Turnip Cake

I am rather proud of myself today; with organizing some items to take to the local thrift store, with our heater broken since last night, still feeling sluggish from my residual cold (although I am suspecting I may have an infection), and the bathroom renovation going on I wasn’t sure if I was able to make this turnip cake.  I made turnip cake few years ago, but somehow the recipe wasn’t quite what I wanted, and I really wanted to make this turnip cake from Yi Reservation.  Even though Koreans follow the Lunar Calender and thus celebrate the lunar New Year, growing up in Japan I always observed the regular new years.  When I came upon Yi Reservation’s blog I was really impressed by so many different recipes of regional Chinese cooking.   Then I saw Yi’s turnip cake and I had to make this! I’m so glad I was able to make this in time for Chinese New Year and we really enjoyed eating this!

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Makes 2-9inch loaves

**I made few changes since one of my daughter is allergic to shrimp and the other one doesn’t care much for shrimp.  Please check the original recipe if you want shrimp!  To supplement the lack of shrimp and wanting to add some color, I grated carrots and added chopped green onions.  Also, similar to Yi’s recipe, I omitted Chinese sausage and used ground pork instead. 

1 lb Plain rice flour (not to be confused with glutinous rice flour)
6 lb Fresh long radish (aka daikon/turnip)
6 Dry shiitake mushroom
1 large carrot, grated
1 lb ground pork
3/4 tbsp + 2 tsp Salt
½ tbsp + 1 tsp White pepper powder
1 tbsp Soy sauce
1 tbsp cooking wine

**I added 3-4 finely chopped green onions

I  used Shao Hsing Cooking Wine (which I think has deeper flavor than the regular cooking wine).

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Make sure you don’t confuse the rice flour with the sweet rice flour (which is glutinous).  You want to get the plain rice flour.

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1. Soak shiitake mushrooms for at least two hours until all softened. Clean and drain well.

2. Chop shiitake mushroom and set aside. Peel the radish & carrot skin.

3. Use a Mandolin or an electric shredder to shred the radish into the size of matches. Grate the carrot also.   I used my food processor so I’m thankful this saved me some time!

4. In a large skillet or wok, combine the radish, 2 tsp of salt, and enough water to cover. Boil in medium heat until boils. About 15 minutes. Drain off most of the liquid from the radish and save about 2 cups of the liquid for later use.

5. In a oiled pan, combine the pork, carrot,  shiitake mushroom, soy sauce, cooking wine, and 1 tsp of white pepper powder. Stir fry until the pork is cooked. About 4 minutes.

6. In a large mixing bowl, combine the rice flour, radish, and cooked ingredients. Also add 1 tbsp of salt and ½ tbsp of white pepper. Stir with a spatula to mix.

7. Gradually add saved liquid to the mix while you stir. Depending on how well you drained your radish you’ll need about ½ – 1 cup of liquid to make a thick batter  such it will not fall off your spatula. Try to avoid putting too much liquid in there.  If you’re adding green onions, add them here and fold them into the mixture.

8. Fill a 9-inch loaf pan with the batter. Steam the batter with lid on for 40 minutes over medium high heat.

9. Once it’s done steaming, cool it down to room temperature. It can be served now but more commonly it is sliced to 1 inch thick pieces and pan fried to gold brown on both sides. As Yi has suggested, I ate this with hoisin and sriracha (so delicious!).

Turnip Cake

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Luckily I have 2 huge steamer pots, but if you don’t have a big steamer pot like the ones above you can cut this recipe into half and use the mini-loaf pans.

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After cooling the cake inside the pan for a little bit, invert the cake and let it cool down.

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Slice them.

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Pan fry on both sides until golden!

My opinion: Yum, yum, and mega yum!!  This was well worth the effort!  I only cooked 1/4 of the cake; I gave some to my mom and I wrapped the rest with the foil and put in the refrigerator.  I’m sure I’ll pan fry more tomorrow 🙂   I enjoyed eating this without the sauce and with the sauce; seriously, it’s one of those things where you come out as a winner which ever way you eat this!

Please check Yi’s turnip cake post, his photos are so nice and looks more authentic!

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