Sunday, November 18, 2012

Love at first bite

One year now I've been meaning to do this recipe. Irrefutable proof that things cook slow in this kitchen. It was exactly a year ago when I tried this cake for the first time, it was on that Sunday morning in Hong Kong, when I met my friends V. and C.L. for yum cha (sorry, but I was dying to brag about it ;-). And guess what, I just checked the calendar and realized it was exactly October 18 when I arrived in Hong Kong. If that's not an amazing coincidence!

Turnip Cake

The taste of this cake makes you love it at the first bite. It is homey, comforting.

Turnip Cake (adapted from this recipe)

1 medium Chinese white turnip, about 500 g
2 cups rice flour
4 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 cup water
1 teaspoon Shaoxing rice cooking wine (I didn't have so I used brandy...oh happy day ;-)
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt

In a large heatproof bowl, combine the rice flour and 1 cup of water. Mix well until the mixture is smooth and velvety, and set aside. Soak the shiitake mushrooms with water for 10 to 15 minutes to soften. Once the shiitakes are done soaking, remove from water, dry and finely chop. Set aside.
Peel the turnip, slice into 2 cm thick slices, then cut slices into strips about 2 cm thick. Set aside.

Stir-fry mushrooms in a saucepan with 1 teaspoon oil and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the cooking wine (or brandy) and soy sauce and stir until the mushrooms are well-coated. Remove from heat and set aside. In the same saucepan toss in the turnip strips and stir-fry for a couple of minutes. Pour in 1 cup water, cover, and let the turnip steam for 10 to 15 minutes until just cooked. Pour the turnip mixture into the bowl with the rice flour mixture and mix thoroughly. Add the mushrooms and salt. Pour the resulting mixture into a round 18 cm springform pan and smooth out the top.

Fit the pan in a steamer with lid, and cook for 1 hour over medium heat, just until the turnip cake is set and is firm to the touch. Carefully remove the pan from the steamer and allow to cool on a rack for about 1 hour. Once cooled slice and pan fried to gold brown on both sides. Serve immediately plain or with oyster sauce, soy sauce, or chili sauce.

Turnip Cake

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