STIR-FRIED STICKY RICE CAKES (Nian Gao)

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This is a popular dish in southern China. For me, this dish is distinctively “Shanghai,” as it seemed to show up on the table more frequently after I met Judy, whose family is from that area. Our entire family enjoys this dish and the delicious chewiness of these sticky rice cakes, which are kind of like really chewy oval-shaped pasta.

Nowadays, rice cakes are readily available in your Asian grocery store and found in the same section where they sell fresh noodles and tofu. Some varieties come vacuum packed, some are frozen, and some come fresh. You can sometimes even get them in whole sticks, which need to be sliced. Judy tells me that she has even seen dried packages where you need to soak them in water to reconstitute them like rice noodles. Any one of those varieties would work for this. Here’s what you need:

For the meat:

  • 8 oz. pork shoulder or loin
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon oil

For the rest of the dish:

  • 12 oz. rice cakes
  • 3 cups Napa cabbage or baby bok choy
  • 6 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in warm water for 1 hour
  • 1 cup fresh shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 large leek or 3 scallions
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tablespoon shaoxing wine
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce (optional)
  • Pinch of fresh ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of sugar

Slice the pork into thin slices and mix well in a bowl with 1 teaspoon each of cornstarch, soy sauce, and oil.

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Rinse the rice cakes in in water and drain.

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Wash the napa cabbage and bok choy. If using napa cabbage, cut it into 1-inch slices. If using baby bok choy, just separate the leaves. We had bok choy on hand, so that’s what we used.

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Slice the soaked dried mushrooms and the fresh mushrooms.

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Clean and chop your leeks or scallions into 2-inch pieces. Mince your garlic. Set everything aside.

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Heat the wok over high heat until smoking and add 1 tablespoon oil to coat the wok and sear the pork.

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Add the mushrooms…

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The garlic and the leeks/scallions…

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And the cabbage or bok choy.

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Stir fry on high heat for a minute and add the shaoxing wine. Add the rice cakes and mix well, scooping up from the bottom of the wok for 30 seconds and then cover for one minute. Remove cover and add the soy sauces, oyster sauce, white pepper, salt, and sugar. Mix well and stir-fry until the rice cakes are cooked through but still chewy.

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Plate and serve family-style.

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STIR-FRIED STICKY RICE CAKES (Nian Gao)

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: Serves 4

STIR-FRIED STICKY RICE CAKES (Nian Gao)

Ingredients

FOR THE MEAT:
8 oz. pork shoulder or loin
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon oil
FOR THE REST OF THE DISH:
12 oz. rice cakes
3 cups Napa cabbage or baby bok choy
6 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked for an hour in warm water
1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms
1 large leek or 3 scallions
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon shaoxing wine
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce (optional)
Pinch of fresh ground white pepper
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch of sugar

Slice the pork into thin slices and mix well in a bowl with 1 teaspoon each of cornstarch, soy sauce, and oil.

Rinse the rice cakes in in water and drain. Wash the napa cabbage and bok choy. If using napa cabbage, cut it into 1-inch slices. If using baby bok choy, just separate the leaves. Slice the soaked dried mushrooms and the fresh mushrooms. Clean and chop your leeks or scallions into 2-inch pieces. Mince your garlic. Set everything aside.

Heat the wok over high heat until smoking and add 1 tablespoon oil to coat the wok and sear the pork. Add garlic, the leeks/scallions, the cabbage or bok choy, and the mushrooms. Stir fry on high heat for a minute and add the shaoxing wine. Add the rice cakes and mix well, scooping up from the bottom of the wok for 30 seconds and then cover for one minute. Remove cover and add the soy sauces, oyster sauce, white pepper, salt, and sugar. Mix well and stir-fry until the rice cakes are cooked through but still chewy. Plate and serve family-style.

http://thewoksoflife.com/2013/12/stir-fried-sticky-rice-cakes-nian-gao/

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Comments

  1. jessica says

    Thanks for posting this recipe, I tried it yesterday and it was super easy and the end product was really good. It’ll definitely be keeping this in my recipe file. I made the sauce in a bowl so I could just pour it in at the end, but I accidentally over sauced it by pouring all of it into the wok. So I would recommend adding about 50% of the sauce, do a turn of all the ingredients to coat, maybe tasting a rice cake, and then determine how much more sauce to use. I would probably only use 60-75% of the entire sauce made, but it obviously depends on how much veg and meat ended up being used.

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