蘿蔔糕 – my kind of holiday food

Tis the season for 蘿蔔糕! The spousal unit (SU) harvests the daikons (蘿蔔) in the fall, and it’s generally late November or December by the time we get around to cooking with them.

Get a load of these giants; I put a ruler in for scale. They usually grow huge, so this is no reflection of SU’s gardening prowess.

To make this special dish–so special that my mom never made it and my aunt, her sister, always complained about how much work it was to make–you shred the daikon and mix in rice flour plus some savory stuff that’s been diced and fried. Typically, it’s dried shrimp, Chinese sausage, and re-hydrated, marinated shiitake mushrooms. Once all mixed, you dish the goopy mixture into a pan to steam. Because we inherited about 4 glass pie pans after my MIL died, we tend to use pie pans for this step.

We steam each pan in the wok.

And once steamed, the mixture changes opacity.

If you want to see a couple more photos, SU has some on his Twitter feed.

You could eat that as is, or, the way SU prefers, slice it and pan fry it to give it a crisp exterior. We drizzle Hoisin sauce to give that that extra umami kick. And here in my dish, I also topped it with Chinese Mahogany Sauce, which, thanks to my sister buying me a couple of jars, I am addicted to.

Sadly, I’ve not been able to find a source for the sauce here in the U.S. So, Kid1, a grad student in botany, ordered some toon (in the mahogany family) seedlings. We planted them and one day soon, we can hope to recreate this sauce. Hope is the operative word.

What is your special holiday food? Share with me on Twitter!

Tis the season…part 2

Last week, we drooled over freshly baked Stolle de Noel. This week, I’m sharing with you a dish that we always make this time of year, too, but for a different reason.

蘿蔔糕 is a traditional Chinese dish that you can often find at dim sum.

My aunt, who was an excellent cook, made one of the best ones I’d ever had. She taught the recipe to hubby a number of years back, and we’d make it sporadically. But then he started growing his own daikon (called turnip above; the two only diverge at the genus level and are in the Brassicaceae family).

Daikons are ready to be harvested in late fall/early winter. So when they are ready, hubby harvests them and we make this wonderful dish of my youth.

hubby peeling some of the daikon (half are still in the sink for me to wash)
the 蘿蔔糕, all steamed up (that is, cooked)
then pan-fried the next day for dinner…topped with hoisin and XO sauce, accompanied by homegrown long beans

Mmmm mmmm good!

Not to be confused with “neen go” (or “nian gao” in Mandarin transcription), this is savory and not a New Year’s dish.