Often referred to as a turnip cake, this starchy dish actually doesn't have any turnip in it. Instead, daikon radish is grated and mixed into a batter of rice flour with shrimp and Chinese-style sausage. Josh Grinker of Kings County Imperial in Brooklyn soaks rice overnight and then blends it to form the starchy batter of this cake. After it's steamed, the cake is sliced and pan-seared for a beautiful contrast of textures with a crisp exterior and chewy center.
We know everyone might not have a steamer that will fit a loaf pan, but a makeshift steamer is really easy to fashion. Simply use a roasting pan, fit with a rack and covered in tinfoil, to steam the cake. Just be sure to check the water level every 20 minutes, refilling as needed.
To learn more, read "Something Sumthing."
Chinese Radish Cake
Recipe adapted from Josh Grinker, Kings County Imperial, Brooklyn, NY
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 20 minutes, plus overnight soaking and chilling time
Total Time: 2 hours and 20 minutes, plus overnight soaking and chilling time
2 cups jasmine rice
2 cups water
5 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
One 1½-pound daikon radish, peeled and coarsely grated
⅓ cup thinly sliced scallions, plus more for garnish
4 ounces peeled and deveined shrimp, small dice
⅓ cup diced Chinese-style sausage
Kosher salt, to taste
Hoisin sauce, for serving
1. In a medium bowl, cover the jasmine rice with the water, then soak overnight.
2. Line a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap and set up a steamer large enough to fit the loaf pan over a pot of simmering water. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil over medium heat. Sweat the daikon and scallions until translucent, 10 minutes, making sure it doesn't brown. Transfer the daikon to a bowl and let cool.
3. Return the pan to the heat with 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil. Add the shrimp and Chinese sausage, and cook until the shrimp is opaque, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the daikon and let cool.
4. In a blender, combine the soaked rice with the water it was soaked in and blend until smooth. Pour the puréed rice over the daikon mixture and stir until incorporated. Season with salt, then pour into the prepared loaf pan. Cover the top with another piece of plastic wrap. Steam, covered, until the radish cake is set, 90 minutes. Remove from the steamer and refrigerate overnight.
5. The next day, unwrap the radish cake and cut in half lengthwise, then cut into ½-inch slices. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, sear the slices, flipping once, until golden brown and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Arrange on a platter and drizzle with hoisin sauce. Garnish with sliced scallions and serve.