Monday, April 5, 2010

Jade: Bitemyturnip

One of the things that kept me sane in my 3rd year were the frequent visits to the local dimsum joint with the girls. For those 2 hours, we would forget about looming exams and horrendous consultants and just be girls. There was an almost ritualistic feel to those afternoons that was remarkably comforting~we would start off with a small cup of chinese tea, necessary in dreary british weather, chat over fried pastries and the occasional plate of roast duck..and finally have full-blown discussions about the most random things while savouring hot steamed dumplings and glistening chee cheong fun. We're in final year now, and while the conversations remain riveting, a 2-hour lunch is a luxury we can no longer afford...not when there are past year papers to be done and journal articles to be critically appraised. What I could and did do, however, was steam my own little dimsum between revision sessions, of course ;)

Lor Bak Gou~Daikon/turnip cake [Adapted from TasteofHongKong]

1kg turnip, peeled, grated and left to drain in a colander
150g rice flour
25g corn flour
1 piece lap cheong [optional, but it really does add to the flavour]
4 pieces dried mushrooms, soaked and roughly chopped
small handful dried scallops, soaked and flaked
20g dried shrimp, rinsed and roughly chopped
1 shallot, thinly sliced
**1 1/4 cup liquid

1/4 tsp fish sauce
1/4tsp sugar
1/4 tsp shaoxing wine

1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp fish sauce
few dashes white pepper

1. Prep your steamer
2.** Reserve juices drained from the grated turnip as well as the soaking juices for the mushrooms and scallops. Make it up to 1 1/4 cup and set aside

3. Marinade mushrooms, scallops and dried shrimp in fish sauce, sugar and wine
4. In a large wok, heat up some oil, I used lard because I had some around. Fry the shallots till they turn a light golden brown, add the marinated mushroom mixture, and fry till fragrant
5. Add the drained turnip and fry for about 5-7 minutes, until they turn translucent and a lovely shade of gold
6. In the meantime, add the reserved liquid to the rice flour and corn flour and whisk till you get a fairly thin batter
7. When the turnip is ready, lower the heat, and pour in the flour batter, stirring as you go along
8. Season to taste and keep stirring until the whole mix starts to resemble thick, sticky, mashed potatoes
9. Grease a baking tin, scoop in your cake mixture and level out the top
10. Steam over high heat for about an hour.
*I didn't have a steamer, so I attempted to construct one using a large pan filled with briskly boiling water, a cookie rack, and my baking tin covered tightly with tin foil. Didn't work very well and I wasn't about to let all that grating go to pot, so I poured some boiling water into a large roasting tin, preheated the oven to 150 degrees, transferred my batter-filled tin into the water bath, foil covering intact and oven steamed it for about an hour or so. Worked like a charm.
11. Let it cool completely before cutting as it's very soft when it's still hot
12. Either enjoy it as is, and believe me, it's delicious enough..or, for that something extra, pan fry it with a little oil so you get a little piece of heaven that is crisp, slightly charred on the outside...and soft, almost creamy on the inside..

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