Happy Chinese New Year! It's the 9th anniversary of 5 Element Food and I actually can't believe I've been writing this blog for so long!
Of course, last night I had a Chinese New Year's Eve family dinner and served lots of lucky foods. One of the dishes we made was Stir-Fried Shanghai Year Cake. It's called Year Cake in my family because we serve it at Chinese New Year. This dish incorporates Pork, Green Onions, Bok Choy and Sliced Rice Cakes, often called Rice Ovalettes. This little Rice Cakes are considered very lucky and help you achieve lofty heights in the new year. Many Chinese people I know eat a sweet version of Rice Cake, but my family always made them savory the Shanghai way.
The Rice Cakes can be found at most Asian supermarkets and they are sometimes frozen. I've even found them dried in Europe. To stir fry them, you will need to soak them in hot water for at least 20 minutes before adding to the stir fry. And, like all stir fry dishes, you cook the dish in stages with everything cut up and marinated and ready to be cooked. If you like chewy foods, this dish is for you. It's delicious and lucky too!
Stir-fried Shanghai Year Cake
12 ounces sliced Rice Cakes (1/2 bag)
1/2 pound lean Pork or Chicken, sliced thin
1 Tablespoon Tamari
1 Tablespoon Rice Wine
1 bunch Bok Choy, trimmed, cut in half and cut into bite size pieces
3 Green Onions, trimmed and cut into small pieces, white and green parts separated
4 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
2 Tablespoons Gluten Free Oyster Sauce
1 Tablespoon Tamari
1 teaspoon Sugar
a pinch of White Pepper
2 Tablespoons Chicken Broth or Water
Soak the Rice Cakes in hot water for at least 20 minutes. Drain when ready to use.
Place the Pork in a small bowl and add the Tamari and Rice Wine, Mix thoroughly and let marinate for 15 minutes.
In another small bowl, mix together the Oyster Sauce, Tamari, Sugar, White Pepper and Chicken Broth.
Heat a wok or large frying pan and then add in 2 Tablespoons of OIl. Add the white part of the Green Onion and cook, stirring until you can smell the fragrance. Then add in the Bok Choy and cook until softened. Remove and put into a serving bowl.
Then add the remaining 2 Tablespoons of Oil and add the Pork, separating it so it cooks in one layer. Turn and cook the other side. Then scoop off the sides and add the Year Cake. Stir fry for a few minutes and then add the Bok Choy back in with the Green Onion tops add add the sauce. Stir until everything is coated. Serve while hot.
Five Element Analysis
Rice Cakes primarily belong to the Metal Element, but because they are sticky and chewy, they also contain some of the Earth Element too. The Metal Element is further enhanced by the Green Onions. The Pork brings in the Water Element as does the Oyster Sauce and Tamari. The Bok Choy adds the Wood Element as does the Chicken Broth. So only the Fire Element is missing and the Earth Element is only slightly represented so be sure to add a Fire and Earth food to your meal.