Chinese New Year Turnip Cake
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Chinese New Year Turnip Cake

About this recipe: This recipe is handed down from my mum's mum. This is NOT a dessert (not sweet), but more like a 'quick bread' for the Chinese. This 'cake' is usually made and eaten during the Chinese New Year or its slices are usually found all year round as dim sum in Chinese restaurants. This cake can be kept for ... more

Carol, Chung Chi Wa

Ingredients

Serves: 6 

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 225g Chinese dried mushrooms, soaked overnight in water
  • 5 tablespoons dried shrimp, soaked in water overnight and drained
  • 500g pork sausage, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 slices fresh root ginger
  • 3 turnips, grated
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chicken stock granules
  • 1 tablespoon ground white pepper
  • 300g white rice flour

Method

Prep:30min  ›  Cook:1hr15min  ›  Ready in:1hr45min 

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a wok or large frying pan over high heat. Add mushrooms, shrimp and sausages and saute for 1/2 minute. Remove from wok and set aside. Heat 1 more tablespoon oil in wok. Add ginger and saute a bit. Add grated turnips and stir fry for about 3 minutes (do NOT remove turnip water). Add five-spice powder, salt, chicken stock granules and white pepper and toss all together until evenly distributed. Extract ginger slices from mixture.
  2. Turn off heat. Top turnip mixture with rice flour and use chopsticks to toss and mix flour in evenly. Add reserved sausage mixture and toss to mix in. Remove mixture from wok and place into a 23cm, 5cm deep round cake tin.
  3. Clean wok, fill with water and bring to the boil. Place cake tin on a round wire rack over boiling water. Reduce heat to low and let simmer, steaming cake 'batter', for 45 minutes. (Note: you can also use a large bamboo steamer if you have one.) When 'cake' is steamed through, slice into pieces and serve hot OR cool on wire rack before covering tightly with cling film and placing in refrigerator to chill.

Note

You can chill it in the fridge, but it should always be eaten HOT after re-heating either in the microwave, or frying in a few tablespoons of oil.

Chinese New Year

Most of the dishes served during Chinese New Year are symbolic of something positive and hopeful.

Chicken and fish, for example, symbolise happiness and prosperity - especially when served whole.
Dishes made with oranges represent wealth and good fortune because they are China's most plentiful fruit.
Noodles represent longevity: therefore, they should never be cut!
Duck symbolises fidelity, while eggs signify fertility.
Bean curd or tofu, however, is avoided because its white colour suggests death and misfortune.
Turnips are cooked because their name (cai tou) also means "good luck".

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