Stir-Fried Rice Cakes with Pork is a classic Chinese dish. Chewy rice cakes cooked with tender pork and umami mushroom. It’s so good that you will want this every week!
I ate lots of rice cakes growing up. On a no-school or half school day, I looked forward to eating my god-mother’s lunch. My god-mother made all kind of lunches, like stir-fried noodles, soup noodles, dumplings. One of my favorites is rice cakes! Although I can’t remember exactly how my god-mother’s version tasted like (it has been at least 15 years since I had any), it’s something similar to this recipe.
If you never had rice cake, you are missing out! Rice cake is made from glutinous rice. It is kind of like a small dumpling with a chewy texture, but it doesn’t have much flavor. It absorbs the flavors from sauce or broth. Both Chinese and Korean use rice cake. Chinese rice cakes are always thinly sliced. There are more varieties in Korean rice cakes, like thinly sliced, tube shapes, and snowman shapes. I recommend using thinly sliced ones in this recipe, because they cook faster. Either Chinese or Korean brand will do.
To start, you need dried shiitake mushrooms. Dried shiitake mushrooms have intense umami flavor, which is impossible to substitute with fresh ones. They can be easily found in Asian supermarkets. Rehydrate them in water before use. Do not dump the soaking liquid. That flavorful liquid will be used in the dish as well. Thinly sliced the mushroom and marinate them for 30 minutes.
Next, the meat. Pork butt (also called pork shoulder) is what I used. Since there is usually lots of fat in pork butt. I tend to buy 1/4 pound extra, so I can trim away some of the fat. Do not remove all the fat though. This is what keep the meat tender and not dry. Cut the meat into thin strips and marinate.
To make a good sauce, start with the basic flavor components, shallots, garlic and green onion. Then add pork and rice wine. Next, toss in the mushroom and cabbage. After that, add some chicken broth and the mushroom soaking liquid. Bring to a boil and let all the flavors come together. Last but not least, put the rice cakes on top of all the ingredients. Cover and cook for a few minutes. Rice cakes are cooked fairly quickly. Once they are soften, they are ready. Toss everything together and season with soy sauce. There, you have an authentic homemade stir-fry dish. Enjoy!
Stir-Fried Rice Cakes with Pork
- 4 medium dried shiitake mushrooms
- 8 ounces pork butt (cut into ¼ x 1-inch thin strips)
- 10 ounces thinly sliced rice cakes
- 2 small shallots (thinly sliced)
- 2 garlic cloves (peeled and smashed)
- 4 green onions (cut and discard the top green part, cut the rest into 1-inch pieces)
- 1 teaspoon Shaoxing rice wine or sake
- 10 ounces Napa cabbage (cut into thin strips)
- ¼ cup low-sodium chicken broth or water
- ¼ cup soaking liquid from shiitake mushrooms
- Vegetable oil
- Soy sauce
Marinade for mushrooms:
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon corn starch
- ¼ teaspoon vegetable oil
Marinade for pork:
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- Dash of ground white pepper
- ½ teaspoon corn starch
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon corn starch
- 1 teaspoon cold water
- Rub and rinse the dried mushrooms under running water for a couple minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and soak with tap water for at least 5 hours or overnight. Take out the soaked mushroom and keep the liquid (will be used later). Rinse mushrooms under running water and rub them all over. Remove the stems with scissors. Squeeze out as much water as possible. Pat dry with paper towels. Cut into ¼-inch strips. Transfer to a small bowl. Add salt, sugar, and corn starch. Mix well. Add the vegetable oil and mix again. Marinate for 30 minutes.
- In a medium bowl, add pork, salt, sugar, soy sauce, and white pepper. Mix well. Add corn starch and sesame oil. Then mix again. Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes.
- Place the rice cakes in a sieve. Rinse under running water and separate the rice cakes if they are stuck together. If you can’t separate them, don’t worry. It’s ok to have a few stuck together. Set aside to drain.
- In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, add 1½ tablespoons vegetable oil. Add shallot and cook for 1 minute. Add garlic and stir for another 30 seconds. Add green onion and cook for another minute. Push everything aside and add the pork. Sear for a minute without moving. Stir everything together. Add Shaoxing rice wine (or sake) and cook for 1 minute. Toss in the mushroom and cabbage. Mix well. Pour in chicken broth (or water) and ¼ cup soaking mushroom liquid. Turn up the heat to high. Bring the mixture to a boil. Put the rice cakes in a single layer over the vegetables and pork. Cover with a lid and reduce the heat to medium-high. Cook for 3½ minutes.
- In a small bowl, stir together the corn starch and cold water.
- Remove the lid. Add the corn starch liquid. Stir fry for another 1 minute. Taste and adjust with soy sauce if needed. Transfer to serving plates and serve immediately.
- Dried shiitake mushrooms take a long time to rehydrate. I recommend soaking them the night before. If you’re in a hurry, use warm or hot water for soaking. Although mushrooms will get soften much quicker, but some of the flavors will be lost.
- Get dried shiitake mushrooms in Asian supermarkets.
- Pork butt is not the butt. It’s the shoulder. The fat distribution of this cut can be varied. I usually buy ¼ pound extra, so I can trim off parts (either lean meat or fat) that I don’t want.
- Rice cakes come in few different shapes. Get the thinly sliced ones for this recipe. Both Chinese or Korean brand are ok. You can find them in Asian supermarkets in the fridge isle.
- Shaoxing wing is a Chinese rice wine. It’s pretty strong in flavor. It can be found in Chinese supermarket or Amazon. If you can’t find it, use sake.