Turnip Cake

Turnip Cake

I’m a huge fan of savory pancakes for dinner. Much more so than I am pancakes with maple syrup for breakfast. And this recipe is one of my favorites. It’s my Japanese influenced take on a popular Chinese dim sum, Turnip Cake. No actual turnips, though. My version is loaded with daikon radish and Chinese sausage, and it’s so flavorful it doesn’t even need a dipping sauce.

turnip cake ingredients

Make the Turnip Cake Batter

I start by prepping the dried shrimp, Chinese sausage, and daikon radish. The dried shrimp add a pop of briny funk, and the Chinese sausage bring its characteristic smoky sweetness.

There are two main kinds of dried shrimp you will find at the Asian grocery stores. One is kind of like shrimp jerky: hard and kind of chewy. I use this type of dried shrimp frequently when I want a light shrimpy flavor but also that toothsome texture. But today we are using a different kind of dried shrimp. This dried shrimp is kind of papery and translucent. It’s mostly shell, there’s no real “meat” to it, and it has a deeper ocean flavor. If you’ve tried Asian shrimp chips before (my personal kryptonite), this is that flavor. I like to toast the shrimp for a couple of minutes which which gives the shrimp a more complex, less fishy scent.

If you can’t find Chinese sausage, you could sub with another smoked sausage, bacon, or ham and it would still be delicious. But the sausage is so good, it’s worth seeking out. We only use one link out of the package. But you can freeze the rest until you are ready to use it. It’s great in my Coconut Curry Noodles, grilled and served in tart Thai style salads, or even pan seared and served for breakfast with a couple of eggs.

fragrant turnip cake

sausage turnip cake

Combine the sausage, daikon, and shrimp in a large bowl. Add the minced scallions.

Once these ingredients are prepped, it’s time to make the turnip cake batter. I add all purpose flour and also some glutinous rice flour, also called mochi or sweet rice flour. It adds a fun chewy texture. The liquid in the daikon is enough to turn the flour into a thick batter.

Cook the Turnip Cake

I like to make one big turnip cake, and then cut it into wedges. That way it’s all cooked at once and ready to devour! We want this to get really nice and crispy, so it’s important to start with a hot pan. Heat it first, then add oil so that the oil doesn’t smoke and get bitter.

I like my turnip cake extra crispy, so I add a little sesame oil to the pan and then cook it for an extra minute or two on both sides.

Then all that’s left to do is cut this gorgeous baby into wedges and serve!

Get on the pancakes for dinner train, and give this deeply savory and crispy Turnip Cake a try! Let me know what you think by rating and commenting on the recipe below. And don’t forget to show off your creations by tagging us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love hearing from you.



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recipe turnip feature

Turnip Cake

  • Author: Funky Asian Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4
  • Category: small plates
  • Cuisine: Japanese


  • 10 ounces daikon radish 
  • 4 Tablespoons (40 grams) glutinous rice flour
  • 4 Tablespoons (35 grams) all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons dried baby shrimp (the translucent papery kind)
  • 1 link dried chinese sausage, about 2 ounces
  • 2 scallions minced
  • 1 Tablespoon neutral oil


  1. Place the baby shrimp in a small dry skillet and heat over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, tossing regularly. You should smell a deep oceany scent. Take off of the heat and set aside to cool.
  2. Cut the sausage in half lengthwise and then into thin slices across to yield little half moon pieces. Set aside.
  3. Trim and peel the daikon. Next, grate the daikon into a bowl. You can use the extra fine setting on a mandoline or the small holes on a standard box grater. 
  4. Pour the grated daikon into a colander and let the excess juice drain off. Put the daikon back in the bowl.
  5. Add the glutinous rice flour, flour, salt, dried shrimp, Chinese sausage, and scallion to the bowl and mix well with a spatula. 
  6. Heat a medium 10” non-stick skillet over medium heat for several minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and tilt the skillet to coat the pan.
  7. Scrape the daikon mixture into the pan with a wooden spoon or spatula and shape it into a round pancake about ¾” thick.
  8. Use the spatula to smooth the surface of the cake as well as all around the edge.
  9. Cook for about 3-4 minutes until the bottom has a nice browned color. 
  10. Use a flat spatula to loosen the cake and pick it up. Then carefully flip the cake over to the other side. Cover the skillet with a lid and cook for 3 minutes.
  11. Take off the lid and cook for another minute.
  12. Lift the pancake and add the sesame oil to the pan. Flip the pancake again and cook for another minute. I like the crust super crispy so I usually flip the pancake yet again and cook for another minute-cooking both sides of the pancake twice.
  13. Transfer the turnip cake to a cutting board. Cut it into 8 wedges like a pizza.
  14. Transfer the turnip cake to a serving plate and serve.



*This pancake is highly seasoned and does not need a sauce. However, you can serve it with a little chili paste if you like a little kick. 

*It is important to use the papery dried baby shrimp which are light and salty and not the dried baby shrimp that are like shrimp jerky. If you can only find the jerky style baby shrimp, soak them in warm water for 15-20 minutes, drain the water, and roughly chop them before adding them to the batter. 

*If you do not have any chinese sausage feel free to substitute Japanese style smoked sausages, bacon, ham, or even a small amount of kielbasa style sausages.

Keywords: mochi flour, savory pancakes, daikon radish, appetizers, snacks

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