Saturday, August 13, 2011

Luobogao Revisited

蘿蔔糕 Luobogao is delicious! But it's a very involved process with many steps. I've done a post on it before, but really, I lucked out with the how the texture turned out that time. I've since tried making it several more times, making various mistakes along the way. Now, I've finally got things down pretty clearly, so I'm including my recipe this time, too. Just a couple details I learned along the way:
  • Fresher turnip grates much more easily and quickly. Buy as fresh as you can; you will save a lot of time in the grating step. (oh Harris Teeter/other customers, we need faster turnover of produce)
  • Water needs to be added to the turnip when boiling it. However, how much water you add will affect how much of the rice flour mixture you should add to get the texture you want.
  • It's best for the luobogao to be near room temperature when you sauté it. If it's too cold (bringing out from refrigeration), the browned surface will separate from the cake when you try to flip it (you can see in the pic above)--unless you've gone for a high rice flour:turnip ratio and bouncier texture. If it's too warm (still cooling from steaming), the cake will be softer and more difficult to handle and flip in one piece.
  • For the texture I like (crisp outside with soft/gooey interior), roughly a 4:1 ratio of turnip/water to rice flour mixture is what you want to aim for.

 Ingredients ready to go


 Boiling the luobo. You actually want maybe twice this amount of water (this pic was before I realized the need to add water).

 Adding the other ingredients in with the turnip.

 Mixing in the rice flour mixture.

 This is actually from the subsequent attempt. This looks about right, but maybe a touch too much rice flour.

Steamed and needs to cool before turning out, cutting, and sautéing.

羅蔔糕 Luo Bo Gao (Turnip Cake)
Makes 1 cake

2-3 黑香菇 hei xiang gu black mushroom (shiitake), soaked overnight, diced
12 small dried shrimp, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes, chopped
1 pound 白蘿蔔 bai luo bo (daikon) radish
~1 cup water
3/4 - 1 cup white rice flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1-2 links 香腸 xiang chang (Chinese sausage), diced
2 green onion, chopped

Vegetable oil
Sriracha + [oyster sauce or jiang you gao soy sauce paste]

  1. Mix rice flour, salt, and white pepper in a bowl and set aside
  2. Peel turnip and grate through small holes of grater.
  3. Pour grated turnip into large pot, add water (turnip shouldn’t be swimming in water but enough for a “slurry”) and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 5-7 minutes.
  4. Heat skillet over medium-high heat, add oil. Once oil is shimmering, add sausage, mushroom, shrimp and green onion whites through middles and sauté several minutes (adding the green parts of scallion later), until fragrant and starting to brown.
  5. Mix in the sausage, mushrooms, shrimp, and green onion with the turnip, cover pot, and cook for 5 minutes longer.
  6. Remove from heat. Slowly add the rice flour mixture and whisk until well incorporated. Mixture should be of a thick, porridge-like, dropping consistency.
  7. Prepare steamer (I use a wok with steaming rack and lid), bringing water to boil over high heat. Be sure to have enough water in the steamer for the length of time.
  8. Pour turnip mixture into a medium-sized, flat-bottomed, heatproof dish. Use the back of a spoon or ladle to smooth out the surface of the mixture.
  9. Steam mixture for about 45 minutes, or until chopstick inserted into cake comes out clean.
  10. Remove dish from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
  11. Once cooled, gently turn turnip cake onto a cutting board. Slice into smaller pieces before searing. (You can wrap the cake in plastic wrap and refrigerate to save for later. Bring to room temperature before sautéing so the browned surface doesn’t separate from the rest of the cake.)
  12. Heat skillet over medium to medium-high heat, add oil. Once oil is shimmering, place turnip cake slices in skillet and brown on both sides (3-4 minutes each). Serve with sriracha + oyster sauce or soy sauce paste on the side, or any sauce you like.


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