Turnip cake (lo bak goh) is one of my favorite dim sum items. I love the crispy exterior, soft middle, and medley of savory Chinese tidbits — Chinese sausage, mushrooms, and shrimp. Lo Bak Goh is also a traditional Chinese New Year dish, so in honor of the upcoming holiday I thought I’d share this recipe. It’s surprisingly easy to make, and when you do it yourself you can adjust the amount of “goodies” inside to suit your preferences (i.e. more mushrooms, more sausage…I added some dried scallops this last time to make it even more decadent). You can also easily double or triple this recipe, though I recommend cooking up each cake separately to make the ingredients easier to combine.
A few tips: there are some weird ingredients, but all should be available at your local Asian market. When choosing daikon, look for short, heavy ones. When cooking the turnip in step 4, your turnip may give off a lot of liquid. If your mixture looks really soupy, hold back some of the liquid when combining with the flour mixture (you probably want about 1/2 – 3/4 c total – just enough to create a very thick batter). You can always add some liquid back in. Or if your daikon seems dry, add a tablespoon of stock or water to help everything come together. Finally, though extremely delicious, cooking turnip cake tends to let off…pungent odors. So you may want to leave ample time to air your place out if you’re planning to make this for company. 🙂
Chinese Turnip Cake (Lo Bak Goh)
Makes one 8-inch pan | Adapted from Christine’s Recipes
- 1 Chinese white turnip (daikon) – about 2 lbs.
- 170 gm rice flour
- 4 Tbsp wheat starch
- 1-2 links Chinese sausage (lap cheung)
- Handful of Chinese dried shrimp, soaked
- 4 dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated and chopped
- 2 scallions, minced
- 3/4 c chicken broth
- 1 T vegetable oil
- Pinch of white pepper
- Salt to taste
- Blanch Chinese sausage boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes for cleaning and easy chopping. Drain well and finely dice. Peel the turnip and grate into thick strips (I used the large holes of a box grater). Rinse and coarsely chop dried shrimp.
- In a big bowl, mix the rice flour with wheat starch well.
- Sauté Chinese sausage over medium heat. Toss in dried shrimp and mushrooms, and continue to sauté until aromatic, 1-2 minutes. Set aside.
- In the same pan, add a tablespoon of oil and sauté minced scallions. Add grated turnips. Season with white pepper and salt to taste. Pour in chicken broth, bring to a boil, cover and cook until tender and translucent (~5-10 minutes). Remove from heat.
- Add rice flour and wheat starch to the daikon mixture and quickly combine into a thick batter. Add sausage, shrimp, and mushroom mixture and mix well.
- Pour the mixture into a greased 8-inch pan. Steam over high heat, covered, about 45 to 60 minutes. Check the water level and replenish, if necessary, with boiling water. To test for doneness, insert a chopstick into the middle. If it comes out clean, the cake is cooked through. Let cool.
- Cut into pieces and fry both sides until golden brown. Serve hot, accompanying with chili sauce or with soy or oyster sauce.