Vegan Turnip Cake (Cantonese Lo Bak Go)
How time flies. It has been a year and I presume I still be unable to see my families in the coming Chinese New Year. After The New Year, some might start to prepare for this festival. My vegetarian friends urged me to write recipe of vegan turnip cake. Traditionally turnip cake is made with turnip, rice flour, dried shiitake mushroom, Cantonese sausage, and dried shrimp or scallop. Such steamed cake is my favourite Nian-gao. In this recipe, I would use a lot of shallot, stir-fry them with plenty of oil to boost the flavour. Also, adding a little carrot would make the cake prettier.
What is Cantonese Turnip Cake / Lo-bak-go
The pronunciation of ‘lo-bak-go’ is in Cantonese. Turnip/daikon/bai-luo-bo can be obtained anytime in recent years but it’s winter vegetable, particually juicy and sweet in wintertime. Turnip cake is one of the most traditional Cantonese dim-sum that can be obtained in most dim-sum house or breakfast bistro. During Chinese New Year, turnip cake is the savoury ‘nian-gao’ that Cantonese commonly prepare. My late grandpa liked it so much, especially during his last days, this was among the few he was able to chew and swallow. I couldn’t stop missing him every time when making the cake.
I love to make turnip cake in winter and have experienced and improved the recipe. Friends and followers also practiced and gave me suggestions. Once you follow the recipe, you could also make perfect turnip cake just like those in dim-sum house. It’s a detailed recipe but not complicated at all. The proportion of turnip, rice flour and liquid are carefully measured. You could increase more flour or reduce the liquid to make the cake firmer.
Steamed turnip cake is made with rice four only, not adding any glutinous rice flour, like many other types of Chinese ‘nian-gao’. I tried mixing some glutinous rice flour, say 50g, with 150g of rice flour, to add a little chewiness. You might also play with the ingredients once you master the technique.
- Turnip/Chinese white radish/daikon, peeled, 700g
- Rice flour, 200g
- Dried shiitake mushroom, 50g
- Shallot, 150g
- Carrot, 50g
- Vegetable oil, such as olive oil, grape seed oil, 5tbsp
For non-vegetarian, I strongly suggest to add Cantonese sausage and dried shrimp. 2 Cantonese sausages and 2tbsp of dried mini shrimp, thinly sliced, also stir-fry them till fragrant, then mix them with other ingredients.
How to do –
- Let’s prepare the ingredients. Dry shiitake mushroom soaked in water overnight or half a day till soft, change the water once or twice, cut off the stem, thinly diced, also keep the infused water; carrot and shallot thinly shredded;
- Turnip peeled. You need the taste of turnip also to keep the texture. So half grated, the other half cut into matchsticks. Squeeze the grated turnip but make sure you keep the juice. All together, there is about 500g of turnip;
3. To make the batter, I would mix 200g of rice flour with the turnip juice and mushroom infused water, about 320ml liquid, no more than. If you use measuring cup, about 2 cups of flour with a little less than 2 cups of liquid. Season the batter with half teaspoon of sugar and salt;
4. To cook the ingredients, I would use a big non-stick skillet. In high heat, heat 5tbsp of oil, stir-fry shallot till golden and fragrant; add in mushroom, also stir-fry till fragrant, seasoned with half tsp of salt; put in carrot and turnip, stir-fry and mix well;
5. Make sure you mix the batter again before you adding it in the skillet otherwise the flour would sink. Pour the batter in, and you could turn off the heat. If you use such a big skillet, you would find the bottom part batter is cooked immediately, keep stirring and mixing, the batter should be set. If you don’t have a big skillet, turn down the heat, keep mixing and stirring till the batter isn’t runny and the mixture is set;
This step is the most important in making such steamed cake. Uncooked rice flour batter isn’t thick enough to hold the other ingredients evenly. Moreover, it takes lesser time steaming afterward.
6. Line the cake mould with a thin layer of oil and spoon in the mixture, press firmly. I love to use these Ikea glass food containers when making steamed cake or jelly. They are in proper shape and right size. I can keep them in fridge or give it to families and friends right away with lid on. Such amount of ingredients can fit 2 containers;
7. Steam the cake in high heat for about 30 minutes depends on the size of your steamer and the cake. Check the cake with a chopstick, poke it in the middle of the cake, it’s fully cooked once it turns out clean without white batter. Make sure you wrap the steamer lid with cotton kitchen cloth;
8. Sometimes I would steam an extra one in a small bowl and have it right away after steaming. But usually, the cake should be kept in fridge overnight for a firmer texture so as to be cut easily. Pan-fry the sliced cake in medium heat till golden and serve with garlic chili sauce, sriracha or simply soy sauce.
- 白萝卜 去皮后约700克
- 粘米粉 200克
- 干花菇 50克
- 红葱头 150克
- 胡萝卜 50克
- 糖 适量
- 盐 适量
- 备料 – 干菇泡水一夜，中途换一两次水，头两次水倒掉，最后一次泡香菇的水留用；加一点胡萝卜颜色好看一点；花菇切丁，胡萝卜切丝，红葱头切丝；
- 这时候来炒料。 用一个大尺寸的不沾平底锅，待会炒粉浆的时候会很快。这个菜谱没有腊肠的油脂香，所以炒料的时候放多一点油。热锅放5汤匙橄榄油或其他植物油，放红葱头炒至金黄；放香菇炒香，加半茶匙盐调味；放胡萝卜丝翻炒均匀；放萝卜，继续用大火炒，混合均匀；
- 刚蒸好的萝卜糕可以马上吃，但是不好切。我一般会提前一晚做好，放冰箱冰一晚，第二天早餐吃，用薄硅胶刮刀沿玻璃盒边刮一圈，萝卜糕很容易就脱模了，切成自己喜欢的大小, 用中火煎至两面金黄，撒点葱末，我喜欢配蒜蓉辣椒酱、辣豆瓣酱、是拉差吃。
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