Sunday, 2 February 2014

Go Go Lo-Lo Bak Go: Prosperous turnip cake

Lo Bak Go a.k.a turnip cake a.k.a mooli cake
Huzzah – the Chinese New Year is officially upon us. Double happiness, prosperous lives, with healthy family and friends is all we can look to for 2014. If you’ve been hiding your head in a hole for the past week or so this year is all about the year of the horse. Don’t worry, I’m not going to go all 2013 horse scandal Ikea and Iceland meatballs and burgers on you (the thought did cross my mind albeit extremely briefly… which I was later disgusted at myself for) but I’m going to keep things very traditional here. Both Mama Lo and Papa Lo text me separately saying I should make ‘Lo Bak Go’, a steamed Chinese turnip cake, for prosperity (and deliciousness). I think they had both just eaten Grandma’s cake and been compelled to tell me to immediately this needs to be on the blog. I’ve been saving making this for the new year, however it is eaten all year round for dim sum. It’s one of those dishes I order with my ‘gwai lo’ English friends all the time, as its translation doesn’t really inspire a mouth-watering dish that you would think about trying. But, next time you are having dim sum, do try it – it is something so different but really to quickly fall in love with (and will make you seem like a real dim sum connoisseur – proper foodie kudos). 
Happy Chinese new year! Year of the horse and I'll eat like one thanks.

White turnips (known as mooli/daikon known as well) are the real star of the show here and super easy to work with. Technically, it’s very simple recipe – it just takes a bit of time. You can double the recipe and keep some in the freezer for a rainy day. These little turnips score top marks for health bunnies too – super low in calories and a great source of calcium and iron, as well as improving circulation. If you’re still kidding yourself  on that super January diet cleanse, good for you – you can ignore the last step of frying it at the end, as well as swapping the meat for some spring onions or, dare I say it, quorn mince. But, I highly advise to keep it traditional yeah? 

Ingredients (makes 9 squares)
400 grams of grated Chinese white turnip / daikon
85 grams Chinese sausage, blanched and diced (you can use minced pork if you want)
1 tbs groundnut or vegetable oil
1 shallot, diced
2 large mushrooms, diced
85 grams rice flour (available in Asian grocery stores)
2 teaspoons of chicken powder (you can use a crumbled up stock cube if you want)
250 ml water

Fry up the shallot, mushrooms and sausage in the oil for 4-5 minutes. Set aside and in your wok add the white turnips. Fry and turn continually for 5 minutes, then lower the heat to medium and add 50ml of the water and the chicken powder. Cover with a lid and cook until translucent (about 5-8 minutes).
Add the rice flour to the work and mix on a low heat. Gradually add the rest of the water till you get a stodgy cake batter sort of consistency. Add the sausage, shallots and mushrooms and mix well.

Transfer to an oiled shallow dish or baking tin – spread evenly and steam (place in a steamer or over a wok with water and ramekin in the middle) for 50 minutes with a cover on. Check it is cooked through by inserting a skewer – if it comes out clean you can take it out and leave to cool. This needs to be refrigerated for about 1 hour.

Cut around the sides and invert onto a plate. Cut into squares (or however it takes your fancy).You can either steam again to reheat or, more traditionally, add a little oil to your wok and fry until golden brown on each side.

Serve with some chilli oil or XO sauce if you’re proper posh.

No comments:

Post a Comment