International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Law Bok Gow

Law Bok Gow Recipe (Chinese steamed radish cake)

(Chinese steamed radish cake)

Image Creative Commons by Perry Marco

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Average: 4 (8 votes)

Law bok gow is a favorite Cantonese dim sum treat, especially popular during Chinese New Year celebrations. Usually called daikon, turnip or radish cake in English, it is really more of a savory pudding. The recipe below is very basic, but law bok gow is normally studded with savory garnishes and lightly fried on both sides until golden brown. Sometimes spelled lo bark goh.

6 to 8 servings as dim sum

Ingredients

  • Large daikon radish, peeled -- 2 pounds
  • Rice flour -- 2 cups
  • Water -- 1 cup
  • Soy sauce -- 1 tablespoon
  • Sugar -- 2 teaspoons
  • Salt -- 1 teaspoon
  • White pepper -- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Optional garnishes (see variations) -- 1/2 to 3/4 cup
  • Vegetable or peanut oil -- 2 to 3 tablespoons

Method

  1. Finely grate the daikon into a large bowl. In another bowl, add the rice flour and stir in 1/2 cup of the water until a smooth thick batter forms. Next stir in the grated daikon, soy sauce, sugar, salt, white pepper and any optional garnishes. Add enough of the remaining water to make a pourable batter.
  2. Grease a loaf pan or a 9-inch square cake pan and pour in the batter, smoothing the top.
  3. Set a rack in a wok or pot large enough to hold the pan and put 2 to 3 inches of water in the bottom. Make sure the rack is above the water. Place the pan on top of the rack and bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat.
  4. Cover the wok or pot tightly, reduce heat to medium low and steam for 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 hours. Check the water level occasionally to keep it from drying out. The radish cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove the pan, wrap with plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate until well chilled.
  5. Invert the pan onto a cutting board and slice the cake into squares. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan and sauté the squares on each side until lightly browned. Serve warm with soy sauce or oyster sauce for dipping.

Variations

  • Optional Garnishes: add any or all of these garnishes to your law bok gow for a more flavorful experience. Lightly sauté the ingredients in some oil or lard and then stir them into the batter once they have cooled.
    • 3 scallions, finely chopped
    • 2 Chinese sausages, chopped into small pieces
    • Dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water until soft, drained and finely chopped
    • Dried shrimp, soaked in hot water 30 minutes, drained and finely chopped
    • Cilantro, chopped
  • The grated daikon is sometimes simmered for about an hour first and then drained and squeezed before adding it to the batter.

Notes

  • Make sure to use long-grain rice flour for this recipe. Do not use short-grain, or glutinous, rice flour.

Comments

hi, i have tried to make law bok gow 4 times now and each time is the same, i steam them over a wok in a steamer basket for over 2 hours and they are not setting, they still have the same batter consistency as in the beginning. any idea what is going on? i have tried changing the types of rice flour and it is not glutinous.

Try substituting one cup of rice flour with one cup of tapioca starch. Also use fresh crisp turnips, old limp one are too dry and loose flavor. Try using gentle steam instead of hard boil, it can take 90 minutes. Then even though batter consistency is too liquid after cooking, set in refridge over night before trying to slice. If that does not help use smaller pan, like american pie pan and pour batter in only one inch deep. In Santa Rosa our only Dim Sum restaurant makes low bok gow only about 3/4 inch thick. I am trying it now as we speak in an American bread loaf pan to see if I can slice it like bread to fry it. I hope my suggestions help you. Low Bok Gow is too delicious to give up on. :)