Turnip Cake (lo bak go) Recipe
3 cups lightly packed coarsely shredded daikon radish (white turnip)
1 Chinese sausage (lap cheong) finely diced (omit for a vegan option)
2 tbsp finely diced Chinese dried shrimp (omit for a vegetarian or vegan option)
1/2 cup dried shitake mushrooms, soaked in cold water for at least 2 hours; remove stems and dice finely
2 stalks green onions, green and light green parts finely sliced
2 cups rice flour (Not glutinous rice flour)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
3 cups water
1 tbsp vegetable oil
sweet soy sauce (Chinese rock sugar and soy sauce to taste, heated gently until the sugar dissolves and then cooled completely)
Place the shredded radish and water in a pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Then reduce the heat to low and maintain a simmer for 15 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Place the radish (reserve the cooking liquid) in a large measuring cup. Top it off to 3 cups with the remaining cooking liquid. Set aside and allow to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the lap cheong, mushrooms, and dried shrimp. Stir fry for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Then remove from heat.
Prepare the steamer and bring the water to rolling boil. (Here are detailed instructions for how to steam cook food.) In a large bowl mix together the rice flour, salt, sugar, and white pepper. Add the radish and cooking water and stir until well combined. You will have a batter that should not be watery or too thick. You can adjust the rice flour and water here to reach the desired consistency. The more rice flour, the more dense the turnip cake will be. Add the lap cheong, dried shrimp, mushrooms, and green onions to the batter and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into a lightly greased 9 inch round glass dish or cake pan. (Note: I’ve also seen people use loaf pans. This allows you to control the thickness of your slices and gives you perfectly even pieces of turnip cake. If you use a loaf pan, increase the steaming time.) Place the dish into the steamer, and steam for 30 – 40 minutes. The turnip cake will be done when an inserted toothpick comes out clean from the centre. Also, the turnip cake will be very hot to the touch. Do not overcook. Remove the turnip cake from the steamer, place the dish on a wire rack and let cool before cutting into slices. I like to serve this warm after steaming with sweet soy sauce. Alternatively, you could pan fry these slices in oil in a skillet and serve hot with sweet soy sauce. Slices of turnip cake can be frozen and reheated in a steamer or in the microwave after being defrosted in the fridge.