How to Make Pan Fried Turnip Cake

How to Make Pan Fried Turnip Cake

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Makes: 1 Cake | Prep Time: 2 Hours | Cook Time: 1 Day
Adapted From: The Food of China: A Journey for Food Lovers

Fried turnip cake is made from grated turnips combined with dried shrimp, mushrooms and Chinese sausage. In the dim sum hall, turnip cake is typically sold by attendants pushing hot griddles on carts who freshly prepare each dish to order before serving with oyster sauce.

Back when I was a child, I remember my family buying turnip cakes sold as blocks in aluminum trays from stores in New York Chinatown. We’d bring the large cake home and then cut slices off to fry for breakfast through an entire week.

The benefit of eating fried turnip cake at home, whether purchased from a store or homemade, is that you have more control of what’s in the filling. At home, you end up with more of the “good stuff” — the turnip, Chinese sausage. mushrooms and dried shrimp — and less of the rice flour filler.

Can you share any expert tips from your experience making pan fried turnip cake? Want to ask a question before you try making it yourself? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!

Pan Fried Turnip Cake Recipe

Makes: 1 Cake | Prep Time: 2 Hours | Cook Time: 1 Day
Adapted From: The Food of China: A Journey for Food Lovers


2 pounds Chinese turnip, grated
1 ounce dried shrimp
2 cups dried Chinese mushrooms
5 1/2 ounces Chinese sausage
1 tablespoon oil
3 green onions, thinly sliced
3 teaspoons sugar
3 teaspoons Shaoxing rice wine
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
2 tablespoons cilantro
1 2/3 cups rice flour
cooking oil


1. Cover the turnip with boiling water in a large bowl and let sit for 5 minutes. Drain the turnip, reserving the liquid, and cool. Squeeze out any excess liquid and set aside.

2. Soak the dried shrimp in hot water for one hour, then drain, adding any remaining liquid to the reserved turnip water.

3. Soak the mushrooms in hot water for 30 minutes, then drain, adding any remaining liquid to the reserved turnip water. Remove the stems and dice finely.

4. Steam the sausage on a plate in a bamboo steamer for 10 minutes. Remove and dice finely.

5. Heat a wok over high heat, add the oil and return to high heat. Stir fry the sausage for 1 minute, then add the shrimp and mushrooms and stir fry for 2 minutes. Add the spring onion, sugar, rice wine, pepper, turnip, coriander and rice flour, tossing to combine. Add 2 cups of the reserved turnip, shrimp and mushroom liquid, mixing well.

6. Place the mixture in a greased 10 inch square cake pan (or smaller pans if your steamers are small). Cover and steam the pan in a wok for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours or until firm, replenishing the boiling water as it runs low in the wok.

7. Remove the pan and refrigerate overnight. Remove the cake from the pan and cut into 2 inch squares that are 1/2 inch thick.

8. Heat a wok over high heat, add 2 tablespoons of oil and heat until very hot. Fry the turnip cake until both sides are golden and crispy. Serve immediately.

Learn more about Pan Fried Turnip Cake from these Experts

Jeffrey Pang shares a homemade take on Pan Fried Turnip Cake (VIDEO)
The good folks at Epicurious share a Pan Fried Turnip Cake recipe with background information
Yi over at Yi Reservation contributes his Pan Fried Turnip Cake

HT: Photo by The London Foodie.

2 Responses

  1. Henry Ng

    The ratio of liquid to flour in this dish is paramount, yet you seem to not have it in your recipe. You could wind up with turnip cakes that are rock hard or something that won’t hold together. Sorry, not trying to be critical, just trying to help.

    • Dim Sum Central

      Hi Henry, thanks for your note. Are you referring to the 2 cups of liquid specified in Step 5? What’s the ratio and/or consistency you generally aim for? ~Wes

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