No telling why I decided to undertake such an unusual dish . . . but I am glad that I did. My guys love Chinese Sausage, and I was looking for a new and interesting way to serve it. Lo Bak Go (Daikon Cake) is a traditional Chinese dish that is usually served in Dim Sum cuisine. It is made of shredded daikon turnip and rice flour along with other components that may vary. This recipe uses dried shiitake mushrooms, Chinese sausage, scallions and dried shrimp to achieve the pleasant savory taste that is referred to as umami. Most of the ingredients can be found at your local grocery, but the dried shrimp may require that you seek out the wonder that is the Asian market. Take time for this outing and treat it like a field trip– huge bags of rice, live fish, exotics. It is like entering another world. This recipe takes some time to prepare. The mushrooms and the shrimp have to be rehydrated and chopped, the Chinese radish has to be grated and steamed, and the sausage requires some time to prep as well. I found the Chinese sausage to be quite soft and I wasn’t able to dice it raw. As a result, I chose to cook it on the stove top prior to dicing. If you chose to go this route, add the sausage to the cooked mushrooms and shrimp during the last two minutes to prevent overcooking. All of the ingredients are mixed together and then allowed to rest for 15 minutes prior to steaming. The steaming takes a full 50 minutes, and then the cake must cool for another 30 minutes before it is turn out. However, we are not done yet. The cake is in a fairly gelatinous state at this point and it must be cut into 1/2″ slices and fried in hot oil until crispy. I generated a lot of dishes (many thanks to my husband for taking care of those) and was pretty ready to sit down and enjoy my meal by the time everything was said and done. They were served along with Sriracha sauce and a Summer House Salad.
Note: Another trick for cutting raw meat is to put it in the freezer until it is just firm. This method is very effective and can be used for almost all meats.
DAIKON CAKES [Lo Bak Go] – (Serves 4)
- 1 Chinese turnip/daikon radish (about 20 oz.), grated
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon dried shrimp, washed, soaked and chopped
- 3-5 dried Chinese black mushrooms, washed, soaked, and chopped
- 1 Chinese sausage, diced
- 1 scallion, chopped
- 1 cup rice flour
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- white pepper, to taste
- Grate the turnip using the largest holes on a box grater.
- Add grated turnip and water to a wok or large pan and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so the turnip does not brown. The turnip will produce liquid, some of which will evaporate. Cook it until you have about 3/4 cup liquid left in the pan with the radish. Pour everything (including the liquid) into a large mixing bowl to cool.
- Heat your pan over medium heat and add a two tablespoons oil. Add the dried shrimp, mushrooms, and sausage and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in the chopped scallion and remove from the heat to cool.
- Add rice flour, cornstarch, salt, sugar, and white pepper to the mixing bowl with the radish and cooking liquid. Mix well until the dry ingredients are well-incorporated.
- Add in the cooked shrimp, mushrooms and sausage, and be sure to scrape the oil from the pan into the batter. Mix well and let sit for about 15 minutes.
- Give the batter a final stir and pour it into a well-oiled loaf pan. Place the pan into a steamer with plenty of water and steam over over medium-high heat for 50 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the steamer and let your turnip cake set for about 30 minutes. Once cooled, loosen the sides with a spatula and turn it out onto a cutting board. It should come out quite easily.
- Use a sharp knife dipped in water to slice ½-inch thick pieces. I know people who’d enjoy it just like that, but most people pan-fry them first. Add a couple tablespoons oil to a non-stick or seasoned cast iron pan over medium-low heat. Fry the cakes on both sides until golden and crispy.
~ from TheWoksOfLife.com ~