Monday, February 2, 2009

Traditional Lunar New Year Food - Stir-fry Savoury Rice Cakes 炒年糕

I am sure not many people know about this dish as it is uniquely known to Chinese of Hockchew origin or Shanghainese. My mum is a Hockchew, thus we would always have this dish during Chinese New Year and sometimes during normal days.

It is called 炒年糕 or Stir-fry rice cake. We also called it 白粿(bey kueh). The white colour elongated rectangular-shaped item is rice cake. It has a similar texture to the Korean rice cake which was cooked with red colour chili sauce which is soft and slightly chewy.

These rice cakes were made in China and comes in a packet which cost about $2 dollars. My mum usually buy them from an old shop in North Bridge Rd selling all kinds of Hock Chew stuff, but you can get them from NTUC too. I thought the packaging looked the same, but somehow the quality of the rice cake differs greatly. When opened, the rice cake were actually sun dried and feels hard, almost plastic-like. They have to be soaked them over-night so that they will soften and double-in size slightly for cooking the next day.

How to cook them? Though I said stir-fry, it is more like braising. Firstly, fry the pork (marinated with soy sauce, pepper, sesame seed oil) with garlic first. For this dish, you have to use slightly fatty pork for better flavour. When the pork browned, add in leeks and white cabbage which are already cut in strips. Wait for them to wilt and soften then add in the rice cake. Stir them around to mix thoroghly then add water. For richer flavour, you can use stock. Let it simmer with lid on.

As it cooked, the rice cakes will release starch which thicken up the soup. At the very last minutes, add in the seafood like prawns and squids. To taste, add salt. We do not usually add sugar or anything else as the leeks, white cabbages and seafood will released sweetness into the gravy already. The fattiness of the pork actually give a rounded touch to it.

Every mouthful, one can taste soft and slightly chewy texture of the rice cakes, the sweetness of the leeks and white cabbage and flavourful fatty pork give the dish roundedness... Yummy!!! It is one of our favourite dishes at home. I could just eat this everyday.

This is our 家常菜!

1 comment:

Bimmer said...

Hi! I chanced upon your blog and saw this dish. It sure is uncommon, and I eat it during CNY too! Love it!