Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Festive Recipe Re-interpreted

Loh Bak Goh 蘿蔔糕, or as CYY calls it, “Robert Go”, is one of those festive dishes we eat during Chinese New Year. Made with shredded white radish (or turnip or daikon) plus a number of other ingredients in a rice flour-based batter and steamed in a deep dish, the dish symbolizes growth (with the word “goh” 糕 sounds like high, or 高 in Chinese). It's often called "Turnip Cake" in English or as Singaporean would say, "Carrot Cake" - but regardless of names, they are all referring to the same thing.

Well, before you keep reading on thinking I am going to share my recipe for the traditional Loh Bak Goh, you may be disappointed, because I have never made nor I know how to make one. (but if you really want to try, you can check out my friend Dorothy’s recipe on her page)

Instead here’s a recipe for my re-interpretation of Loh Bak Goh, based on the ingredients used in the traditional version but in the form of a savory, puffy pancake known as "Dutch Baby". It’s slightly different than the conventional pancake as it’s puffed and prepared in an oven, something like a hybrid of pancake and Yorkshire pudding, and can be served sweet or savory. I am using the filling of daikon, shiitake, dried shrimps and cured sausages, but you can always substitute with just about any ingredients you feel like, and it’s good for any meal of the day, I reckon. (And I shall call this “Robert’s Dutch Baby” - ha ha)

In case you wondered, no it doesn't taste the same as the real thing. But it's very good as it is, while keeping the spirit of the traditional version in a totally different form. I am quite satisfied with this creation.


Robert’s Dutch Baby (Puffy Pancake with Daikon, Dried Shrimps and Cured Sausages) (serves 2-4)

Ingredients:

Filling
  • 250g Japanese daikon or Chinese white radish, julienned into match-stick shapes
  • 2 Chinese sausages – there are many types so feel free to use any you like. I used one lap cheong 臘腸 (made with pork and fat) and one yun cheong 膶腸 (made with duck liver). 
  • 3-4 pieces of medium shiitake mushrooms, soaked in water then remove stalks and cut the rest into thin slices.
  • Handful or 1 tablespoon of dried shrimps (around 8-10), soaked in water, rinsed and chopped
  • Handful of green onions, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
Batter
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup of whole milk
  • ½ cup of all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon of corn starch
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Others
  • 2 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 teaspoon of roasted white sesame seeds (optional)
  • Sriracha and/or Hoisin Sauce (optional)


Steps:

1. In a mixing bowl, sprinkle salt into the julienned daikon, mix well and set aside for 15-minutes. Remove the excess water.
2. Pre-heat the oven to 210C. Place a 8-inch cast-iron deep skillet (or au gratin pan) in the oven and heat up for at least 20 minutes.
3. In the meantime, using a frying pan on a stove in medium heat, put vegetable oil in, then the rest of the filling ingredients except half of the green onions (set that aside for garnish). Mix well, stir-fry until the daikon is softened and turned translucent, about 8-10 minutes. Turn off the heat, remove any excess water from the pan and then set aside.
4. For the batter, mix wet (egg and milk) and dry (flour and corn starch) ingredients in separate mixing bowls, then mix both together and whisk to combine completely until smooth and no visible lumps. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Use an oven mitt, remove the skillet from the oven and placed on the counter while leaving the oven on at the original temperature.
6. Put the butter in the skillet, swirl (don’t forget to hold with the oven mitt) until the butter was completely melted and coated the entire bottom of the skillet.
7. Pour batter into the skillet, then scatter the filling over the top in the center. Put the skillet back into the oven and bake until the sides are puffed and slightly burned and the middle was cooked through (about 25-30 minutes). Check occasionally to make sure it won't over-burn. Remove the skillet, then garnish with white sesame seeds, the rest of green onions and sriracha/hoisin sauce. Serve immediately but cutting the Dutch Baby into wedges and put in individual small plates.




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