Stir-Fried Nian Gao Rice Cakes

INGREDIENTS:
1 lb Chinese or Korean Rice Cake 450 gr
2 Tbsp cooking oil divided
3 cloves garlic finely chopped or grated
8 oz boneless chicken thighs/breast 250 gr, cut into thin strips (see notes)
5 oz Napa Cabbage 150 gr, cut into large chunks or shred
3.5 oz baby bok choy 100 gr
1/4 cup chicken broth

MARINADE FOR MEAT:
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp oyster sauce
1/4 tsp sugar
1 tsp cornstarch

SEASONINGS:
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 Tbsp shaoxing wine
1/2 tsp sugar

GARNISH:
2 stalks green onion finely chopped

PREPARE THE RICE CAKES:
If you get the refrigerated rice cakes or dried rice cakes, soak them in the water for at least 2 hours (overnight for dried rice cakes). If you use frozen ones, thaw in the refrigerator and then soak.

Drain off the soaking water and the rice cakes are ready to be used.

MARINATE THE MEAT:
Place the chicken or meat of your choice in a mixing bowl along with the marinade ingredients and marinade for 30 minutes or overnight in the refrigerator.

COOKING:
Preheat a large skillet or wok over high heat. Add 1 Tbsp cooking oil and swirl to cover the base of the skillet or wok. Add chicken and stir fry until the chicken pieces turn opaque and cook through. Dish out the cooked chicken.

Wipe the wok clean if necessary. Bring the skillet/wok back to high heat. Add another 1 Tbsp of cooking oil. Add garlic and stir fry for about 20 seconds. Add the napa cabbage and stir fry for about 2-3 minutes. Add bok choy and stir fry another minute.

Add rice cakes, seasonings, and broth. Give them a quick stir. Cover with a lid and cook for about 3 minutes or until the rice cakes soften.

Uncover the lid and give it a good stir to mix everything. Add the chicken back into the skillet/wok and give it a stir. Have a taste and add more soy sauce as needed.

Garnish with chopped green onion and serve warm.

Notes: This recipe uses plain nian gao log that is cut into slices. They don’t have any taste on its own and are meant for stir-fries or “noodle” soup. They are similar to the Korean Tteokguk rice cakes. Both made with sticky rice flour. (The Korean version is usually available at Wegmans in the refrigerator section.) Notice that they are labeled as “Rice Cake”, but actually they are made with both sticky/glutinous rice and regular rice flour (though more of the glutinous rice flour in composition). Once refrigerated, the rice cakes loose their elasticity completely. They will have turned hard like a rock. Soak in water for at least 2 hours or you can soak overnight. If you get the frozen version, thaw first and then soak. There is also a dried version, which also requires soaking overnight in the water.

You can use any protein of your choice like ground meat, or slices of beef or pork loin. This dish is also perfect to use any leftover turkey or rotisserie chicken. You can also opt for meatless protein like using extra-firm tofu slices.

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