8 dried whole shiitake
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
3 spring onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons shaoxing wine
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar
½ daikon (approx 400g), peeled and grated (approx 2 packed cups)
1 teaspoon salt
150g rice flour (approx 1 cup)
¼ cup hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
3 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
1 teaspoon hot sauce
4 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
4 baby cucumbers
1 packet frozen bao
oil for frying
coriander leaves for garnish
2-3 tablespoons roasted peanuts, roughly chopped

Turnip cake (law bok gow) or more accurately radish cake, is a popular component at yum cha venues and is especially popular at Chinese New Year. Normally it would have dried shrimp and/or Chinese sausage added to the mix. Steamed then fried and served with a chilli sauce or hoisin-based sauce and eaten as is, it’s a deliciously simple dish. I thought it would be a brilliant component for a vegetarian bao.


1.Soak the shiitake in 1 cup of boiling water and leave to soak for at least 20 minutes.
2.Drain and reserve the water.
3.Remove and discard the mushroom stems then finely dice.
4.Heat the oil in a pan and gently fry the spring onions and shiitake for a few minutes.
5.Add the shaoxing wine, sesame oil and sugar and set aside in a large bowl.
6.Add the daikon to the pan along with 1 cup water and the reserved mushroom liquid.
7.Cook for 15 minutes or until the daikon is tender.
8.Drain, reserving any cooking liquid and allow to cool.
9.Put the daikon into the bowl with the mushrooms and spring onions, add the salt and rice flour.
10.Measure the reserved cooking liquid and top up with water to 1 cup of liquid.
11.Stir through the mix until it is smooth but thick.
12.Oil a small loaf or cake tin,line with baking paper and press the mix into the tin.
13.Steam for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the mix comes out clean. It will be slightly gelatinous on top.
14.Allow to cool before removing from the tin. It will keep in the fridge for a few days.
16.Combine all the ingredients and add a dash of water to thin to a drizzling consistency.
18.Mix together the rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a small bowl.
19.Thinly slice the cucumbers lengthwise and add to the bowl.
20.Leave for at least 15 minutes before using.
22.Steam the bao according to packet directions.
23.Cut the turnip cake into 1cm slices (and if very wide, cut into half again) and fry in oil for 2-3 minutes each side until golden.
24.Put a piece of turnip cake in each bao, top with cucumber pickle and some hoisin peanut sauce.
25.Garnish with coriander and some chopped nuts.

Recipes & Food Styling Ginny Grant / Photography Aaron Mclean / Styling Fiona Lascelles

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