Turnip Pancakes

While, in a fit of optimism, I’m looking springward and started my pepper and ‘mater seeds this week, its still the tail end of root veggie season and there remains a solid supply of local purple top turnips at my local grocer. The problem with root veggie season is that I always buy too many when I hit the store. Just something about turnips and rutabagas makes me think they should come in threes. I usually default to roasting them, which is delicious, but a mite boring by early March. After roasting turnips and rutabaga earlier this week, I had one big turnip left and decided to try something I had a dim sum joint, a turnip pancake. Of course I have no idea what was in that, but I couldn’t find anything online that seemed right. I decided to start with this adaptation of potato pancakes, which is probably more German than Cantonese, but, heh, sometimes food is pretty universal? Dunno. At any rate, I figured it didn’t need so much egg, so I tweaked it a bit. And illustrated the process…

Turnip Pancakes

1 large turnip, grated
1 small onion (or 1/2 medium one), grated
3 tbs flour
2 eggs
2 tbs salt
3 tbs oil

Use a big circular part of a bell grater on washed turnip and onion. Mix with salt in colander and let sit for at least 20 minute to draw out water.

Then press the water out of the turnips and onions using the biggest bowl that fits into the colander. You’ll probably have to then peel it off the bottom of the bowl. Repeat. It’s key to get as much water out as possible.

Beat flour and egg together. You can use the same bowl if its big enough to
fit everything. Then, mix in the turnips and onions one handful at a time, again squeezing out as much water as you can from each fistful. Mix together until texture is consistent. Should be like lumpy pancake batter.


Add 1 tbs oil to preheated frying pan on medium-medium high (gotta know yr equipment here). I use a lower heat and olive oil, but could be fun to try to get them crispier with a heavier oil and higher heat. Especially silver dollar style. Anyway, I ladled in 1/3 of the mixture into the pan. Then, checking the bottom to make sure it was firm and golden-brown, flipped the cake. If it doesn’t flip cleanly the first time, don’t worry, you can just squish it back into shape. Once both sides firm up, you can make a second or third flip until you are satisfied with the color. Put the crispy cake on a paper towel to draw off some oil. Add another tbs of oil to pan and repeat.



Add pepper and salt to taste. Has a certain sweetness that makes them great straight up. Also would be good with a variety of condiments, esp. sour cream, hoisin sauce, Sriracha, or (what I tried) Durham’s own Country Boy’s Hot Num Num Sauce.

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