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6 Steps to Delicious Turnip Cakes

So, this post isn't directly about writing. But, hey, it's Chinese New Year, which means I get to eat and make my favorite new year dish—turnip cakes. It's a bit of a misnomer because they're not actually made with turnips, at least not the American kind, but with daikon radishes. You can buy them in dim sum restaurants, of course, but nothing beats the flavor of home made turnip cakes. They're popular as a Chinese New Year food because they symbolize "good omen", and luck is a HUGE theme for the most important Chinese festival of the year.

Here's my 6 steps to delicious turnip cakes. They're a bit time consuming to make, but not difficult. If you're interested in trying to make your own, I included a simplified recipe in my Chinese New Year themed picture book, Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas. See? I did bring it around to books and writing! The recipe in the book was taken, with permission, from the mmm-yoso!! blog, which I've used to great success for years. You can get the full recipe there.

1) Simmer and soften grated daikon radish in a pot of boiling water for 15 mins.

2) In the meantime, dice 3 or 4 chinese sausages, and 2 stalks green onions. Brown these in a skillet with oil. Add 1 tsp. dried shrimp if desired - I skip this ingredient because my kids don't like it.

3) When daikon radish is cooked, let cool for 10 mins. Remove from pot and place in a measuring cup with water to make about 3 cups.

4) In a large bowl, mix rice flour with sugar, salt and white pepper. Add the Chinese sausage & green onions.

5) Place in a baking dish and steam covered in a large pot (I use my turkey roasting pan) for 40 mins.

6) When the turnip cakes are cooked (it should be firm and not runny), let cool, then slice into squares and fry in oil, browning on both sides. I like mine really crunchy.

Note: turnip cakes can be eaten steamed at any other time of the year, but is traditionally, fried on Chinese New Year as white is the color of death and is considered bad luck for the new year.

Kung Hei Fat Choi! Let me know in the comments below how you celebrated Chinese New Year.

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