Chinese Turnip Cake

Last year our attempt at a Chinese feast for Lunar New Year was a little bit of a flop. I made Lion’s Head Meatballs and just didn’t get it quite right. The meatballs were good, but the broth was very bland and the cabbage was a little unwieldy. We’ll try again one day, but this year, we decided to stick with Chinese traditions, but some different recipes. This turnip cake is mostly based on The Woks of Life‘s recipe, with a few personal tweaks and tidbits gleaned from Grace Young’s recipe and this Serious Eats recipe. (We also made longevity noodles, based off of Eileen Yin-Fei Lo’s recipe with Food & Wine.)

I’ve never had turnip cake before and loved this one! The texture is great with crisp edges and an almost fluffy interior. We went a little heavy on the sausage compared of other recipe, but I wasn’t sad about it. There’s a little sweetness and a nice amount of umami and earthiness. Definitely a step up from our Lunar New Year feast flop last year!

Happy New Year!

Chinese Turnip Cake

(Adapted primarily from The Woks of Life)
  • 20oz daikon radish/Chinese turnip, grated
  • Water
  • 2 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp dried shrimp
  • 2 tbsp neutral oil
  • 4 Chinese sausages, diced
  • 1 scallion, white & light green portion sliced
  • 1 1/4 cup rice flour
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp Shaoxing rice cooking wine
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  1. Add the grated turnip/radish to a wok with 1 cup of water. Simmer for ~10 minutes and then drain. {Clean & dry wok.}
  2. Meanwhile, add the mushrooms and shrimp to two separate small bowls and cover with hot water. Allow to sit and rehydrate for ~30 minutes.
  3. Drain the mushrooms & shrimp, reserving the water in a measuring cup. Drain vs add more water to equal 1 cup of liquid. Add this cup of liquid to the grated radish/turnip.
  4. Take the rehydrated mushroom and shrimp and process in a food processor.
  5. Heat the 2 tbsp oil in the wok over medium heat. Add the mushroom and shrimp combination and sausages to the wok. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 6-8 minutes. Add the scallion and cook another 1-2 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, add the remaining ingredients (rice flour through white pepper) to the bowl with the radish/turnip. Stir to combine well.
  7. Add the contents of the wok and mix thoroughly. Pour the mixture into a well-oiled loaf pan.
  8. Place pan in a steamer (see alternative suggestions if you don’t have a steamer) at an aggressive simmer for 50-60 minutes.
  9. Remove, allow to cool, and then refrigerate covered for 3+ hours (we did overnight).
  10. Slide a knife along the edges of the pan and invert over a cutting board to remove the cake. Slice ~1/2 inch thick and pan-fry over medium heat for 3-5 minutes on each side, until browned.
  11. Serve with oyster sauce, a sweet soy dipping sauce, or whatever else you want!

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