Why not make your Asian boy a home-cooked Northern Chinese dish just like his mom used to do? Truth be told, my boyfriend’s Chinese mom taught me how to make the best spaghetti aglio e olio of my life so how’s that for irony? Actually, I’m going to be a bit more honest with you. My boyfriend doesn’t even like Chinese food; learning how to make Shanghai Niangao was more for me to eat than any aforementioned person in this blogpost.
All things considered, this post should have really been aptly titled: “The White Girl’s Guide to Chinese Cuisine for White Girls”
My favourite dish are these medallion-like rice cakes typical of Korean cuisine but oftentimes you will find them on the menu of Northern Chinese restaurants. Shanghai style is usually with cabbage, pork and soy sauce. Sometimes they add seafood. Sometimes it’s really spicy. And sometimes, I overeat them. Needless to say, I’m a bit obsessed with them and insisted on a trip to TNT this weekend. Shopping list in hand I watched my fellow Italo-Canadian girls in mini skirts and platform sandals walk to Cabana Pool Bar (they share a parking lot with TNT) as I prepared to order Char Siu like a pro.
So here’s what you’ll need:
2 600g packages of frozen Rice Cakes (get the ones made in Korea)
1/2 head of Napa Cabbage
3 cloves of garlic, chopped.
2 pieces of Char Siu (BBQ Pork) chopped up. (About $8 dollars worth)
Carrots, thai peppers, sliced ginger or any other veggie you want to add.
4 cups of chopped mushrooms (I used a mix of Enoki and King Oyster Mushrooms)
Sauce: 2 tbsp cooking soy sauce, 2 tbsp oyster sauce, 1 tbsp sesame oil, a pinch of sugar.
1. Prepare all the vegetables for the stir-fry in a bowl and whisk together the sauce ingredients in another bowl; set aside.
2. Bring a pot of water to boil, add frozen rice cakes stirring every so often. There is no set time on cooking them, just taste them and when they are chewy, they’re ready.
3. While the rice cakes cook: Heat up some cooking oil (I use grape seed oil) on medium-high heat in a wok or large fry pan. Add garlic until fragrant
4. Add carrots, mushrooms and ginger. Sauté until they soften. Then add cabbage and let it soften a bit. Add the pork last (because it is already cooked!). Mix well.
5. Add the sauce and rice cakes cooking for about 5 more minutes. (I read another recipe online that asks you to add broth at this point, cover the pot and let the rice cakes brown, reducing in the broth – which sounds delicious and I will try it next time!).
6. Lastly, just sit back and let your man revel in your white girl cooking abilities.
And of course, a big thank you to my boyfriend’s mom for teaching me this recipe (and the aglio e olio) and the Theory sandals…