You can easily find this delicious savory cake served in Chinese restaurants throughout the year. But there’s also a custom to eat this cake on New Year's Day as a symbol of prosperity and rising fortunes. That’s a popular way of thinking in Chinese community anyway.
- 1 kg Chinese white turnip (daikon)
- 170 gm rice flour
- 4 Tbsp wheat starch
- 40 gm Chinese sausage (臘腸)
- 45 gm Chinese bacon (臘肉)
- 55 gm Chinese dried shrimps
- 60 gm salted radish
- 2 shallots, minced
- 3/4 cup unsalted chicken broth
- pinch of white pepper
- Blanch Chinese sausage and Chinese bacon in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes for cleaning and easy chopping. Drain well and finely diced. Peel the turnip and grate into thick strips. Soak and rinse dried shrimps. Coarsely chop them (if you buy smaller ones, you don’t need to chop them then.) Soak salted radish, rinse well and finely chop.
- In a big bow, mix the rice flour with wheat flour well.
- Add 2 tablespoons of oil in a non-stick wok, sauté Chinese sausage and Chinese bacon dices over medium heat. Toss in dried shrimps and salted radish, continue to sauté until aromatic (see picture 1). Set aside.
- Add another 2 tablespoons of oil, sauté minced shallots. Add grated turnips. Sprinkle white pepper to taste. Pour in chicken broth, bring to a boil, cover and cook until tender and translucent (see picture 2). Remove from heat. Add rice flour and wheat starch, quickly combine all ingredients into a thick batter (see picture 3). Toss in sausages, bacons and shrimps and mix well (see picture 4).
- Pour the mixture into a greased tray, 8-inch round. Steam over high heat with cover, about 45 to 60 minutes. Check the water level and replenish, if necessary, with boiling water. Insert a chopstick into the middle part. If it comes out clean, the cake is cooked through. Let cool and refrigerate with cover for 4 hours.
- Cut into pieces, fry both sides until golden brown. Serve hot, accompanying with chili sauce or with soy sauce. Yummy!
- As for preparing Chinese bacon, I used to remove the layer of fat under the rind.
- The Chinese bacon and sausage would be much easier to chop when they are hot.
- When cooking turnip, some water would come out. This recipe calls for 3/4 cup of chicken broth. But if you find the turnip is too dry while cooking, you need to add some water into it. The principle is to make the batter thick but not too dry. If you can stir the batter without using any force, the cake would be just right after steaming. Practice makes things perfect anyway.
Tips on buying turnips:
- Choose the heavy one. That means the turnip consists more water inside.
- The skin of turnip should be thin and translucent. It’s a young one.
- If you don’t cook the turnip on the day you buy, trim off the green stem on top. It can be kept for a few days more without growing old and sturdy.