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Chinese Vegan Radish Cake

February 10, 2015

The Chinese Vegan Radish Cake (turnip cake, white carrot cake, loh bak go (蘿蔔糕) is a savory treat made with diakon radish, mushrooms, fresh herbs, spices and rice flour which is steamed, sliced and then gently pan-fried to perfection so it is crispy on the outside and soft and tender on the inside. Chinese Vegan Radish Cakes / http://bamskitchen.com

The Chinese Vegan Radish Cake is simply just dreamy to bite into. First, the little crispy bits on the ends catch your senses and then once you take a bite the inside it is soft and mellow. The diakon radish mellows as it is cooked and it is combined with the mushrooms, herbs and spices and makes this for one hearty delightful treat. Well don’t take my word for it, give it a try yourself and impress all of your guests this Chinese New Year. The Chinese Vegan Radish cake is also deliciously gluten-free and vegan. I love dipping it in a simple sauce of soya, dash Chinese dark Chinkiang vinegar and a little ginger for a little zest.

Chinese Vegan Radish Cake / http//bamskitchen.com

Chinese New Year is in full swing here and I am excited to be able to share with you the events going on in Hong Kong. Today, I am guest posting over at VRAI Magazine. I have interviewed many people here in Hong Kong to get a personal twist on what Chinese New Year means to them. Please join us HERE to find out what treasured family memories they have and what special things that they do for each other during the Chinese New Year holiday season. If you have not yet checked out VRAI Magazine,  pour yourself a cup of tea/coffee and pull up a chair as you are going to love their delicious recipes, home and garden, lifestyle trends and travel articles.

Chinese New Year / http://bamskitchen.com

We all know that a favorite topic that might be coming up around Chinese New Year is all about the FOOD, of course!!! Today I am going to share with you the kicked up vegan version of Chinese radish cake. I am going to share the recipe and the recipe details here on Bam's Kitchen but you will have to visit VRAI Magazine to read up on the customs and traditions around the Chinese New Year. I know that loh bak go (蘿蔔糕), white carrot cake, turnip cake or the Chinese radish cake is generally made with Chinese sausages. I had a change of heart while doing a bit of shopping in the wet market and wanted to perfect this recipe, so I created a vegan version for you. I have actually made a recipe before for a Chinese New Year Radish Cake with Chinese Sausages and you can read my recipe HERE.

Chinese Vegan Radish Cakes / http://bamskitchen.com

One ingredient that there is really not any exchange for is what we call the diakon radish. It is sometimes called an Asian white radish, white carrot, long white radish or winter radish just to name a few. I became very familiar with Daikon in Japanese cooking as it had many uses such as just being freshly grated and added to homemade ponsu sauce and used for a dipping sauce or used in making Japanese pickles... Delicious!!!!

Diakon Radish / http://bamskitchen.com

In China, the daikon radish is used to make the delightful dim sum dish, loh bak go (蘿蔔糕)/radish cake/turnip cake. You can find the diakon radish in any wet market in Asia and in the Asian grocery stores around the world. I am sorry but there is not a substitute and you cannot exchange the red little radishes in this dish or it will be too strong.

Another item I like to use is mix dried Chinese mushrooms. If you cannot get dried mushroom in your market, don't sweat it.  You can use freshly chopped cooked mixed mushrooms or even just button mushrooms in this dish.   I used green onions, white pepper and five spice powder to give this dish an added depth of flavour.

Chinese mushrooms / http://bamskitchen.com

I am not big on the taste of liver, ask any of my friends and they will let you know, and that is exactly why I choose to leave out the Chinese sausage. I don't know but for some reason, its smell and taste remind me of liver. My mom could not get me to liver with heaps of caramelised onions and a bottle of ketchup so why in the world would I torture myself now. Now maybe another type of sausage might be better but for right now the vegan version is just as lovely and even more delightful with the added herbs and spices.

Chinese Vegan Radish Cake is not too difficult to make, but it just takes time. It is best to prepare and steam on one day and then leave in the refrigerator overnight or for at least for 4 hours before slicing and frying. It makes slicing and frying easier.

Chinese Vegan Radish Cake / http://bamskitchen.com

So you may ask, "How do I make a Chinese radish cake?" You do not need any special equipment to create your Chinese vegan radish cakes. You do not need a huge steamer, wok, or even any special supplies. You can literally make a steamer out of any deep pan with a lid and a little bowl or a couple of chop sticks and a plate. REALLY!!!

This recipe makes one huge 9x9 inch pan recipe. Instead I split the recipe into 2 smaller loaf pans or you could use a three 3 inch round pans or microwave/oven safe bowls. Cut this recipe in half if you are just going to serve 4 people and this is a more manageable size to steam.

Chinese Vegan Radish Cake / http://bamskitchen.com

My favorite way to steam is to use my big soup pot with a lid. I put in an oven safe small bowl on the bottom upside down in the middle of the soup pan . Then, I set my Chinese vegan radish cake dish  just on top of the upside bowl. It is pretty heavy so it will weight down the small upside down bowl. I then carefully add the water to the pan without getting any on the Chinese vegan radish cake. Put the lid on the big soup pan over the Chinese vegan radish cake and steam away. Alternatively, I cross two chopsticks in a wok with a lid and make the letter "X", add water to your wok, put a plate over the chopsticks and your Chinese Vegan Radish cake on top of plate and lid on top of your wok and steam away.

Please head on over to the VRAI Magazine where I am guest posting today and find out more about the Chinese New Years traditions from an inside perspective.

Kung Hei Fat Choy! Xin Nian Kuai Le! 新年快乐! (Happy Chinese New Year) -Wishing you much happiness, prosperity and longevity!

Chinese Vegan Radish Cake / http://bamskitchen.com

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Healthy World Cuisine (HWC) Magazine is committed to provide a lifestyle traveling culinary experience featuring fresh ingredients, easy recipe preparation and culinary enjoyment. READ MORE...

Chinese Vegan Radish Cake

By HWC Magazine  , , , , , , ,   

February 10, 2015

The Chinese Vegan Radish Cake (turnip cake, loh bak go (蘿蔔糕) is a savory treat made with diakon radish, mushrooms, fresh herbs, spices and rice flour which is steamed, sliced and then gently pan-fried to perfection so it is crispy on the outside and soft and tender on the inside.

  • Cook: 8 hrs
  • Yields: 16 appetizers or just enough for one hungry teenager

Ingredients

dried mushrooms - 12 mushrooms (soaked overnight and chopped finely)

diakon radish - 1 large shredded

water - 1/4 cup to help soften the diakon

Vegetable powder (gluten free) - 1 tablespoon (Can substitute chicken powder if you are not vegan)

sugar or sugar alternative - 1 tablespoon

white pepper - to taste

five spice powder - 1 regular standard teaspoon

rice flour - 5 cups

water - 5.5 cups of water or as needed to create the consistency of soft cement

green onions - 3 chopped (white and green sections)

water - water for steaming (amount depends on steaming apparatus used)

canola oil - 2 tablespoons oil for frying (Use a non-stick frying pan)

Chinese Dipping Sauce

tamari (soy) sauce - 4 tablespoons

Chinese black rice dark vinegar - 2 teaspoons

ginger - 1/2 teaspoon grated

Directions

1Step 1) In a large wok, place one teaspoon of oil and then add shredded diakon and cook until softened and about 1/4 cup water to finish the cooking process. (about 10 minutes) Season diakon with chicken powder, sugar salt, white pepper and five-spiced powder. All the water should be evaporated.

2Step 2) Slowly add the rice flour, a little at a time, to the daikon mixture, stirring continuously. Add a little water at time to help smooth the product up to six cup of water. (The consistency you are looking for is like a soft cement or bondo for a car or maybe stiff frosting in the can (don't laugh) Don't let the mixture burn so keep it moving until you reach the right consistency. Please note: I had a very large diakon and I live in a super humid climate and all of these factors play a part in determining how much water you will need to add to your mixture. You may need to add between 5 to 6 cups of water, maybe less or maybe more, to achieve the soft cement like consistency. It is very important that you add just a little water at a time until you get to the consistency of soft cement. I needed to add 5.5 cups to achieve the consistency I was looking for.

3Step 3) Turn the burner off. Add a little at a time the chopped mushrooms and spring onions to your diakon flour mixture. Season to taste.

4Step 4) Scoop the batter into a 9-inch cake tin and level it and smooth out the batter. (If your steamer is small, divide diakon batter into 2 smaller pans)

5Do not worry if you do not have a"big fancy steamer". You can use your wok and place 2 chopsticks at the bottom of your wok in an "x" formation, then place a small plate of top, carefully add water to the bottom of your wok about 2 inches or so on the bottom, then place your diakon cake dish on top of plate and then place a lid on top of your wok and steam.

6Alternatively if you do not have a wok, there is always plan B for steaming. I use my big soup pot that has a lid. It is very deep but not very wide so I have to split my diakon batter into 3 smaller ovenproof round dishes. I place a very small oven proof round dish upside down on the bottom of my soup pot, then I place my small bowl or diakon batter on top of the upside bowl so the weight of it holds down the upside down bowl. Then I carefully pour my water inside my soup pot about 2 inches on the bottom without getting any on my diakon radish cake. I then place a lid on my soup pot to cover and steam the radish cake.

7Step 5) Steam over high heat for approximately 45 minutes- 1 hour or until a chopstick comes out clean.

8Step 6) Allow cake to cool in the refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight.

9Step 7) Make your dipping sauce. In a small bowl add Tamari (soya) sauce, black Chinese vinegar and freshly grated ginger, stir and set aside.

10Step 8) Slice cake into slices. Put a little cooking oil in a frying pan and place the sliced diakon cake into the frying pan. Brown the diakon cake lightly on both sides until golden brown. Garnish with green onions and serve with dipping sauce. Serve and enjoy!

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  • What a cool looking dish!! Looks just like something that I would love!

  • Eha

    Nine days to go – how could you possibly surpass this? Looks marvellous, would taste great and I wish I could be there . . . OK, I suppose my wished-for-wet markets; may not apply!! Thank you for a greet past . . . and part of me shall be with you for the next ten days and some . . .

    • Bams Kitchen

      Dear Eha, I am celebrating with you virtually. If I could, I would send you some but I don’t think the customs guy would take too fondly to this… I hope one day soon you can make it back to HK. Take care

  • I have never heard about Chinese radish cakes before. I love the idea of a crispy crust with a soft centre. As always beautiful done Bam.
    Have a super day.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  • Radish cake is a delicious and popular snack here in Singapore but I don’t eat them very often because they are quite oily. This is definitely something I will want to make when I’m overseas! Yum!

  • One of the things I wish to make, never made this at home now I am inspired by this post

  • Wow, Bam! Never thought radish could be prepared and look this GOOD!!! Yum-yum! Can’t wait to taste it!

    Julie & Alesah
    Gourmet Getaways xx

  • Bobbi … checked out VRAI Magazine … wow! I love your photos … the colors are amazing! Your radish cake sounds so interesting … must give it a try … love all of your hints about making a steamer, etc.

    P.S. I just watched an episode of “House Hunters International” … looking for an apartment in Hong Kong … what an eyeopener, especially after seeing the small size of some homes!

  • My mother always makes a few batches of this for Chinese New Year and I’m looking forward to having some in a few days! Yours looks wonderful and I don’t think I would miss the Chinese sausage, though I do love them. I believe the Cantonese sausages are made with pork – very sweet and fatty – but no liver? I could be wrong and I have had ones with liver and I’m not a fan of those either. No matter, you can’t go wrong lightening it up a bit. Have a wonderful CNY celebration!

  • I’ve always seen radish cakes on the dim sum cart and haven’t ordered them. I will now. Don’t know what’s held me back because I love daikon! These look great Bobbi! Know what you mean about liver! My mom always did the same!

  • shashi @ http://runninsrilankan.com

    Bobbi- I am totally fascinated by this radish cake – such a unique (to me) way of preparing it – when I saw that first picture I though the Daikon was cut into pieces and marinated in a sauce that included the mushrooms – but the process you outline leaves me drooling – wow – this sounds fantastic and much, much better than liver and onions 😉

  • kitchenriffs

    This looks terrific! I know about radish cakes, but never had them. I’m going to have to try these — they look wonderful. And I’m going to be planting a ton of radishes (well, not literally!) in our garden this year. Really nice — thanks.

  • Robyn

    Wow, Bobbi, your creativity never fails to amaze me. I haven’t had anything like this but it sounds divine! Love the flavor combo and congrats on your feature in VRAI Magazine. I’m on my way over there now. Sharing 🙂

  • What a unique recipe–I think I’d really like this!

  • Wow, this looks so delicious, though I have never seen a radish cake.

  • Growing up we ate a lot of daikon. I have never seen it served like this though 🙂

  • I quite like daikon and those crispy edges would suit me just fine.

  • Another wonderful snack for celebrating Chinese new year! I never challenged to make these, but it seems easy enough. And I really like the way you describe how to turn any pot into a steamer. I always use a pair of chopsticks, but the bowl method sounds great too! Thanks for sharing the tips 🙂

  • hotlyspiced

    I do love daikon radish and Chinese mushrooms. I have never been able to eat liver except in pate – and I can eat and eat and eat pate with no complaints. I would love to celebrate a genuine Chinese New Year xx

  • Very elegant BAM. lovely method and a delicious result.

  • I simply love the Chinese radish cake and this looks amazing! Exactly like what we would find in dim sum places!

  • A must order item whenever I go out for dim sum.

  • Dammit that looks good and so completely new to me. I LOVE that! I’m going to try this very very soon. Thanks:)

  • One of my all time favourite foods. When I lived in Sydney I used to insist we only went to dim sum places that radish cake. I like the idea of a vegan version. I am not averse to the Chinese sausage in radish cake but that is about the only place I like it and the packets are always so huge that I have heaps leftover. And I hate wasting food.

  • Congratulations Bobbi on your participation on VRAI magazine! Your savory cake looks absolutely fantastic!

  • Kayiu @ Saucy Spatula

    Turnip/radish cake is my favorite thing to eat in CNY (and at dim sum)! My grandparents were farmers many years ago, and used to own a giant patch of daikon field before all the land turned into houses 🙁 I have such good memories of pulling daikons! 🙂

    Nice photos, Bobbi!

  • I have never had a radish cake but I definitely want to now 😀
    It looks so tasty and flavoursome!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  • Never have I tried a recipe quite like this before. I definitely am curious to know what it tastes like!

  • What a creative recipe! This looks so flavorful and interesting!

  • You always have the most diverse, unique and beautiful recipes on your blog. How fun to celebrate Chinese New Year, I’ll have to check out your guest post on VRAI.. that’s exciting as well! Great to be back here, BAM.. I’ve missed it!!

  • I love love LOVE radish cake! So jealous you get to celebrate a real Chinese New Year….I love going into China Town on Chinese New Year!! Celebrations are SO COOL! 🙂

    • Bams Kitchen

      Thank you Nagi! Hong Kong is getting really busy this week as millions of people travel back home to visit. I’m glad I can partake in the festivities. Have a super weekend!

  • I’ve never known quite what to do with daikon – but now I do! These little savoury treats look delicious (and I don’t often have that reaction to vegan food).

  • Words cannot express how freakin excited I am to try this dish. I have never tried radish cake before, but it looks and sounds marvelous. I love how your recipes are always so different, its awesome to learn about other cultures and their traditional recipes too. So wish I could celebrate Chinese New Year for reals, but great I get to touch on via you. Wishing you a beautiful week ahead. Cheers, Anna

  • Wow – what an interesting and intriguing dish this is! I have never heard of this before, but I love all of the ingredients and it sounds so different and delicious.

  • How pretty and interesting. They look like fish cakes, all stacked up. I love the presentation too. Beautiful photos Bobbi. Happy Tuesday!

  • What a unique cake! I love this idea!

  • These look SO good! I’m always looking for ways to use up the Daikon in my CSA and this is genius! Thanks for sharing.

  • That looks amazing. When I first looked at the picture I thought it was fish since it seemed to have the texture of haddock or a white fish like it. I am just so amazed at all of the fun dishes you’ve learned to make while over there. It has got to be such a fun and unique experience. Did you ever think you’d be doing this?

    • Bams Kitchen

      Thank you Diane! Actually, Cantonese dishes never usually include a fish fillet (skinned and bones removed). They most generally always eat fish whole with bones still in and head still on. However, I thought I would try to make something that my kids would like with Asian flavours with a Western twist. I have always loved cooking but I never thought I would ever be documenting it. I am having so much fun with Bam’s Kitchen, meeting some amazing followers and bloggers and learning quite a bit a long the way. What about you?

  • OMG! My mom makes this savory radish cake, and somehow I never thought that I would see this coming from you…yes, I love this cake with the crispy layer…you sure made this cake beautifully.
    Enjoy your week Bobbi 🙂

  • What a yummy and interesting looking radish cake!

  • Hi Bam,
    I usually just use daikon in a salad. This looks so unusual and yummy! Would love to try it.
    Thank you so much for your lovely compliments on my blog. You really brightened up my day 🙂

  • Chinese New Year is such a happy celebratory food time! This is a new way to use daikon to me, looks absolutely delicious.

  • It looks amazing: I wish I could taste it.

  • Yay! We have the same dish for the special event! Yours look absolutely yummy!Wishing you a fabulous Lunar New Year!

    • Bams Kitchen

      Hello Rika, great minds do thing alike. My idea came after foraging through the wet market…I just pinned your recipe!

  • i’m gladly giving you my fresh homemade lap cheong for this radish cake……
    i but this vegan version is delicious, my girlfriend will worship it for sure, lol

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  • Aya

    Yummo, these were very good! I made these last night and was a little nervous, since I’ve never had them before and the amount of daikon seemed small. I didn’t have 5 spice, so I crossed my fingers and added dashes of cinnamon, allspice, ginger, celery seed, and cumin. I also didn’t measure the rice flour or water, I just kept adding them little by little until it had the consistency you described. The dough smelled and tasted sweet, but once it was fried up it was more savory. So tasty, and now that I’ve made it, it seems so simple and easy to do again. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Bams Kitchen

      Dear Aya, I am delighted that you tried the Chinese Vegan Radish recipe and also made your own 5 spice. Way to go! Chinese New Year is just right around the corner so you will be ready to go. Wishing you a super day and thanks so much for leaving your kind comment. Take Care

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