Turnip Cake is a staple in dim sum restaurants but you can make it at home with this Turnip Cake recipe!
So why is it called “turnip cake” even though it doesn’t use turnips at all? It’s a case of mistranslation! It should really be called “radish cake”. Traditionally, it is called “Lo Bak Go” in Chinese, “lo bak” meaning radish or turnip.
The main ingredient of any Turnip Cake recipe is shredded Chinese radish.
It is also commonly eaten during Chinese New Year since the word for radish is a homophone for “good fortune”.
This savoury cake makes a great breakfast and as mentioned before, this dish is enjoyed at many dim sum restaurants.
You can eat it as it is or you can refry it on a pan to make the outside extra crispy. Dipping sauces like soy sauce are commonly used as well. Some people might even refry it in a generous egg batter to really make things fancy!
Authentic Turnip Cake requires hard work and time, but it’s definitely worth it! If you enjoy this recipe, you should try our Pumpkin Cake recipe.
Turnip Cake Recipe
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
- A medium daikon radish (about 20 oz., grated)
- 1 to 1 ½ cups water
- 1 tbsp dried shrimp
- 1 Chinese sausage
- 1 scallion
- 3-5 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 1 ¼ cups rice flour
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp sugar
- Vegetable oil
- White pepper (to taste)
- Oyster sauce or soy sauce and vinegar (for dipping, optional)
- 4 eggs (optional)
- Begin by washing and soaking the dried shrimp and mushrooms in some warm water. Let them soak for about 1 hour until they become soft and then dice.
- Dice your Chinese sausage as well. Your sausage, shrimp and mushroom pieces should all be roughly the same size.
- Chop the scallion into thin slices. Set all the chopped ingredients aside.
- Wash and peel your daikon radish. Then shred it using a grater with medium-sized holes.
- Add the grated radish and 1 cup water to a wok or large pan and bring to a simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so the radish does not brown. The radish will produce some liquid as you simmer it.
- After you have simmered the radish for 10 minutes, scoop it out in a large mixing bowl and allow it to cool. Pour any remaining liquid from the pan into a measuring cup. Top the measuring cup with water until you have a total of 1 cup of liquid
- Add the liquid to the mixing bowl with the cooled radish.
- Clean your wok or pan and place it over medium heat. Add a couple of tablespoons oil.
- When the oil is heated, add the shrimp, mushrooms, and sausage and stir-fry for about 5 minutes. Stir in the chopped scallion and remove from the heat to cool.
- Add rice flour, cornstarch, salt, sugar, and white pepper to the mixing bowl with the radish and cooking liquid. Mix well until the dry ingredients are well-incorporated.
- Add in the cooked shrimp, mushrooms and sausage into the mixing bowl as well, and be sure to scrape the oil from the pan into the batter. Mix well and let sit for 15 minutes.
- Give the batter a final stir, and pour it into a well-greased loaf pan. Place the pan into a steamer with plenty of water and steam over medium-high heat for 50 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the steamer and let your turnip cake set for about 30 minutes.
- Once cooled, loosen the sides with a spatula and turn it out onto a cutting board. It should come out quite easily.
- Use a sharp knife dipped in water to slice ½-inch thick pieces. The water will help prevent the Turnip Cake from sticking as you cut.
- They are ready to serve! If you wish to enjoy them refried, follow the steps below.
Frying the Turnip Cake
- Whisk the eggs in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
- Add a couple of tablespoons oil to a non-stick or pan over medium heat. Dip each piece in the whisked egg before placing it in the pan, then fry the cakes on both sides until golden and crispy.
- Serve with oyster sauce or soy sauce mixed with vinegar. Enjoy!