Thursday, March 14, 2013

TSAO NIEaN GAO - Stir Fried Rice Cake

TSAO NIEaN GAO is one of our family's favorites - and especially my father's 'snack' food.  The ingredients are package of dry Glutinous Rice "medallion" cake (usually found in the cold food section together with TOFU or Noodles in the Asian food market.  "NIEaN GAO" itself means YEAR Cake, savory flavor.  And we eat them anytime throughout the year.

1 package Rice Cake - I find the Korean type Rice Cake very good.
1/2 Cup Celery stalks - chopped
1/4 Cup Green onions - chopped
Nappa Cabbage - sliced lengthwise, then, cut into 3" strips
1 package Bean Sprouts or 5 Cups
1/4 Cup Ground pork
Cooking oil - 4 Tb
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
white ground pepper
 Wash the bean sprouts in a large bowl thoroughly to get rid of "these unknown acidic odor" - they are disgusting.  I don't know how they grow bean sprouts now a-days, but after washing them with a tablespoon of salt.  Rinse them and let them soak in clean water for about 10 minutes.  Then, strain them well.  Set Aside till needed.
  In a pot of hot boiling water, cook the Rice cake medallion until soft.
 As they started to cook, the rice medallion will start to rise to the top and water will come to boil.  Cook for 1 minute.  Remove from heat.  Leave them sitting in the strainer in the water to keep from stuck to each other into one big glue.
 Quickly stir fry the ground pork in a Tablespoon of oil.  (Make sure the wok - Teflon coated or stainless steel or iron wok -  is quite HOT before adding the oil; and add the pork after the oil is glistening.) Stir fry the pork quickly and set aside quickly.  Some pink at this point is okay.
 Add green onions first and stir fry and bring the flavor out.  Add celery - stir fry 30 seconds.  Add Nappa cabbage and stir fry them well for 2 minutes.  Then add bean sprouts.  Stir fry for another minute. Add cooked pork meat and mix well.   Remove from heat, but reserve any liquid behind in the wok.  Set the vegetable mixture aside.
 Add 2 Tablespoon of cooking oil to the liquid.
Add 1 tsp of soy sauce first, sugar, salt, and white ground pepper.  Taste test.  Add more soy sauce if needed or salt or sugar to balance the taste.
 Strain the cooked Rice cake and add to the Wok.  Add some water if needed.  I added 1/4 cup water.  I need to infuse the flavor into the rice cake at this time.  Cook down the liquid. Stirring occasionally to unstick some of the rice cakes that are stuck to each other..
 Medium high heat - Cook down the liquid.  And allow to caramelize the sauce onto the rice cake.  Medium heat - Do not stir the rice cake any more, but occasionally lift some to check if browning is happening.
If you have a Teflon coated Wok, be mindful of the temperature.  Preferred cooking ware for Chinese cooking is the old fashion iron Wok, but if you have a Teflon coated wok, watch the temperature carefully, do not leave on high or medium high heat too long.
 Add the vegetable mixture back and incorporate with the rice cake medallions.   Taste and add any seasoning, if needed.
  This one looks better?
 or this one looks better?  ... naaaa... it's the same! 
Enjoy!  and an hour later, my father would say, "it's time to eat FUN (rice)".  Meaning it's time for dinner.  Don't let Mom hear that.   Just go cook rice..... :-)

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