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Lo Bok Go - Chinese Radish Cake

I remember helping my grandma make this in her apartment in Chinatown oh so many years ago, sitting on the floor grating the radish into a bowl with her box grater. This dish is served in many dim sum restaurants and made especially around Chinese New Year. The "cake" is steamed then cooled and sliced and pan fried for a crispy outside and soft inside. It tastes mildly of daikon mixed with lots of savory bits of meat and mushrooms. Don't forget to serve it with a bit of oyster sauce for perfection in every bite.

I think the best part about making this dish from scratch is that you can add what you like and be generous with the filling. I hate it when I order this in a restaurant and there is hardly any "haam" (savory filling) in it and you eat mostly a white, lightly daikon flavored cake with a sad scattering of savory meat bits. Make it your own and fill it with sweet and salty bits of Chinese sausage, mushrooms and dried shrimp in addition to the daikon and rice flour base.

My grandma was the most generous person I knew and it showed in her cooking. Don't skimp on the filling or you'll end up with a bland cake of mostly daikon and rice flour.

Lo Bok Go

Ingredients (serves 4-6, one 8-9" round)

20 oz daikon radish, washed, peeled and grated

1 ½ cups water

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons dried shrimp, soaked, black vein scraped out, and finely chopped

6 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked, diced

2 Chinese sausages, diced

2 scallions, finely sliced

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon Chinese cooking wine

1 ¼ cups rice flour (NOT glutinous rice flour)

1 Tablespoon cornstarch


Wash, peel and grate the daikon radish into a large bowl. Transfer to a large pot or wok and add 1 cup of water. Place pot over medium high heat and bring up to a boil then lower heat to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent browning. Remove mixture, including liquid to a large bowl to cool.

Heat the same pot over medium high heat. When the oil is shimmery, add the chopped dried shrimp, shiitake mushrooms, Chinese sausage, scallion, salt, sugar, soy sauce and cooking wine. Stir to cook about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.

To the bowl with the daikon radish add 1 1/4 cups rice flour and 1 Tablespoon corn starch and the Chinese sausage mixture. Mix well to ensure an even consistency throughout. If it looks too dry add 1 Tablespoon of water more at a time. It should not be too wet and will be chunky.

Place mixture in a heat proof 8-9" round pan, square or even large loaf pan, preferably with straight sides. I used a 9" glass Pyrex pie pan. Get your steamer ready. Add water to the pot enough to about 1" below your bowl of mixture. Bring water up to a boil. Carefully place bowl in steamer and cover with lid. Steam on medium high for 55 minutes, checking at about 20-30 minutes to make sure there is enough water. If water level has gone down too much add a few cups of boiling water and cover again to finish cooking.

Once the timer is up, turn off and remove from heat. Cool completely and store in the refrigerator overnight to firm up. When ready to serve, slice into 1/2" slices. Heat up a frying pan and add a little vegetable oil. When the oil is shimmery add your slices of lo bok go. Pan fry to golden brown flipping to brown remaining side and to heat through. It is delicious hot as is but even better when served with a side of oyster sauce as a dip. Enjoy!!!

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