Friday, November 28, 2008

Chinese Turnip Cake

Adapted from: Appetite for China
Made by: Cathy

Turnip cake (law bok gow) is one of my favorite things to get when I go for dim sum. My mom has always made a variation with taro, but never with the white turnip (daikon). My aunt always made it for Chinese New Year every year, but I never attempted to make it myself.

I also had a couple of bags of white rice flour from Gary's gluten free days. I needed a recipe to use up the flour, so this recipe was perfect.

3 1/4 cups rice flour
8 dried shiitake mushrooms
1/2 cup Chinese dried shrimp
3 Chinese sausages
1 large Chinese white turnip, about 2 pounds
3 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
2 teaspoons Shao Hsing rice cooking wine
2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt

1.In a large heatproof bowl, combine rice flour and 2 cups of water. Mix well until the mixture is smooth and velvety, and set aside.

2. In a small bowl, soak shiitake mushrooms in about 1/2 cup of cold water for 30 minutes to soften. In a separate small bowl, do the same with the dried shrimp.

3. Meanwhile, bring water to boil in a small pot. Place Chinese sausage in the pot and cook for 3 to 4 minutes to soften. Remove from heat and pat to dry. Peel off the skin of the sausage. Finely chop and set aside.

4. Once the shiitakes are done soaking, remove from water, squeeze out excess water, finely chop, and set aside. Remove shrimp from water, finely chop, and set aside.

5. Peel the turnip, and cut into 1/2 inch thick slices. Then cut slices into strips about 2 inches long. Set aside.

6. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a wok. Add shrimp and mushrooms and cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the cooking wine and soy sauce and stir until the shrimp and mushrooms are well-coated. Add the Chinese sausage, cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, then remove from heat and set aside.

7. In the same wok, toss in the turnip strips and stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes, adding a bit more cooking oil if necessary. Then pour in 1 cup water, cover the wok, and let the turnip steam for 10 to 15 minutes until just cooked. Drain the liquid from the turnips. Pour the hot turnips into the bowl with the rice flour mixture and mix thoroughly, until the turnips are well-incorporated into the mixture. Add the sausage, shrimp, mushrooms, and salt. Stir until evenly distributed. Pour the resulting mixture into a round 10-inch cake pan and smooth out the top.

8. Steaming: Bring water to boil in a large steamer big enough to fit the cake pan. (Unless your pan is part of a metal steamer set, in which case the pan should fit right in.) Carefully place the pan into the steamer, cover, reduce heat to medium-low. Steam 1 hour, or just until cake is set and is firm to the touch. Check the water level regularly and replenish, if necessary, with boiling water. Carefully remove the pan from the steamer and allow to cool on a rack for about 1 hour.

When cooled, run a knife along the edge of the cake to loosen sides. Invert to unmold and flip the cake right-side up onto a cutting board. You can serve the turnip cake as-is and sliced, or wrap the cake in plastic and refrigerate until ready to stir-fry.

To slice: Instead of cutting into wedges, slice the cake into rectangles 1 inch thick strips, then again into 3 inch long rectangles.

To stir-fry: Heat a medium to large skillet over medium heat. Add enough oil to barely cover the bottom and fry the cake in batches, about 3 to 5 minutes per side until golden brown. Serve immediately plain or with oyster sauce, soy sauce, or chili sauce.

I didn't have a 10" pan, so I steamed it in my 8x8 glass pan. I also steamed it in my wok. That's how I always steam my food. My mom has done the same thing for years.

Instead of oil, I sprayed the pan and pan fried that way. It tastes better after frying. I made this as one of the dishes for Thanksgiving this year. It was great. I tastes a lot like the ones we get at the restaurants. We like to dip it in oyster sauce.

1 comment :

  1. I think essentially Cathy has grasped the essence of the Cantonese version, there is no fixed version on ingredients but lots of varieties, I think the only point she did not mention is that actually a lot of professioanl cooks would also add corn flour/potato starch/ etc to balance out the soggy softness of 100% rice flour.



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