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VEGETARIAN SHANGHAI RICE CAKES

If you've never had rice cakes, you are missing out! They're wonderfully soft but chewy, super addicting, and are great at absorbing sauces when they're stir fried. This recipe is inspired by Din Tai Fung's Shanghai rice cakes, one of my favorite dishes to order whenever I go to Din Tai Fung, a popular Taiwanese restaurant around the world. In Chinese, the name for rice cakes is Nian Gao. They are made from pounded rice, and have a sticky, chewy texture. Think of them as a kind of thick, oval-shaped pasta. This is a dish enjoyed all year round, but it’s particularly popular during Chinese New Year since its name is literally translated to “year cake”. It is believed that eating it during the Chinese New Year celebrations is sure to bring you luck, prosperity, and good fortune! We are making a vegetarian version today. However, you can also add any protein of your choice, such as chicken, pork, and beef!

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds rice cakes

  • 8 ounces baby bok choy

  • 1 cup napa cabbage, shredded

  • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

  • 3 scallions, cut on a diagonal into 1 inch pieces

  • 1 yellow onion, sliced

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1/4 cup Shaoxing wine

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

  • 3 teaspoons Lee Kum Kee Premium dark soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoon Lee Kum Kee Premium soy sauce

  • 4 teaspoons Lee Kum Kee Hoisin sauce

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • salt (to taste)

Directions:

  1. Soak the rice cakes in warm water for an hour, preferably overnight, and drain.

  2. Thoroughly wash the baby bok choy and napa cabbage. Drain, shaking off excess water. Separate bok choy into individual leaves.

  3. Place your wok over high heat until it begins to smoke lightly. Add the vegetable oil to coat the wok, and add the garlic.

  4. Stir in the scallions, bok choy, napa cabbage, and Shaoxing wine. Stir-fry for 30 seconds, and move everything to the center of the wok to create an even “bed” of vegetables.

  5. Distribute the rice cakes on top (this prevents them from sticking to the wok).

  6. Add water. Cover, and cook for 2 - 5 minutes to steam the rice cakes and cook the vegetables.

  7. Remove the cover, and add the sesame oil, dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, hoisin sauce, white pepper, and sugar. Stir-fry everything together for 1 minute over medium heat.

  8. Continue stir-frying until the rice cakes are coated in sauce, cooked through but still chewy. Plate and serve! Top with chili oil for extra flavor!