Shanghai Rice Cake aka Chao Nian Gao

After roaming around Central Square, I stumbled across an Asian (Korean) market and saw rice cake aka nian gao, aka rice ovalettes. Usually in Korean cuisine, I’ve seen these served in a soup form, but I grew up with a fried version along the same lines of chow foon, fried rice, and lo mein. With a whole head of napa cabbage left from last week’s Asian vegetable haul, I decided to make chao nian gao (fried shanghai rice cake). These come out soft and chewy and in a slightly light/gravy-esque sauce.

After failing to find a popular recipe for the savory version of rice cakes, I poked around a few blogs and youtube videos, and I came up with my own recipe based on what I had on hand. I typically see this served with shredded pork and napa cabbage so I went out and got some center cut pork chops and sliced them for the recipe.


Rice Cake, Napa Cabbage, and Sliced Pork

Meat and Marinate
1/2 lbs. sliced or shredded pork
1 tsp corn starch
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp soy sauce
a few grinds of fresh black pepper

1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cloves minced garlic
6 leaves napa cabbage sliced horizontally 1/2 inch thick, (divide stem pieces from leafy pieces)

Sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp oyster sauce

In a bowl, combine pork and marinade ingredients and let sit for at least 20 minutes. Also, combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Prepare nian gao or rice ovelettes as directed on the package, drain and set aside. I just put mine in boiling water until softened (about 2-3 minutes). Heat wok or skillet over high heat. Pour vegetable oil and move around to coat. Add garlic and cook for 5-10 seconds until it just starts to brown. Add pork and remaining marinade and toss in wok until pink is barely visible/not fully cooked. Move to side of wok and add white stem pieces of napa cabbage. After stem pieces cook in the hottest part of wok for 15-30 seconds, mix pork with stem pieces. Add remaining cabbage and toss another 30 seconds or until leaves begin wilting. Lower heat to medium, add sauce nian gao. Toss and let cook 15-30 seconds until mixed well. Serve and enjoy. If nian gao begins to stick add a tbsp or 2 of water or stock.

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