Sunday, January 18, 2015

Recipe: Mama Yu's Turnip Cake

Over the weekend, mom and I made a bet on whether or not I had ever posted the recipe for her turnip cake, which reminded me that I had never posted the recipe for her turnip cake.

Two things:
1. Through this bet, I won the right to have lunch at P.F.Changs and I devoured a large portion of Honey Chicken (Yes, I realize the irony).
2. My mom's turnip cake is better than any turnip cake you've had in your life. Don't believe me? Ask Papa Yu, Liz, and Joe (yes, we're biased, but we're still right). Dim sum turnip cake will never be the same, you will insist on making it yourself (or if you're me, whine until mom does).

Quick warning: This requires an old school rice cooker. I have no idea if this turns out well in a non old school rice cooker. What's an old school rice cooker you ask? The kind that requires you add water to steam and makes rice perfect every time without burning the bottom. Bonus points if it's missing a stub leg (not really).

  • 1 T Dried Shrimp
  • 1-1 1/2 lbs. Daikon
  • 1 Thick Slice of Ham (1/4 in.) or 1 Link of Chinese Sausage (the latter is tastier)
  • 1 Package Rice Flour
  • 2-3 T Fried Scallion
  • 1/2 T Salt
  • 1/2 t Black Pepper
  • 1/2 T Sugar
Start by soaking your dried shrimp in some water, leave them for about 10 minutes while you prepare the rest of your ingredients. Once they're done soaking, give them a rough chop.

Cut your daikon into matchsticks and dice your ham/chinese sausage into small cubes.
A step-by-step on getting it right.
Did you do step 6? I did.
I only had ham, but if you can find chinese sausage, SUBSTITUTE!!!

Add 2 T of vegetable oil into a hot wok (or non-stick pan). Add dried shrimp. Once you can smell the shrimp, add the ham/chinese sausage, and then the daikon. Season with the salt, black pepper, and sugar. Then add the fried scallions.
I, too, would enjoy a bath in fried scallions and meat.
Found at most Chinese supermarkets. As always, the Yu family recommends that you buy "MADE IN TAIWAN"

Add 1 C. water (including the water the shrimp soaked in) to the mixture and cook for 7-9 minutes until the daikon is translucent.
Boom. Cooked through.
While the daikon is cooking, mix 4 1/2 cups off cold water with 1 package of rice flour until smooth.
This is a photo of mom from about 2 years ago. She hasn't aged a day. Literally, this is exactly what she looks like now.
This is what you're looking for. Also found at most Chinese grocery stores.
Mix your rice flour slurry into your daikons and start stirring and moving it around. It will thicken...A LOT. Keep moving until you really can't mix it anymore (will take about 15-20 minutes). Then put it into a greased rice cooker container. Press the mixture in well so there are no gaps of air.
If you stir you won't need to work out that day!
Add 2 1/2 rice cooker cups of water to the side of your rice cooker and place your turnip cake in and steam. Once done, leave until cool. Invert onto a plate. Now you can slice it up and crisp it up on each side.

Serve with soy paste, crushed garlic and chinese "chili" sauce. Posting that just made me hungry, good thing mom made me some this weekend and it's sitting in my fridge.

Note: Rice cooker cup is the cup that comes with your rice cooker.

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