Sunday, 14 February 2010

Chinese Turnip Cake

Traditionally, my grandmother made Chinese turnip cake (loh bak goh) every Chinese new year. Hers was always the best, far better than ones I've been served at dim sum. When I asked my mum what her secret was, she said "lard." Right then.

I made this last year, but mistakenly added dark soy amongst a variety of mishaps. It still tasted good but had a brown tinge to it. I made sure to read recipes closely and to take my time over it. It turned out perfectly; well flavoured, a good consistency and the proper colour. It's not as good as my grandmother's, but I'm not entirely surprised at that. Fried up in a little oil and served with chilli oil to dip into it, it made a brilliant brunch and will feed me for days.

Chinese Turnip Cake (Loh Bak Goh)

1 mooli / daikon / Chinese turnip, around 700gr in size
3 Chinese sausages (lap cheung)
4 shallots
2 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
4 shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated in 50ml hot water
1 tbsp dried shrimp, also in 50ml hot water
2 spring onions
50gr lard (optional)
280gr rice flour (not glutinous)
40gr potato starch or tapoica starch
1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
300ml stock or water

Grate the radish, reserving the water chop the mushrooms and shrimp. Slice the sausage and simmer in a little water for a few minutes. Chop the garlic and shallots finely. In a bowl, mix together the flour, starch, sesame oil, white pepper and stock / water until it's a smooth consistency. In a wok, add the lard (you can use oil if you prefer) and when it's hot add the shallots and garlic. Stir fry until fragrant and then add the mushrooms, shrimp and sausage.

Add the turnip and stir fry for a few minutes, and then add the reserved water from soaking the shrimp and mushrooms. Simmer for a few minutes until the turnip is cooked and then add the flour mixture and the spring onions, chopped Stir in the salt and the soy sauce. Take off the heat and mix together carefully - it should thicken up with the residual heat. Pour into a greased tin and smooth the top. Steam for an hour - if you don't have a big enough steamer like me, put the tin in a baking tray of boiling water, cover with foil and put it in a 150 degree preheated oven for an hour.

When cooked, leave it to cool in the tin. To serve, slice and fry in some hot oil until crispy on both sides. Serve with some chilli oil.

Happy year of the Tiger (my year!) to you all - kung hei fat choi!


Hermano 2 said...

Lovely looking recipe. These are the posts on your blog I look forward to and this is my favourite dim sum dish, although I am sure I have only had poor versions compared to home made ones

Happy New Year


Helen said...

I WANT IT!! Can I come round to yours this week please?

Greedy Diva said...

What, more lard? How does this not surprise me. Sounds lovely.

catty said...

Gong xi fa chai! And that does look delicious. I haven't had homemade loh bak goh in a LONG LONG time... good work!

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year!

Chris Pople said...

"When I asked my mum what her secret was, she said "lard." "

That's my secret too!!!!! Can I be an honorary Chinese?

Mr Noodles said...

恭喜發財 ! Happy New Year ! You can't beat a bit of home made. Knowing that you were born in the year of the Tiger and doing a bit of quick maths makes me feel very old.

ginandcrumpets said...

Is there anything that isn't improved/made wonderful by lard? Anything? I don't think so. Happy new year!

Food Urchin said...

Turnip cake? This is a totally new one on me, very intrigued, what does it taste like?

Kung Hei Fat Choi btw

The Shed said...

I admit that I had reservations about a cake made from turnips, but this looks delicious.

Happy new year!

Hollow Legs said...

Hermano 2 - thanks. I'll endeavour to do more like this, then!

Helen - of course!

Greedy Diva - Lard is the answer to all.

Catty - thanks! Home made really is in a different league, isn't it?

Mathilde - thanks!

Chris - I think your love of the piggy has qualified you, yes.

Mr Noodles - thanks! Yes, I am a young one...

Gin & Crumpets - perhaps tea? Thanks :)

Food Urchin - Yes, it's a savoury cake. It tastes a bit turnipy, has a smooth, paste-like texture. The frying gives great crispy bits, and inside the chunks of sossidge, mushroom, shrimp etc. flavour it.

The Shed - Thanks. It's definitely not a cake in the traditional sweet sense!

Unknown said...

Lard is always the secret ingredient! Love it.

Liz said...

My favourite dim sum - and it suddenly strikes me that I haven't made any in *years*. (Think my last batch was when I still lived in London, so more than 10 years ago. Where has the time gone?)

Gong Xi Fa Kai and all that - here's to you and your admirable attitude to lard.

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Mmmm, nomnomnom. Good to hear that lard is the vital ingredient ;)

I've only ever had turnip cake a couple of times (hangs head in shame), but I'm pretty darn sure neither would come close to being anywhere near as good as your version

LexEat! said...

Don't think I've ever tried this - and now don't think I will unless it's homemade and looks as delicious as yours!

S said...

Happy Year of the Tiger, Lizzie. Wishing you a very Happy New Year! x shayma

Luiz Hara said...

Wow, this is one of my favourite dim sum dishes and I always wondered how it was made, thanks for that. Luiz x

gastrogeek said...

a Belated Happy New Year Lizzie! What a gorgeous recipe

gastrogeek said...

a Belated Happy New Year Lizzie! What a gorgeous recipe

Anonymous said...

hi have a nice xmas to all of you - matt