Turnip Cake (蘿蔔糕 Lo Bak Go)

Radish Cake

Chinese New Year is just around the corner and the first thing that comes to my mind is: radish cake 蘿蔔糕. Radish cake aka turnip cake aka daikon cake or whatever you call it, is not actually a cake. In fact, it’s a very savory dish consisting of radish, cured meats, dried shrimp that is typically enjoyed during dim sum at Chinese restaurants. It’s a simple dish, with just a few humble ingredients, and it’s perfect to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! 

Chinese New Year

Growing up, excitement for Chinese New Years always preceded a trip to the market in Chinatown to buy all the decorations for Chinese New Year. The flowers, the red decorations, but most of all; a big bag of radishes, waiting to be grated to be made into radish cake. In our household, it was a tradition for us to make a big batch of radish cake to be shared with friends and family, which is why it was somewhat of an unspoken tradition for me and my sisters to help my mom make the radish cake together by grating the radish.

Some of my most poignant memories during Chinese New Year were spent sitting on a little stool, grating the radishes with my sisters, and racing to see who finished first. And that no matter how tired or sore our forearms were, we had to keep grating. Maybe we were tired or maybe food always tasted amazing during your childhood, but that first bite of a freshly pan-fried crispy radish cake will forever be seared into my memory. It’s a tradition that always stuck with me and it’s something I plan to pass onto my own kids. That’s the thing with this dish, it’s not just making food, it’s making a memory. I hope you enjoy this recipe and Happy Chinese New Year everyone!

What Do You Need?

  • Chinese sausage – Lap cheong can be found in most Asian supermarkets such as 99 Ranch. I like using the brand “kam yen jan”.
  • Chinese cured pork belly – Chinese cured pork belly can also be found in Asian supermarkets and the brand I use is “Orchard Sausages Inc.”
  • Dried baby shrimp“ha mi” are dried baby shrimps that are slightly salted in flavor. I found these baby shrimps in the refrigerated section at the Chinese supermarket. 
Radish Cake Ingredients

Time: 2 hours to make radish cake. Refrigerating it overnight and then 5 minutes to pan fry.

Difficulty Level: Medium

Equipment: wok

Ingredients

Equipment

  1. Grater
  2. Wok
  3. Pan 9×9 

Prep

  1. Thoroughly rinse radish. Using a peeler, shave radish. Using a grater, grate 90% of the radish, reserving 10% to be julienned into 3 cm increments. Adding julienned radish gives the radish cake a nice varied texture. Using another bowl, push and squeeze the water out of the grated radish. Set radish water aside. 
  2. Soak dried shrimp in a bowl of water. After about 5 mins, drain water from the bowl, and finely chop dried shrimp into small pieces. 
  3. Finely chop cured pork belly and Chinese sausage into small pieces. 

Instructions

  1. Heat a wok up on medium heat. Add in 1 tablespoon of oil to the wok and coat. Add in cured pork belly, sausage, and dried shrimp. Add in rock sugar and mix until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and reserve for later. 
  2. Heat wok back up on low heat and add in radishes. Cook for about 5 minutes until water comes out of radishes. Add in white pepper, salt, and chicken bouillon. Mix well. Incorporate the pork belly, sausage, and dried shrimp into the wok and mix well with radish. 
  3. Using a measuring cup, take radish water and add in more water, until it reaches 2 cups when combined. Add rice flour and mix well. Pour water into wok and mix. Turn off the heat.
  4. Pour mixture into a pan and fill it to the top. Using a wok, bring 4 cups of water to boil with a steaming rack and heat on medium heat. Once water boils, place radish cake pan in a steamer and close the lid. Steam on medium heat for 60 minutes. 
  5. After the radish cake is done steaming, remove from heat, and let it cool. Refrigerate the radish cake overnight. Once the radish cake is nice and solid, it’s ready to cook.  
  6. To cook, slice the cake into ½ inch increments. Heat a pan up to medium heat with 1 tbsp of oil. Coat the pan with oil. Once oil is warm, place the radish cake slices on the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side. Serve right away with chili sauce or soy sauce. Enjoy!
Turnip Cake Youtube Video
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Turnip Cake (蘿蔔糕 Lo Bak Go)

Radish Cake

Turnip cake is a soft savory cake that has cured sausages with tones of fragrant daikon combined into one. It is a dim sum staple but can be easily made at home with a few ingredients. 

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 1/2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours cook+overnight refridgeration
  • Yield: 34 1x
  • Category: appetizer
  • Method: pan fry, steam
  • Cuisine: Chinese

Ingredients

Scale

Instructions

Notes

  • Chinese sausage – Lap cheong can be found in most Asian supermarkets such as 99 Ranch. I like using the brand “kam yen jan”.

  • Chinese cured pork belly – Chinese cured pork belly can also be found in Asian supermarkets and the brand I use is “Orchard Sausages Inc.”

  • Dried baby shrimp – “ha mi” are dried baby shrimps that are slightly salted in flavor. I found these baby shrimps in the refrigerated section at the Chinese supermarket. 

Keywords: Turnip Cake

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3 thoughts on “Turnip Cake (蘿蔔糕 Lo Bak Go)

  1. Flavor is delicious and reminiscent of the best turnip cake i had in Hong Kong. Will definitely keep this recipe as a staple in our household. Thanks Christine for making Chinese food less intimidating to cook! It was a joy to make with your simple recipes and instructions.

  2. Lo bak go is something I always order at dim sum restaurants but never considered making it myself assuming it would be too difficult. But this recipe and video made it look so easy! I gave it a try and and it was not only easy but also delicious! The cake was the perfect texture, nice and soft with the perfect amount of rice flour to hold everything together while letting the other ingredients shine through especially the turnip. My family loved it and ate it all up! I will definitely make this again!

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