I love eating these tasty, flaky, savory turnip pastries. You can often find them in the Chinatown bakeries just waiting to be eaten. But nothing comes close to a freshly baked pastry still steaming when you take that first bite. *drool*
One of my mom’s friends, Johanna would often make these when I visit my parents LA. I asked her one time to teach me how to make them so I could make them when I was back home in SF. This post is the culmination of that lesson. You won’t be disappointed by these. You can store these in the refrigerator and bake them again to warm them up when you want to enjoy later.
1 large turnip (~3-4 cups shredded)
2-3 small pieces (3-4 tbsp) of Chinese cured and smoked ham (fatty pieces are good)
1-2 bunches of green onion (~1 cup chopped)
3 tbsp salt
diced ginger (~1 tsp)
1 tbsp sesame oil
7 cups of all purpose flour (4 cups for the outer pastry, 3 cups for the inner pastry)
16oz crisco (2 cups)
2 cups of water
sesame seeds for outside coating
Other kitchen items needed:
Large measuring glass
2 large ziplock bags
Kitchen gloves (for handling turnips)
Start with turnip filling
**Warning: Some people are sensitive to raw turnip and your skin may get itchy. I wore some gloves to help prevent the itchiness afterwards **
1. Peel the skin of the turnip and shred the turnip. I used a food processor with the shredding blade for faster results.
2. Add salt to the shredded turnip and let sit for ~5 min to extract out the water. Mix and squeeze out the water in batches using your hands to make sure the turnip is dry.
3. Dice the green onions and ginger. Add to bowl with shredded turnip.
4. Dice the meat finely (I used a food processor) and remove any tough parts/tendon. Add 1 tbsp of sesame oil to the meat, and a pinch of white pepper for taste. Mix together. Pour out to same bowl as turnip mixture with green onions and ginger.
5. Mix the turnips, meat, green onions and ginger together so that all ingredients have been incorporated.
Prepare the pastry
Now there are 2 parts to the pastry layer (a wet outer layer/水油皮 and a dry inner layer/油皮) in order to get that flakey outside crust.
6. For the outer layer (wet layer/水油皮), add 4 cups of all purpose flour to a standing mixer.
7. Now, we need 1 cup of Crisco and 1 cup of water to add to the flour. (Now, I hate that the crisco gets stuck to whatever measuring cup i use, so I use this method instead. Using a large measuring bowl, I’ll add in 2 cups of water, and add in crisco until the level reaches 3 cups and then dump out 1 cup of water. You could just start with 1 cup of water and add in crisco until the level reaches 2, but I find that it’s easier to see the 2 cups to 3 cups markings.)
8. Use a dough hook in the standing mixer to mix all ingredients. The dough should be very soft, so if it is too hard, add more water. (I ended up adding ~1/4 cup water over two times)
9. When the dough is smooth and soft, put it in a large zip lock bag and let sit.
10. For the inner layer (dry layer/油皮), add 3 cups of all purpose flour to a standing mixer with 1 cup of Crisco (I was short a little Crisco when I took the picture.. ). There is no water in this mixture- only add the Crisco to the flour.
11. Mix in stand mixer and put into other ziplock bag.
12. Preheat oven to 375F
13. Make sure you have a large flat working surface. Measure out 2oz of the wet dough and 1 oz of the dry dough.
14. For the wet dough use a rolling pin to flatten. Roll the 1oz dry dough into a ball with your hands and place in the middle of the flat wet dough. Flip both sides over the ball and flatten with rolling pin. Roll up lengthwise and flatten again with rolling pin.
15. Roll up one more time, but instead of rolling flat, hold both ends of the pastry in your hands. Now press both ends towards each other so that you now have a rounded (smushed) pastry in your hands. Roll this into a circle.
16. Now add in the mixture to the middle of the pastry. In a circular motion, starting with one side, gather the dough, pinching each piece with the previous, until all sides are closed and you have a closed pastry with filling. The side with the closed seams will be the bottom of the pastry. See video below too!
17. Add sesame seeds to a flat plate. Press the completed pastry (top flat side) into the sesame seeds, and put completed pastries onto a baking sheet.
18. Bake pastries for 20-25 minutes or until sesame seeds and top are slighty golden. Enjoy and remember to share (only if you really want to)!!