Oh no! Is it already Sunday? This post may be late, but my kitchen was indeed busy on Saturday. This is my fifth attempt at making ‘Lor Bak Gou’, literally translated as ‘radish cake’. It’s not really a cake, but a steamed savoury Cantonese snack made of grated radish mixed with rice flour and aromatics, then steamed to a softly firm, bouncy consistency. It often features in a somewhat different form in dim sum menus. You can eat it just like that with chilli sauce or cut it into pieces, lightly toss it in cornflour and pan fried until the outside sports a slightly crisp crusting.
This is a favourite breakfast dish of mine, and I have been trying to perfect it for quite some time already, hence my fifth attempt. It didn’t turn out bad at all. It is comfort food for me, and is easy to eat for older folk (minus the Chinese sausage), the dentally challenged or the convalescing. You could serve it as a side dish in place of carbs for a bold east-west fusion meal.
Traditional Cantonese Radish Cake
‘Lor Bak Gou’
Makes an 22cm x 22 cm pan
I large (about 600g) white radish, grated
3 cups water
2 Chinese sausages, finely diced
1 tbsp dried prawns, soaked in tap water to soften, then pound
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 Chinese mushrooms, soaked then finely diced
120g minced pork
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp five spice powder
1 Tbsp cooking wine / mirin
300g rice flour
75g tapioca flour
1/2 tsp alkaline water (ideal, but not essential)
2 generous tsp salt
1 tsp chicken stock powder
1/2 tsp pepper
Marinade for pork
1-2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp Chinese cooking wine or Japanese mirin
White pepper to taste
1/2 tsp cornflour
• Mix the mince pork with the marinade ingredients and set aside for at least 15 mins.
• Boil the grated radish in the 3 cups of water until cooked and softened – about 20 mins. Place radish on a plate.
• Add tap water to the water in which the radish was cooked to make up a total of 4 cups of liquid. Set aside.
• Combine all the batter ingredients and add the 4 cups of liquid to it. Mix until it is smooth and pour the batter through a sieve to get rid of lumps. Set it aside.
• Heat about 1 Tbsp of oil in a pan and saute the garlic and dried prawns for 2-3 mins until fragrant, then add in the mushrooms, Chinese sausage and mince pork. Stir fry briefly then add in the soy sauce and cooking wine. Continue to fry until the pork is cooked through – about 5 mins.
• Stir the batter and pour it into the pan with the pork mixture. Cook, stirring often, until the batter has thickened and coats the back of your spoon.
• Pour it into a pan and steam over high flame for 45 mins, until batter has set.
• You can serve it hot. If you’re planning to keep it for another day, let it cool completely before putting it in the fridge. It should keep for up to 3 days max.