Pan-Fried Turnip Cake is delicious on its own, but it’s another level when stir-fry with XO sauce! The sauce has a deep umami flavors with a little kick. Combine with the sweet turnip cake and crunchy bean sprouts, you will not stop eating after taking one bite!
Turnip cake is an essential Chinese New Year food in Hong Kong and most Southern part of China. Most families would either make their own or buy some from restaurants. Lucky for my sister and I, my mom would make a few batches every year. Some were given to my uncles and the rest were for ourselves. Since I only got to have my mom’s cake once a year, I looked forward to it very much. In recent years, I use my mom’s recipe and make my own.
Turnip cake is very tasty, but after eating it (whenever you make turnip cake, you make a lot) for a week, it can get a little boring. Here is XO sauce to the rescue!
XO sauce is one of the most luxury Chinese condiments. It is mainly made with dried scallops, dried shrimps, chili peppers, shallot and garlic. Some add Chinese dried ham (Jinhua ham) as well. A jar of XO sauce is not cheap. For my 7.8-ounce jar, I spent US$17. But once you try it, you won’t regret spending the money. It has a deep savory and umami flavor with a little kick. It can be put on pretty much anything. They are especially good in fried rice, noodles and vegetables.
Pan-fried turnip cake with XO sauce is a quite well-known dim sum dish, but only some restaurants sell them. XO sauce and turnip cake are excellent match. They don’t take away from each other flavors, but make each other even better. In this dish, you get the savoriness from the sauce, the sweetness from the turnip cake, the crunchiness from the bean sprouts and the freshness from the green onion. There are so much flavors going on, and you just can’t get enough of. Bryan and I just couldn’t stop eating. It was that GOOD! This dish makes a great main course for dinner. I serve it with a side of vegetables. Since there is starch in the turnip cake, you don’t need rice or anything.
If you don’t have time to make your own turnip cake, you can get pre-made one in Chinese supermarkets. They sell them all year long!
Pan-Fried Turnip Cake with XO Sauce
- 5 ounces bean sprouts
- 1½ pounds turnip cake (cut into 1-inch cubes)
- 1 garlic clove (minced)
- 4 tablespoons XO sauce
- 3 green onion (cut into 1-inch length)
- Vegetable oil
- For the bean sprouts, remove the roots and leaves with fingers or scissors. Rinse the sprouts under water and drain. Set aside.
- In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Cook the turnip cake cubes in 2 batches and pan-fry until golden brown on all sides. Transfer to a large plate.
- In the same pan, add the bean sprouts and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often. Transfer to a sieve to drain.
- In a wok or large skillet over high heat, add 1 tablespoon oil. Add garlic and XO sauce. Stir for a minute. Add turnip cake. Mix well and cook for 1 minute. Add bean sprouts and green onion. Stir for 3 more minutes. Taste and add more xo sauce if desired. Transfer to serving plates. Serve immediately.
- If using homemade turnip cake, do not make this dish for the first 3 days. It's better to let the turnip cake sit in the fridge to harden. It will help to keep the turnip cake intact when pan-frying.
- If you do not have time to make your own turnip cake, you should be able to find some in Chinese supermarket.
- Turnip cake can be a bit delicate and soft. Flip carefully when cooking.
- The XO sauce I bought is from Lee Kum Kee. They have 2 versions. One regular and one extra hot. I got the regular. There are other XO sauce brands out there. It’s always a good idea to taste your sauce before using. You may have to adjust the amount you use depends on the brand and its spicy/salty level.