Sunday, October 3, 2010

Daikon Radish Cake (Lo Bo Gao)

Another dim sum staple. Many moons ago (circa 1986), my grandmother did a test run of this recipe on one of her weekend cookfests at my apartment in Montebello. It was fantastic, and of late I've been striving, out of nostalgia, to duplicate her perfect rendition. After much trial and error, I've come to the conclusion that too much rice flour makes the radish cake one tough cookie. So here's the refined version:

1 large or 2 medium daikon radishes, peeled & shredded (to make 10 cups) 
10 cups water
2 slices bacon, chopped
1/4 cup finely diced ham
4-5 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water, stems removed & diced (1/2 cup)
1 tbsp. dried shrimp, soaked in hot water & minced
3 scallions, diced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
3 tbsp. fried shallots
2 tsp. rice wine
2  tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. white pepper
2 cups rice flour
2 cups water
2 tbsp. vegetable oil

Chinese sweet hot mustard
Sriracha or sambal
Oyster sauce

1. Shred radish and place in medium pan with 10 cups of water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to simmer and cook about 20-30 minutes until radish is tender, then strain.

2. Place shiitake mushrooms and dried shrimp in bowl and cover with hot tap water. Soak for at least 30 minutes.

3. Chop scallion, cilantro, bacon, softened mushroom caps & dried shrimp. Set aside.

4. Heat 2 tbsp. vegetable oil in skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon & cook about 2 minutes until bacon is rendered and slightly browned. 

5. Add diced mushrooms, ham, chopped dried shrimp, cilantro, scallions, dried shallots, rice wine, sugar, & white pepper. 

6. Lower heat to medium and add shredded daikon radish. Add 2 tsp. kosher salt (taste to check for saltiness)  & mix well. Turn off heat.

7. In medium bowl, add 2 cups of rice flour and 2 cups of water. Consistency of rice flour mixture should be like that of a medium-thin pancake batter.

8. Pour rice flour mix into daikon radish mixture. Pour into two 9" loaf pans.

9. Bring steamer up to a rolling boil over high heat. Place loaf pans in steamer, cover, reduce heat to medium and steam for about 1 hour. Remove radish cake pans from steamer and let cool to room temp. 

10. Invert pan on chopping board to remove radish cake. Slice cake into 1/2" slices. Heat 1 tsp. of vegetable oil in skillet over high heat. Add radish cake slices and cook about 2-3 minutes per side until lightly browned (cover pan if necessary). 

11. Serve with Chinese hot mustard, light soy, oyster sauce, or chili sauce (sweet chili sauce, sambal olek, or Sriracha)

This is Daikon radish, in its unrefined state.

Here it is, peeled.

Cut the sucker in half for easier handling.

Shred, shred, shred.

Add 10 cups of water to the shredded diakon in a pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook 20-30 minutes until radish is tender.

Dried shrimp, fried shallots & Shaoshing wine.

Dried shiitake mushrooms. In this recipe use 4 large, or 5 medium shrooms.

Soak dried shrimp & shiitake mushrooms in hot tap water (about 30 minutes) to soften.

Seasonings, clockwise from bottom left: sugar, fried shallots, Shaohsing or rice wine, kosher salt, white pepper.

Scallions & cilantro.

Dice the bacon.

Strain the daikon radish.

Clockwise from bottom left: chopped dried shrimp, scallions, cilantro, bacon, shiitake mushrooms.

Cook bacon about 2 minutes, until lightly browned.

Add diced ham.

Add mushrooms, chopped ham, scallion, cilantro, fried shallots, dried shrimp & seasonings.

Add shredded daikon.

Season with salt & stir well.

Mix in 2 cups of water to the rice flour. 

Rice flour mixture should be the consistency of a medium-thin pancake batter.

Pour rice flour batter into daikon mixture.

Pour the whole thing into two 9" loaf pans.

Ready for the steamer.

Prepare your steamer.

Steam over medium heat for 1 hour.

Remove from steamer and let cool to room temperature. If not serving right away, cool, cover and place in frig.

When cooled, slice into 1" thick slices.

Heat 1 tsp. oil in skillet & brown radish cake slices on both sides. 

Good condiments are oyster sauce, light soy, Chinese hot mustard, sweet chili sauce, and Sriracha chili sauce.

Crispy on the outside, super tender on the inside...Lo Bo Gao freezes well - just wrap tightly in plastic wrap & put in a ziploc bag & pop into the freezer.


  1. Looks delicious! I feel inspired to try making this! Thanks for sharing :)

  2. You're welcome! It's actually pretty easy to make and better than store-bought, which can be bland and chewy.