Lo bak go (White radish cake/蘿蔔糕)

Every household back home in Hong Kong is busy right now getting ready for Chinese New Year, because there’s always so much food to prepare for the biggest festival of the year.
 
From cooking, to decorating, to preparing lai si (red envelopes) to give away, it takes a lot of time, but the most interesting part of the preparation for me, of course, is the cooking part. Lo bak go, or white radish pudding, is definitely my favorite. You can not only enjoy it during CNY, but as an everyday treat with dim sum.

Makes 2 approx. 8×10 inch aluminum foil tins

Ingredients

  • Approximately 700 g (2 small or 1 large) white radish, peeled, trimmed, and shredded 
  • 150 g rice flour 
  • 4 tbsp wheat starch 
  • 2 lap cheong (Chinese sausage), rinsed and dried, thinly sliced 
  • 1/4 cup dried shrimp, soaked, washed, and roughly chopped
  • 1/6 cup salted radish, chopped (optional)
  • 1 large or 2 small shallots, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup to 1.5 cup water, depending on water content of white radish
  • White pepper to taste
  • Vegetable oil for cooking

Whisk flour and wheat starch together in mixing bowl and set aside.
 
Heat oil in wok or large Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Sauté shallot until translucent but not browned or crisp, about 1 minute. Add lap cheong, dried shrimp, and salted radish and sauté for another 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant. Transfer to small bowl and set aside.
 
Add shredded white radish and cook until tender and translucent, to point where most of the water content from radish has evaporated.
 
Add flour mixture and stir vigorously until fully incorporated. Lower heat to medium. Add 3/4 of the water to wok and stir to combine, adding 1/4 cup more at a time if mixture is too dry. You want a fairly sticky flour/radish mixture where it sticks to the spatula, almost like a cookie dough.
 
Once you get the right consistency, add the lap cheong mixture and use a spatula to mix it into the radish dough until well combined. Divide mixture evenly into 2 aluminum foil tins, gently pressing down into tin and smoothing surface with spatula. Steam on high heat for about 40 to 45 minutes.
 
Let cool slightly, then slice into inch-thick pieces and pan fry on medium-high heat until both sides are crisp and golden brown. Serve with chili sauce.
 
Alternatively, you can skip the pan frying and serve with light soy sauce and ground white pepper.

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