Daikon or radish cakes are often a favorite at dim sum. My old co-worker J loved them so much that he categorically denied the existence of pork in them. The first time we went to dim sum together he tried to order them and I asked “I thought you didn’t eat pork?” He muttered something in response that indicated he had no idea there was pork, in the form of Chinese sausage or ham in them. The next time we were at dim sum we had a large group and everyone had been laughing as I helped J sort out what had pork in it–virtually everything but the chicken feet! He started to reach for the daikon cakes, but (in retrospect, I probably should have looked the other way) I reminded him there was pork. He looked crestfallen. Clearly, in his mind, these were pork free. Well, here’s for you, J, a pork free version of daikon cakes!
As I told Kay, the owner of the amazing Crow’s Wing Spa about these, she pointed out that they are also an excellent naturally gluten-free dim sum treat! As a committed omnivore in every sense of the word, I rarely cook things that fit dietary needs, so I was proud that this one catered to the needs of two very wonderful people I know!
What really inspired these though is my P-patch. In that I have only successfully grown my two kinds of radish (daikon and French breakfast). And exactly two peas. They were two very tasty peas though. And I’ve got radishes coming out my ears. So I decided to create the single furthest thing from a radish I could make from a radish: dim sum radish cakes! Using shiitake mushrooms and vegetable oil in place of the ham actually worked perfectly, so it became pescatarian–still need the shrimp paste to make it delicious!
This takes a lot of time to make, but is great for making in large batches and storing for quick, fast meals. Plan to start in the evening and you’ll be ready for breakfast the next day!