Turnip cake

Turnip cake
Alternative name(s) daikon cake, radish cake
Place of origin Southern China
Region or state Chinese-speaking areas
Dish details
Course served Yum cha
Main ingredient(s) shredded radish (typically Chinese radish or daikon), plain rice flour
Variations Fried and steamed
Turnip cake
Traditional Chinese 蘿蔔
Simplified Chinese 萝卜
Hanyu Pinyin luóbo gāo
Cantonese Jyutping lo4 baak6 gou1
Literal meaning daikon cake
Alternative Chinese name
Chinese 菜頭粿

Turnip cake is a Chinese dim sum dish made of shredded radish (typically Chinese radish or daikon) and plain rice flour. The less commonly-used daikon cake is a more accurate name, in that Western-style turnips are not used in the dish; it is sometimes also referred to as radish cake. It is commonly served in Cantonese yum cha and is usually cut into square-shaped slices and sometimes pan-fried before serving. Each pan-fried cake has a thin crunchy layer on the outside from frying, and soft on the inside. The non-fried version is soft overall. It is one of the standard dishes found in the dim sum cuisine of Hong Kong, China, and overseas Chinatown restaurants. It is also commonly eaten during Chinese New Year, since radish (菜頭, chhài-thâu) is a homophone for "good fortune" (好彩頭, ho-chhài-thâu) in Hokkien.[1]



To prepare a turnip cake, Chinese radish (similar to daikon) are first shredded. Chinese radish, either the white-and-green variety or the all-white variety, is one of the key ingredients since it makes up a large portion of the cake. The other key ingredients are water and rice flour. Corn starch is sometimes added as it aids in binding the cake together, especially when a large number of additional ingedients (see list below) are added. The ingredients are stirred together until combined.

Additional ingredients that provide umami flavouring can be also added. They include chopped-up pieces of:

These flavoring ingredients may first be stir-fried before being added to the radish and flour/starch mixture. Somewhat more luxurious cakes will add larger amounts of these ingredients directly to the mixture. Cheaper variants, especially those sold in dim sum restaurants will often just have a sprinkling on the top, to keep costs down.

This combined mixture is then poured in a steamer lined with greased aluminum foil or cellophane, and steamed at high heat for 40 to 60 minutes until it solidifies into a gelatinous mass.

Note that variations for specific tastes do exist omitting some of the ingredients above (for example carrots are rare) and adding others.

For those with allergies to radishes, some recipes substitute turnip for radish.[citation needed] Taro or pumpkin cakes are other variants.


Although the steamed turnip cake can be consumed straight with soy sauce, they are commonly cooked again to add additional flavors. For instance turnip cake can be sliced into square pieces when cooled and then pan-fried until both sides turn golden. It is served with white pepper, chili sauce, Hoisin sauce and/or oyster sauce on the side, as condiments.

Turnip cake made into dark (with dark soy and molasses) and light (salt and fish sauce styled Chai tow kway

Turnip cake can also be stir-fried and made into the dish Chai tow kway.

See also


  1. ^ Bartholomew, Ian (24 January 2008). "New Year's Eve dinner: easy as pie". Taipei Times: pp. 13. http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/feat/archives/2008/01/24/2003398676. Retrieved 16 July 2011. 

External links

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