Shanghainese Savory Turnip Pancakes

I’ve always preferred savory to sweet when it comes to snacks, and Fried Turnip Pie (油墩子) is a traditional street-food in Shanghai that reminds me of many childhood memories when I lived there. If you’ve been to Wu Kang Road in the Former French Concession (法租界), that’s where me and my friends used to hang out on Saturday afternoons, queueing up for scallion pancakes and turnip pies around the entries of little iconic alleys (弄堂). This nostalgic illustration I’ve found, is a vivid representation of those good old days in the mid 80s.

Traditional Turnip Pies were made by using one of those ladle moulds, by layering shredded turnips and batter together, and put into hot oil to deep fry. The version I am making today is more in a pancake setting that requires less oil.


– green or white turnip

– carrots

– all-purpose flour

– corn flour

– eggs

– scallions

– dried shrimps (optional if vegetarian)

– white pepper (or black pepper, yet white pepper preferred)

In a large bowl:

– shred all the turnips and carrots, add 1 tbsp salt, stir well and set aside

– after 15mins, drain all the water from the turnips, add 1 cup of all-purpose flour, half cup of corn flour, 2 eggs, scallions, and 1 tbsp of white pepper

– stir the above mix well until they are evenly combined

In a frying pan:

– use a spoon or chopsticks to take any portion you like the pancake to be, pan-fry in the heated oil on medium to low heat, turn sides once browned

– serve as a snack with Sriracha Sauce, Mustard Mayonnaise, or simply as a side dish with Porridge

The key ingredient of this pancake is White Pepper, it works its magic in emphasizing the taste of turnips and dried shrimps to perfection.

Sharing a taste of memory with you.

Have a happy long weekend. x

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