This Turnip Cake / Lo Bak Go post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclaimer.
The Chinese turnip cake, we sometimes called radish cake, or lo bak go (萝卜糕) in Cantonese is a typical dim sum dish served in Chinese dim sum restaurants. This delicious savoury cake can be served steamed or pan fried and crrispy. This recipe makes both versions. First you steam the turnip cake which can be served as is and it tastes perfect with sweet soy sauce or chilli sauce. Then cut it to an inch thickness and pan fried it till crispy and served with chilli sauce. Either way, both versions are super delicious.
I love making my own turnip cake at home, I can add as many of my favourite ingredients as I like it, that means more turnip, more Chinese sausage. The commercial ones you get from restaurants are usually full of flour and you get very little of the key ingredients, especially turnip. While it can be laborious to make, it’s really worth the effort and time as you get the real deal out of this homemade turnip cake.
What are the ingredients for Chinese Turnip Cake
- Chinese turnip (萝卜) or sometimes termed as daikon in supermarkets is the key ingredient in this recipe. It’s a whitish long root vegetable with a green leafy top, as you can see from the picture below. It’s quite solid heavy, an indication of high water content and its freshness. I used about 700g in this recipe and you can use a slightly bigger or smaller one.
- Chinese sausage or lap cheong (腊肠) in Cantonese lends some smokiness, and sweet savoury bites to the turnip cake. I used two in this recipe and my mummy thinks it’s too sweet and a tad too much. But feel free to reduce it to using only one or one half. I do enjoy the tiny bites embedded in the lo bak go though.
- Dried shiitake mushrooms and dried shrimps are typical Asian dried goods you can easily get from supermarkets or Asian grocery stores. Be sure to hydrate them in water for 15-30 minutes until they softened.
- Shallots are the only aromatics in this recipe that’s sauted together with the dried mushrooms and shrimps.
- Rice flour and corn starch are the ‘glue’ that gels the turnip and other ingredients together. Do not confuse this with glutinous rice flour. Rice flour is a gluten-free flour substitute for baking and it’s fundamentally different from glutinous rice flour, the latter produces a chewy stretchy texture, like mochi.
- Seasonings for the dish includes soy sauce, oyster sauce, white pepper powder, sesame oil, all the usual suspects in making Chinese dishes.
- Finally garnish with spring onion, chilli, and fried shallots.
Watch how to make Chinese Turnip Cake on YouTube
Pin now, make later
Turnip Cake / Lo Bak Go / 萝卜糕 (Steamed or Pan Fried)
- Remove the skin of 2 Chinese sausages by using a knife and slice off the side, then peel off the skin.Then dice the sausages finely.2 Chinese sausages
- Soak 5 dried shiitake mushrooms for about 15 minutes or until softened.Drain off the water and squeeze dry the dried shrimps.Mince the dried shrimps finely. Note: Save the water to use later.2 tbsp dried shrimps
- Soak 5 dried shiitake mushrooms for about 30 minutes or until softened.Drain off the water and squeeze dry the mushrooms.Remove the stems of the mushrooms and mince coarsely.Note: Save the water to use later.5 dried shiitake mushrooms
- Combine the dried shrimps water and mushroom water. Sieve off the solid bits.
- Peel and mince 5 shallots finely.Wash and slice the green part of 1 spring onion, to use as garnish.Wash and slice 1 red chilli, to use as garnish.5 shallots, 1 spring onion, 1 red chilli
- Chop off the head and tail of 700 g white radish. Peel the skin with a vegetable peeler. Cut the radish into thick pieces.Grate the radish using a food processor or manually with a hand grater.700 g white radish
- In a pot over medium heat, boil the grated radish in the shrimps and mushrooms water.Once boiled, reduce to simmer for about 5 minutes until the radish is wilted. Then turn off the heat.Drain off the radish liquid and squeeze the radish as dry as possible. Let the radish liquid cool down for later use.
- Mix 160 g rice flour, 40 g corn starch, and 300ml of the turnip water (flour to liquid ratio is 2:3) until well incorporated with no signs of flour.160 g rice flour, 40 g corn starch
- In a wok or big pan over medium-low heat, warm 1.5 tbsp vegetable oil. Add the chopped Chinese sausage and fry until slightly crispy.Add chopped shallots, dried shrimps, and mushrooms, and saute until aromatic.. Add more vegetable oil if it's too dry.1.5 tbsp vegetable oil
- Turn off heat. Add boiled turnip, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp oyster sauce, 0.5 tsp white pepper powder.1 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp oyster sauce, 1 tsp sesame oil, 0.5 tsp white pepper powder
- Mix well until the turnip is coated with the seasonings evenly.Do a taste test and adjust the seasonings if needed.
- Gradually add the flour mixture into the turnip mixture and mix well. Make sure there are no lumps. Then turn on low heat. Stir constantly until the mixture becomes thicker with no signs of liquid. Then turn off the heat.
- Grease a cake tin or glass dish with some vegetable oil.Note: I used an 8-inch cake tin.
- Pour in the turnip mixture and level the top with a spatula.
- Boil water in a steamer pot.Once boiled, place the turnip cake tin into the steamer, covered with aluminium foil.Steam over medium-low heat for 40- 50 min. To test if the turnip cake is ready, test with a stick inserted into the middle of the cake, if it comes out clean without wet batter, it’s done.Remove from steamer.
- Let it cool completely inside the container.Once cooled, run a spatula around the sides of the cake tin. place a plate over the cake tin. Flip the cake tin with the plate upside down. The radish cake should unmould easily from the cake tin.
- Garnish with spring onion, chilli, and 3-4 tbsp fried shallots.1 red chilli, 1 spring onion, 3-4 tbsp fried shallots
- Serve as is, with Chilli sauce or Sweet soy sauce. Best served on the same day.Sweet soy sauce, Chilli sauce
- For pan fried crispy turnip cake, cut the lo bak go into slices of about 1-inch thick. Warm some 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium heat.Pan fry the turnip cake until both sides turn golden brown and crispy.1 tbsp vegetable oil
- Garnish the crispy turnip cake with spring onions.Serve with Chilli sauce or Sweet soy sauce. Best served on the same day.Sweet soy sauce, Chilli sauce
This post was shared with Fiesta Friday.