turnip cakes

Turnip Cakes with Dipping Sauce and Wasabi Oil Recipe

Turnip cakes are pure hipster food.

What a pity we can’t find them in Kosher Sushi Restaurants! they are so much fun: Turnip Cakes are a Chinese Dim Sum dish made of shredded turnip and radish  and rice flour.

Turnip cakes are steamed, then chilled and cut into cubes.

They start by being just a bland gelatinous cube, but wait till you dip it in sauce and drizzle it with wasabi oil. This plays right into my favorite subject: Cooking with serious ingredients, and ending up with a delicious and fun dish! I have streamlined the recipe to make it ideally easy. I even tried to do away with the initial cooking part, but got gummy results, so this is the way to go!

You will glad to have a bamboo steamer:

Easy to find and very inexpensive!

You can dress up turnip cakes all you want, by including some of the optional ingredients I have listed: Add something different each time, and enjoy a variation each time!


  • A large piece daikon (about 1 pound)
  • 2 large turnips (about 1 pound total)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 cups rice flour
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • 21/2 cups water
  • Salt to taste
  • All optional: minced scallions, shitaki, flaked mocked crab, minced nappa cabbage, even minced smoked turkey. In any combination. 2-3 cups total

Wasabi oil

You will love to drizzle some on smoked salmon, hand rolls, seared tuna, and of course the above turnip cakes.


  • 1 cup wasabi powder
  • 1/4 cup mirin or sake
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 cup vegetable or olive oil


Blend all but last ingredient in a food processor until smooth. With the motor running, add the oil in a thin stream, using it all up. Store in a glass jar. Drizzle on sliced seared tuna, turnip cakes, grilled tofu etc…..


Grate the daikon and turnip very fine in a food processor. You will get about 4 cups packed. Bring to boil with the water, then reduce the flame to medium, and cook covered for 15 minutes.

Transfer the cooked mixture to a bowl, with the remaining ingredients. Pack the mixture into a round mold that will fit inside one of the tiers of a bamboo steamer.

Select a wok or skillet you can stand a bamboo steamer in. Bring water to boil in the skillet, to reach the bottom part of the skillet. Place the mold on the upper part of the steamer. Cover and cook about 45 minutes. It will look like a firm cake.

Alternatively, bake the mold at 325 degrees for 1 hour.

Refrigerate until firm, then cut in chunks. Eat as is, or sauté in a little oil 1 minute on each side. Serve with a very simple dipping sauce (a little soy sauce, grated ginger, rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil) or wasabi oil

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