My daughter can’t have enough of the dish and truly enjoys the delicious chewiness of these sticky rice cakes after coming back from her first visit to Shanghai. Nian Gao (rice cakes), which means “higher every year”, is a squishy, sticky foodstuff made by pounding cooked rice with a woonden cudgel until smooth and elastic, then forming it into cakes that are sliced before cooking. There are a big variety of ways to cook it: it can be stir-fried with all kind of ingredients or frosted with fine sugar.
Dried sliced nian gao, which must be soaked in cold water to soften it, are available at many Asian supermarkets. I choose to use fresh, vacuum packed Korean rice cakes which can be used directly from the package. The packaged rice cakes normally come in the form of oval slices of strips.
- 8 small dried shiitake mushroom
- 1 sprig spring onions, (separate white and green pat, cut into small pieces)
- 200g green bok choy
- 2 eggs
- 3 tablespoons cooking oil
- 350g Korean sliced rice cakes
- 150ml stock or water
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- Cover the shiitake mushrooms in boiling water and leave to soak for 30 minutes (you should keep the brownish water left as it can be used as ‘stock’ later when frying the rice cake.). Then remove the stalks and slice the caps into slivers. Cut the green boy chok across the elaves into 2cm in length. Beat the eggs in a small bowl.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a frying pan over high heat Add the egg and stir-fry till barely cooked, remove the pan and set aside.
- In the same pan, add another 1 tablespoon of oil over high heat. Add white part of the spring onion, fry for 1 minute. Add into the shiitake slivers and stir-fry till fragrant. Add the boy chok for and stir-fry until the leaves have wilted. Put the sliced rice cake on top of greens in the frying pan, pour the stock or water around the edges and bring to the boil. Cover the wok with a lid, turn the heat down very low and cook gently 2-3 minutes, until the rice cake has softened. You may want to move around the rice cake slices to keep them from being stuck on the bottom of the pan. Stir in eggs and season with a tablespoon of light soy sauce.