When people go to Thailand, they often make sure they get to try Pad Thai. But many may not realize that at some of those Pad Thai vendors, there is another dish that is a hidden gem ordered only by locals: Kanom Pakkaad ขนมผักกาด, or stir fried turnip cakes. If you're not enticed by the sound of it, do read on because it didn't sound great to me initially either, but now it is one of my absolute fave.
What Exactly is Stir Fried Turnip Cake?
This is an immensely satisfying dish, loaded with umami. The "turnip cakes" refer to cubes of lo bak go, Chinese turnip cakes you often find at dim sum and during the Lunar New Year.
While you can find stir fried turnip cake (lo bak go) at most dim sum restaurants, the Thai style is a little bit different. Ours are stir fried with eggs, garlic chives, and beansprouts, the 3 ingredients that are also used in pad thai, this is why these two dishes are often sold by the same vendor.
*"Turnip cake" actually doesn't use turnip, but it uses daikon radish. It is also known as lo bak go, radish cake, daikon cake, or even Chinese carrot cake (but no, there is no carrot in it)!
But first, we gotta make the turnip cake
While you can use any turnip cake (lo bak go) for this recipe, even store bought ones, if you have time I recommend my mother-in-law's famous turnip cake recipe, because it is the best I've had anywhere.
After you've made the turnip cake, the stir frying part is a breeze. I must caveat it with the fact that MOST places that sell kanom pakkaad in Thailand will use turnip cakes that are relatively plain in comparison to my MIL's pimped out version which has dried scallops, dried shrimp, Chinese sausage and shiitake mushrooms.
On the street, the turnip cakes used may be plainly made with just daikon, or they may have a little bit of dried shrimp and/or shiitake mushrooms. I've seen some vendors add boiled peanuts, but there's definitely not gonna be any dried scallops involved!
So what I'm really saying is…my recipe is unlike anything you will find on the street, and in a good way!
Stir Fried Turnip Cake (lo bak go) - Thai Style
- Well seasoned wok or a nonstick pan
FULL VIDEO TUTORIAL
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- Slice the turnip cake into ¾-inch thick slices, then cut each slice into ¾-inch thick pieces.12.5 oz turnip cake (lo bak go)
- Combine the soy sauce and the sweet soy sauce together in a small bowl and stir to combine.2.5 teaspoons soy sauce, 2 teaspoons sweet soy sauce
- Heat a well-seasoned carbon steel wok or a nonstick pan over medium high heat, then add the oil. Once the oil is hot, place the turnip cakes cube on the pan in one layer and allow to sear without stirring until the underside is well browned, 2-3 minutes.2 tablespoons neutral oil
- Flip the turnip cake pieces and brown the other side, another 2-3 minutes.
- Once browned on both sides, crack the eggs into the pan (it can go right in between the turnip cake pieces) then break the yolks with your spatula. Use tongs or chopsticks and pickup the turnip cake pieces around the edges and put them on top of the eggs - we're trying to get some of the eggs to stick to the turnip cakes. (See video if you're confused by this) Turn the heat up to high and allow the eggs to cook without stirring until they are about halfway cooked.2 large eggs
- Using two spatulas, toss the eggs and the turnip cakes together until the eggs are fully cooked. Then add the beansprouts, garlic chives, then drizzle the sauce mixture over the veggies and give everything a toss for 30 seconds just until the bean sprouts are wilted, then off the heat.2 cups bean sprouts, 6 stems garlic chives
- Plate, and if you want, drizzle some sriracha hot sauce over the turnip cakes or serve the hot sauce on the side. Squeeze some fresh lime juice over and enjoy!Sriracha hot sauce, Lime wedges