Chinese Turnip Cakes (港式臘味蘿蔔糕) is one of my family’s favorite savory treats. We do order them at Dim Sum restaurants from time to time. But those from the restaurants are usually lack of “filling” ingredients inside. Of course, I rather make my own at home, especially around this time of the year. Yes, Chinese New Year is approaching fast. It falls on February 19th this year and it’ll be the “Year of Goat”. These Chinese Turnip Cakes are wonderful treats to share with friends and family. I’ll tell you why in just a minute.
To make these Chinese Turnip Cakes, I cooked the ingredients on the stove to make the batter. Then, they are steamed in disposable loaf pans (think about easy transportation and minimal clean up) . When ready to serve, cut them into slices and pan fry them until the edges are golden and slightly crispy. Chinese Turnip Cakes are usually served with Hoisin Sauce, a slightly sweet and savory Chinese BBQ sauce and chili sauce, if you like it spicy. The inside is tender and packed with shreds of turnips. You can also see and taste the Chinese sausage, Chinese bacon, dried scallops and mushroom throughout each bite.
It’s quite a bit of work to make these Chinese Turnip Cakes but absolutely worth it. There are many specialty food, savory dishes or sweet treats, made just for the Chinese New Year. These special treats often have special meanings, for good health, wealth and/or good luck for the new year. Rice/turnip cakes are one of the "must have" treats during the CNY because the pronunciation of “Cake” in Chinese (糕) sounds exactly like "growth (taller)". These turnip cakes symbolize growth and improvement for the year to come.
Now, you know why these are the best to share with friends and family for the celebration. I hope you’ll make a few loaves and share. What is your favorite treat to enjoy for special occasions? Do you have other Chinese New Year “must have” that you make at home? I would love to hear from you.
Props and Tools used in this post:
Assorted Floral Chopsticks (Click here to see similar product)
Roll Up Window Blinds used as backdrop (Click here to see product information)
Crane Chopsticks Rest (Click here to see product information)
Small White Soy Sauce/Chili dish (Click here to see similar product)
Bamboo Placemats (Click here for more information)
Disposable Loaf Pans (Click here for more information)
Wheat Starch (Click here for more information)
Rice Flour (Click here for more information)
Chinese Sausage (Click here for more information)
Chinese Bacon/Cured Pork Strips (Click here for more information)
Dried Shrimps (Click here for more information)
Chinese Turnip Cakes 港式臘味蘿蔔糕:Makes: 3 loaves (8-inch X 3-inch X 2.75-inch)
3 pounds Chinese white turnip (daikon)
12 ounces rice flour
6 ounces wheat starch (澄麵)
8 Chinese sausages (臘腸)
6 ounce Chinese bacon (臘肉)
3 tablespoons Chinese dried shrimps
6 dried scallops (干貝)
8 Chinese Dried shitake mushrooms
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 cups warm water
4 tablespoons chicken bouillon powder
1/4 teaspoon of white pepper
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
In a medium sauce pan, bring 6 cups of water to a boil, blanch the Chinese sausage and Chinese bacon in for 1 minute. Drain well and finely diced. Set aside.
Peel and julienne the turnips into thin strips, you can use a food processor for this.
In a small bowl, cover dried shrimps with hot water and soak until soften, about 15 minutes. Reserve the soaking water and drain the shrimps. Then, coarsely chop them, set aside.
In another small heat proof bowl, cover dried scallops with hot/boiling water and soak until soften, about 30 minutes. Reserve soaking water and drain the scallops. Break the scallops apart to small strains, set aside.
Wash and rinse the dried mushrooms. Place them in a medium heat proof bowl and cover with hot/boiling water and soak until soften, about 1 hour. Drain and finely diced them. Discard the soaking water.
In a large mixing bowl or measuring cup, whisk 4 cups of warm water, the chicken bouillon powder, rice flour, wheat starch, white pepper and sesame oil together until mixture is smooth and no lumps of flour. Set aside.
In a large non-stick wok or pan, heat wok over high heat with no oil. Sauté the Chinese sausage and Chinese bacon for 1 minute, or until slightly brown and fragrant. Then, add the dried shrimps and mushrooms. Cook for another minutes and remove to a large bowl, set aside.
In the same wok/pan, add 1 tablespoon of oil, sauté the turnips for 5 minutes. Then add the reserved soaking water from the dried shrimp and dried scallops, about 1/2 cup total. Stir occasionally until turnips turn translucent and tender.
Then, add the sautéed sausage, bacon, mushroom, scallops and dried shrimp into the turnips (you can reserve a few tablespoons of the sausage/mushroom mixture for garnish, but optional). Stir until well mixed. Add the flour mixture into the wok and cook until batter is slightly thickened, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Evenly divided the batter into 3 loaf pans (top with the reserved sausage mixture, optional). Steam over medium high heat for 60 to 70 minutes, or until the turnip cakes are cooked through. To check the done-ness, insert a long skewer into the middle of the cake, if the skewer comes out clean without any batter, it’s done.
Cool the turnip cakes completely on a wiring rack before covering and storing in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, turn the turnip cakes out from the loaf pan, cut into 3/4-inch thick slices and pan fry them with a little vegetable oil until golden brown on the edges. Serve with your favorite chili oil or Hoisin Sauce.