Turnip Cake

Turnip (Daikon) Cake

Turnip (daikon) cake, also known as law bok gow, is a very popular dish in dim sum, a style of Chinese cuisine. Though it is commonly referred to as "turnip" cake, it is actually composed of Chinese white radish or daikon.
∙ 1 lb. Chinese white radish, also known as a daikon
∙ 3 ¼ cups of rice flour
∙ 2 links of Old Neighborhood Sweet Chinese Sausage
∙ 3 oz. of dried shrimp
∙ 10 dried shiitake mushrooms
∙ Soy sauce
∙ 2 teaspoons of rice cooking wine (mirin is fine)
∙ 1 teaspoon salt
∙ Olive oil
A slightly longer version can be found here, along with some pictures that highlight key steps.
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the rice flour and 2 cups of water. Mix well until the mixture is smooth, and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, soak the mushrooms in cold water for about 15 minutes so they can soften. In a separate small bowl, do the same with the dried shrimp.
  3. A good thing about Old Neighborhood Sweet Chinese Sausage is that the product is already fully cooked. This shaves a few minutes in the prep work! Take the two links and chop them into small pieces. Set aside.
  4. Remove the shiitake mushrooms from the bowl and squeeze out the excess water. Remove and discard the stems. Finely chop the caps and set aside.
  5. Clean and peel the daikon. With a mandolin, slice the daikon into 1 cm thick slices. Then cut each slice into 1 cm thick strips. Set the strips aside.
  6. Remove the shrimp from the bowl of water. (Optional) Finely chop the shrimp.
  7. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a skillet, or preferably a wok. Add the mushrooms and shrimp. Cook for about 3 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons of soy sauce and the cooking wine and stir until they are well-coated. Add the sausage and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  8. In another skillet or pan, heat 3 tablespoons of oil. Toss in the daikon strips and stir-fry for about 3 minutes. Pour in 1 cup of water, cover the pan, and steam the daikon for about 5 minutes until just cooked.
  9. Now take the hot daikon, pour them into the large mixing bowl containing the rice flour mixture, and mix thoroughly. Once the daikon is well-incorporated, add the mushroom, shrimp, sausage, and salt. Mix thoroughly again.
  10. Pour the mixture into a pan (or pans) that will fit into a steamer, pot, or wok. One 10 inch pan or two 5 inch pans will be enough to hold the mixture.
  11. In a pot, wok, or steamer that can hold your pan(s), bring water to a boil. Carefully place the pan(s) into the pot, cover, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Steam for 1 hour, or until the cake is firm to the touch. Check the water level regularly, and replenish with boiling water, if necessary.  Remove the cake from the heat and let it cool for about an hour.
  12. When the cake is cooled, remove it from the pan(s). Slice the cake into 1-inch thick rectangles.
  13. You now have two options:
    • You can serve the cake as-is, in the sliced rectangles, or
    • You can now pan-fry the cake pieces. To pan-fry them, heat a skillet over medium heat. Add oil to barely cover the bottom. Fry the pieces in batches, making sure to get each side golden brown.

Whichever option you chose, you can now serve with oyster sauce, chili sauce, or soy sauce.