Thursday, February 7, 2013

Savoury Turnip Cake (Daikon) Dim Sum Style (Part 1: Steaming)

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This recipe is to make a savoury Turnip Cake in the Dim Sum Style.  Pronounced in Cantonese it is "lor bak gou"(蘿蔔糕) .  The first part here that I'll be teaching is to make a large portion that can be stored in the refrigerator.  When you decide to serve it you only need to slice however large a portion and heat up that amount.  For the perfect brunch meal at home that's simple and quick, having some Turnip Cake will definitely be the key!

The basis for this recipe is mainly Rice Flour and Daikon.  To be honest I'm confused at this point because I've seen the labels at the grocery store for Daikon Radish, but others refer to this vegetable as a turnip.  Perhaps one of my readers can shed some light on this.  For the rest of this recipe I will refer to the turnip as Daikon though.  The other ingredients such as Chinese pork sausage, dried prawns, and mushrooms serve to bring some colour into the dish, making it visually appealing.

Gather the following ingredients:

  • One 400g bag of rice flour.  Look for "粘米粉" on the label to make sure it's the correct type of rice flour.
  • 3 medium sized Daikon (or 2 large ones)
  • Several links of Chinese pork sausage
  • Several Shiitake mushrooms
  • A small amount of dried prawns
  • A couple shallots
Notice that my ingredients here are very approximate, because there is no set amount to use, simply because it's not necessary to be exact.

To make the Savoury Turnip Cake:

  1. Peel the Daikon and using a cheese grater, grate the Daikon on the largest holes.
  2. Place the shredded Daikon in a large pot.  Add 1 cup of water, 1 teaspoon of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of salt, then boil on high heat for 5-10 minutes.  This will soften up the Daikon.  Let it cool down for 10 minutes afterwards.  The Daikon has a very strong smell at this point, so I like to have the kitchen fan hood turned on the highest speed.
  3. Dice the Chinese pork sausage, Shiitake mushrooms, dried prawns, and shallots.  Add these ingredients to a pan and panfry them until about cooked.
  4. Once the boiled Daikon has cooled, add the rice flour little by little.  If the boiled Daikon is too hot, it will cook the rice flour immediately and will lead to clumping.  The whole bag of rice flour doesn't need to be used.  You only need to add enough to so that it's slightly more viscous than muffin batter would be.  The key is that it should not be runny at all, so if your mixture is runny when you tilt the pot, add more rice flour!
  5. Once your Daikon has been mixed with the rice flour to a smooth consistency, add in the cooked ingredients from the pan and mix evenly.
  6. Oil a casserole dish that is about 2-3 inches deep.  Scoop the Daikon and fill the dish 70% full to the top.  Put some oil on your hand and lightly pat down the top to make a smooth texture.
  7. Prepare a double boiler and steam for 1 hour.  You will know the Daikon Cake is fully cooked when a wooden chopstick inserted into the middle comes out clean, and no Daikon Cake sticks to it.
  8. Remove the Daikon Cake once it's cooked.  You may sprinkle some sesame seeds on top at this point if you want.  Now let the Daikon Cake cool down.  You may leave it overnight, but whatever you do, do NOT attempt to dump it out of the casserole dish until it has fully cooled.
  9. Once cooled, you may dump out the Daikon Cake and store it in the refrigerator for a future meal.
Notice that this recipe is in fact very similar to the Savoury Taro Cake.  Turnip Cake tends to be softer in texture and accompanies Plain Congee very well.


  1. My colleague made this at home and brought some in for me to try - LOVED it so will definitely be using your recipe to try it at home!

    1. I'm glad to hear that Laura! Let us all know how it turns out!