prepared in advance (half a day earlier).