“Turnip cakes are a classic Cantonese snack found on the menus of virtually every Chinese dim sum restaurant. They are typically made from grated mooli (Chinese white turnip), which has a pungent aroma and sharp taste that sweetens when cooked. ”
Soak the dried shrimps in warm water for 20 minutes to soften, then drain and roughly chop.
Peel and finely dice the shallots, then peel and coarsely grate the turnip. Finely slice the chives.
Heat 1 tablespoon of peanut oil in a wok over a medium heat. Add the dried shrimps and shallots and stir-fry until the shallots start to soften.
Stir in the minced pork and stir-fry for about 1 minute, or until the pork starts to brown. Season with a pinch of white pepper and a pinch of sea salt, then take it off the heat. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, mix the three flours together with 400ml water until completely combined. Set aside.
Pour 900ml of cold water into a large pan, grate in the stock cube and add the grated turnip, sugar, ¼ teaspoon of white pepper and ½ teaspoon of salt.
Bring to the boil, stirring continuously to prevent the ingredients from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Remove from the heat and stir in the pork mix.
Quickly stir the flour and water mix into the turnip pan, as it will start to thicken immediately.
Once combined, pour it into the foil containers and sit them in both layers of your steamer. Pop the lid on and set it over a medium–sized wok just less than half–filled with water, making sure that the base of the steamer doesn’t touch the water.
Steam for 40 minutes over a high heat. Add more water to the wok during cooking if needed – just be careful the steam doesn’t burn you. You can test if the cakes are cooked by pressing the tops – if they feel firm and springy and your finger doesn’t sink in, then they’re cooked. If the cakes give slightly, leave them in the steamer for an extra 10 minutes or so. (You can also insert a skewer into the middle of the cakes and if it comes out clean then they’re cooked.)
Allow the cakes to cool completely in the tins before gently tipping them out and slicing them into sections. Typically the cakes are served as 8cm squares, but for a party it’s also nice to slice them into smaller (4cm), bite-size cubes.
Place a wok over a medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of peanut oil and stir-fry the cake cubes until all the sides are nicely brown and crispy. Transfer to a serving plate.
In a small serving bowl, combine both chilli sauces. Serve the turnip cake cubes sprinkled with the finely chopped chives, with the chilli dipping sauce on the side.
You’ll need two 20 x 14cm foil baking containers and a bamboo steamer for this recipe. Hot sriracha chilli sauce is a classic dipping sauce, and is available from Tesco.