Chinese Carrot Rice Cake (Hu Luo Bo Gao – 胡萝卜糕) is a great variation on the more common and traditional Chinese Luo Bo Gao, or turnip cake made with daikon radish. This version uses carrots, which is a more familiar and easy-to-find vegetable, but yields a similar texture and a great color!
(Now, in case you’re wondering––for you Cantonese folks out there or anyone who frequents Chinatowns that can tend to be Cantonese dominant, the Cantonese pronunciation is lo bak go. You’ll notice these differences in spelling and pronunciation if you’ve ever read our traditional Cantonese Lo Bak Go recipe.
An Inspired Recipe!
For the most part, I am a pretty traditional guy when it comes to cooking. But every once in a while, I get some inspiration to make something new and different to change up our favorite recipes. Fresh daikon can be difficult to find depending on where you live, and plus, not everyone enjoys the flavor of daikon radish, which definitely bears a distinctive flavor.
So, regular old carrots, a more familiar root vegetable for most of the world, works really well when combined with ginger, scallions and pork. These ingredients have proven to be a winning combination – just check out Judy’s Carrot Ginger Pork Buns recipe! Mixed with rice flour and the right combination of spices, you get a delicious but different version of the traditional lo bak go you’ll find at Chinese dim sum restaurants or at grandma’s house for Chinese New Year.
Quick Recipe Notes
Here are a couple of cook’s notes to ensure success!
- Use a fatty pork (no more than 70% lean) for this dish, as the rice cake needs some fat to make it taste great.
- To ensure the same results you see in our photos, use a digital kitchen scale for measuring everything. Variations when using a measuring cup may throw the recipe off!
- Try your best to leave as much liquid in the wok as possible when scooping out the cooked pork, carrot, ginger, and scallion. But, good news––no need to squeeze the liquid out of the carrots.
I was surprised by how much I loved this change-up over the usual daikon radish, dried shrimp and Chinese sausage in classic lo bak go. But I shouldn’t be surprised, given how versatile a vegetable carrots are.
This Chinese New Year, try this carrot rice cake recipe alongside the traditional daikon radish lo bak go and introduce friends and family to a new take on a longtime favorite!
Carrot Rice Cake Recipe Instructions
Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a wok until just smoking, and add the ground pork. Sear for 30 seconds. Turn the heat down to medium, and cook the pork until it’s no longer pink. Add the grated ginger and mix for 30 seconds until combined.
Next, stir in the grated carrots and add 1 tablespoon of Shaoxing wine.
Stir-fry the carrots for another 30 seconds, and add 2 cups warm water. Bring the mixture to a simmer.
Stir in 1½ teaspoons salt, ½ teaspoon fresh ground white pepper, and 1 teaspoon sesame oil. Simmer for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the chopped scallions, bring back to a simmer, and turn off the heat.
Scoop out the pork, carrots and scallions into a mixing bowl, leaving behind as much liquid in the wok as you can.
Pour the rest of the remaining liquid into a measuring cup, and add more water until there is a total of 1⅔ cups (395ml).
Add the rice flour and cornstarch to the carrot mixture.
Mix in the 1⅔ cups of liquid until everything is well combined, and there are no visible lumps of flour. Set aside. Spread 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in a 9-inch glass loaf pan, ensuring all sides are evenly coated.
Prepare your steamer or wok with a steaming rack. See our post on how to set up a steamer if you’re not familiar with steaming foods in Chinese cooking. Make sure there is enough water in the steamer for 60 minutes of steaming; 2 to 3 quarts should do the trick. Bring the water to a slow boil.
Stir your carrot and rice flour mixture again until combined (it will have settled), and pour the batter into the oiled loaf pan.
Immediately place the loaf pan on top of the steaming rack. Cover and steam at medium heat for 60 minutes.
You can double-check that your carrot is done when a skewer or thin chopstick can easily penetrate to the bottom of the loaf and the chopstick is not coated in batter. Transfer the loaf pan to a cooling rack. Let rest for 30 minutes. It is normal to have some water on the surface of the carrot rice cake after steaming. It will reabsorb into the loaf.
At this point, you can prepare your carrot rice cake to eat or refrigerate it for later. When you are ready to serve your carrot rice cake, remove it from the loaf pan. It’s best to run a knife around the loaf to separate the sides from the pan, then turn the loaf pan over onto a cutting board.
Cut the loaf into ½-inch thick slices.
And pan fry in an oiled nonstick pan or frying pan until warmed and slightly crispy.
Serve your Carrot Rice Cake with oyster sauce and chili oil on the side!
If you like this Ginger Carrot Rice Cake or our traditional Daikon Radish Lo Bak Go rice cake, then don’t miss our recipe for Taro Wu Tou Go rice cake!