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Turnip Cake

from "Dim Sum" by Ellen Leong Blonder


  • 1 tsp. small dried shrimp (optional)
  • 12 ounce (340 grams) Chinese radish, (or Korean radish which is not hot) pared and coarsely shredded (about 2 1/2 cups, lightly packed)
  • 2 tsp. vegetable oil, plus additional for pan-frying
  • 1/2 Chinese sausage, finely diced
  • 1 scallion ( both white and green parts) or green onion, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 3/4 cups rice flour (not glutinous)
  • 1 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. ground white pepperPreston


  1. If using the dried shrimp, put them in a small bowl and cover them with hot water. Let them stand for 15~30 minutes to soften. Drain. Mince the shrimp.
  2. Put the shredded Chinese radish in a saucepan with 1 1/2 cups (335cc) water. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 15 minutes, or until tender. Remove the mixture from the heat.
  3. Measure the radish with its cooking water and add enough water to make 3 cups (700 grams). Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and cool to lukewarm.
  4. Heat a skillet; then add the 2 teaspoons of oil. When it is almost smoking, stir-fry the Chinese sausage, scallion, and dried shrimp for 1 minute. Stir in the cilantro and remove the mixture from the heat. Set it aside.
  5. Mix the rice flour, salt, sugar and white pepper. Add the mixture to the radish and its cooking water , and stir to make a thick batter. Stir in the Chinese sausage mixture.
  6. Oil a 9-inch round cake pan or a bowl which is large enough to hold all the mixture and small enough to fit in bamboo steamer. Pour the mixture into thepan. Set up a steamer and bring the water to a boil. Steam the turnip cake for 40 minutes over high heat, replenishing the wa ter in the pot as necessary.
  7. Remove the turnirp cake from the steamer and allow it to cool to room temperature. (The turnip cake may be covered and refrigerated up to 2 days ahead at this point)
  8. Cut into diamonds or squares.
  9. Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil. When it is almost smoking, pan-fry several pieces of turnip cake for about 3 minutes or until browned. Turn to brown the other side. Add oil to the pan as necessary. Serve hot with hot chili sauce.

This recipe is from "Dim Sum: The Art of Chinese Tea Lunch" by Ellen Leong Blonder. She provides 60 recipes, from siu mai to egg custard tarts, all illustrated by her own lovely watercolors. Every recipe I have tried turned out successful.

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