Tag Archives: baked

Luóbosī bǐng – Turnip Strips Cake – 萝卜丝饼

Luó bo sī bǐng–Turnip strips cake (萝卜丝饼) is originated in Jiangsu Province, which is a popular pastry near the area around Suzhou, Wuxi and Jiangyin. The recipe of turnip strip cake varies due to different place and time period. People usually eat turnip strip cakes for breakfast since it provides both pastry and vegetable, which is healthier than the deep fried pastries. Turnip strips cake are can be easily find at the breakfast vendors, as well as in some traditional eateries. The most traditional way to bake the turnip strips cake is to put it in a coal stove. When the vendor picks out a piece with the long “pliers,” you will definitely be appealed by the smell of the turnip strips cakes. With the development of the cooking supplies, more and more eateries choose to use electronic oven for convenience, but most vendors on street still keep the coal stove. The common price for a turnip strip cake is about 1.5 kuai to 3.5 kuai.

Stuffing part:
Turnip, ham (preferred, or salted meat or fresh meat), spring onion;
lard oil, vegetable oil, salt, sugar, white pepper powder, spring onion.
Pastry part:
Flour, sesame, lard oil, vegetable oil, salt, water, yeast powder.

Cooking Method:
Stuffing Part:
1. Chop turnip into thin strips, put some salt into the turnip strips and wait for 10 mins to squeeze the water out.
2. Boil the vegetable oil and pour the hot oil on the chopped spring onion to make the spring onion oil.
3. Chop ham/salted meat/fresh meat into small granule, seasoning with a little cooking wine.
4. Mix the turnip strips, chopped ham or meat, spring onion oil and the lard oil, seasoning the mixture with salt, sugar and white pepper powder.
Pastry part:
1. Mix half of the flour with yeast powder and warm water. Let the dough rest for 30 mins.
2. Mix another half of the flour with the vegetable oil and the lard oil to make the oil pastry.
3. Make both of the dough and the oil pastry into thin pieces. The size of the dough should be twice larger than the oil pastry. Put the oil pastry in the middle, fold the two sides of the dough and then use the stick to roll the mixed dough into the original size.
4. Fold the mixed dough, and use the stick to roll it into the original size. Repeat at least three times.
5. Use the pastry to wrap the stuffing. Put some sesame on the top. Bake the raw turnip strip cakes in the coal stove or oven for 10-12mins.
* Lard oil is essential in this street food and most lard oil is hand-made by the vendors. They chop the raw leaf lard into small pieces and then boil that in water; when water get evaporated, the lard oil comes out and eventually it would become pure lard oil. People usually store lard oil just in bottle or bowl because it would be concrete so that it’s hard to go bad. The left cracklings, for some people, could be their favorite snake. Many of the famous food in Shanghai, like wonton(馄饨), bā bǎo fàn–Eight Treasures Rice(八宝饭)and etc. It’s also popular among southern China. Scientific research shows that lard oil contains high content of saturated fatty acids and cholesterol, which is good for health.

Recommended Place to Go:
East Gate Eatery 东门餐厅
Address: No. 2 Kangjia Lane, by Zhonghua Road, Huangpu district.
*Please notice that if the boss is not in a good mood or not satisfied with the quality of the ingredients, chances are that you might not get a turnip strip cake from him

Nowadays in Shanghai, the turnip strips cake is not the same as what people in Suzhou eat. The earliest version is to put the wet pastry in a small mould with the turnip strips, pour another layer of wet pastry on the top and then fry it, which is now called yóu dūn zǐ油墩子in Shanghai. Shanghai style turnip strips cake is a combination of the turnip stuffing with huáng qiáo shāo bǐng– Huangqiao sesame cake(黄桥烧饼), which is originated in Suqian, Jiangsu, so the Shanghai style turnip cake can keep both the golden brown flaky pastry and the juicy and tasty turnip stuffing. The turnip strips cake has been in fusion since it is introduced in Shanghai. One example is the fusion with the fried egg pancake from northeastern part of China, where people prefer to put stuffing like leek in the pastry. Instead of the flaky pastry, this type of turnip strips cake is thinner and crispier, because the plain pastry is fried. People first put a piece of pastry on the pan, then the turnip strips and the egg, and finally fold everything into a rectangle piece. Usually this kind of fried turnip strip are served with a special sauce.


Possible Variations:
luó bo sī jī dàn guàn bǐng–fried egg pancake with turnip strips stuffing
luó bo sī sū—turnip stirps puff, in Cantonese Dim Sum

Related Cuisine:
Jiangsu Cuisine, Shanghai Cuisine

Shao bing – Sesame seed cake – 烧饼

Shao bing is a flaky, round baked bread topped with sesame seeds, usually eaten as a breakfast or snack accompanied with soymilk or tea. It comes with a variety of sweet and savory fillings including red bean paste, black sesame paste, mung bean paste, meat or plain. Different types of shao bing are often associated with certain cities and towns.

Liu Ji, a famous scholar from the Ming Dynasty, wrote a song titled “Shaobing Song” or the “Pancake Poem” (燒餅歌) to the Hongwu Emperor. Because it is written in cryptic form, its meaning is hard to decipher, but it is believed that certain lines contain references to the future of China. Because most of the predictions since 1911 have been vague and inaccurate, some experts believe the work to be a hoax of recent production, designed to reassure people of the political climate after the Japanese invasion and rise of Communism.

The dough is made from flour, water, yeast, and either sugar or salt. It can be filled with various sweet or salty fillings and then topped with sesame seeds before being baked.

Cooking Method:
Yeast and warm water are mixed together before being combined with flour and salt/sugar. The dough is left to rise in a warm area before being transferred onto a floured surface where it is rolled out. Fillings are spread out on its surface and the dough is rolled and divided into smaller pieces. The dough is twisted standing up to form layers of dough and then balled up. Sesame seeds top each ball of filled dough to cover its top surface before being baked.

During the Tang Dynasty, Arab traders would travel between China and the West, spreading their Islamic culture including religion and cuisine. Chinese converts thus became known as the Hui people (Huízú), who are associated with this street food for their historical Islamic influences. The earliest record of shao bing was seen in a Chinese historical text, Zīzhì Tōngjiàn (“Comprehensive Mirror to Aid in Government”), a pioneering reference work in Chinese historiography in the form of a chronicle. The book mentioned several emperors during the Tang Dynasty, including one named Tang Xuan Zhong. He held the throne for the longest reign of the Tang Dynasty; however, he was better known for his love for his imperial concubine Yang Gui Fei 楊貴妃. The story goes that he was so lovestruck by his queen that he neglected his country, which caused people to want to murder her in order to gain back his attention. When the emperor found out, he took the queen to his palace to run away; but on the way there, they both got hungry. Tang Xuan Zhong’s prime minister, Yang Guo Zhong, who was also the elder brother of Yang Gui Fei, bought shao bing for the king. The street food gained popularity among locals once they found out about the emperor’s tasting of their cuisine.

Possible Variations:
dou sha xian bing – red bean pastry
niu rou xian bing – pan-fried beef pastry
liu dou xian bing – mung-bean pastry
hei zhi ma xian bing – black sesame filled pastry
hei zhi ma shao bing – black sesame on pastry

Related Cuisine:
Shandong Cuisine

Kǎo Dì Guā – Roasted Sweet Potato – 烤地瓜

For local Shanghainese, kǎo dì guā (Chinese: 烤地瓜) is a favorite street snack during colder months of the year. Vendors usually grow the potatoes themselves, and wheel around a modified barrel oven filled with coal to slowly roast them inside. Once the potatoes are done roasting, they are showcased on top of the heated iron bin usually alongside roasted corn on the cobs. Patrons can choose which potato they want before it is weighed and priced.

Traditional Chinese medicine encourages the consumption of kao di gua during winter because it helps the body remove the season’s dryness. They also are high in nutritional value, considering their fiber content, complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamin A and C, iron, and calcium.

When choosing the best sweet potato, those that have a wrinkly skin that gives in when poked with a finger are usually sweeter and more moist. The soft texture comes from the potato’s high sugar content.

Sweet potatoes are roasted without any additives for its natural sweetness forms during the roasting process.

Cooking Method:
Sweet potatoes are placed inside an iron barrel heated with coal at the bottom. After they are done roasting, they are showcased on the barrel’s heated lid.

In Jinan, the capital city of Shandong province in Eastern china, a story was told about the emperor Qianlong, and kao di gua. He lived to be 80 years old, making him the oldest emperor to live. Due to his old age, he began to suffer from constipation. His doctors tried many ways to cure his misery, but none succeeded. One day, he was lured into the royal dining room by the sweet aroma of sweet potato. He saw the eunuch roasting them, so he tried one and enjoyed it so much that he wanted to eat it everyday. Gradually, his constipation was cured. Today, this story is told as a solution to people’s constipation.

Related Cuisine:
Shandong Cuisine