Verdict: Win

This is my kind of comfort food. I love the way the soft sticky rice cakes (nian gao) pair up with the Napa cabbage and chicken, all smothered in that velvety sauce. I'm sold.

Changes: Remove chicken after cooking to make room for more food as well as to avoid over cooking the chicken. Add sauce to taste, as I felt like the dish was salty enough with only half of the sauce. Substituted the yellow onion for the white parts of green onions. Also omitted the red pepper.

The original recipe is below without my changes.

Shanghai Nian Gao from Flavor Explosions
Yield: Serves 4

4 pieces chicken thighs, boneless, skinless, trimmed of fat, thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 Tablespoon oyster sauce
1/2 Tablespoon shao xing wine
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 Tablespoon oil
4 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon shao xing wine
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 cup chicken broth (and more if needed)
3 Tablespoon canola oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
5 slices ginger, thinly julienned
1/2 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced
4 cups napa cabbage, stems and leaves separated, sliced into 1/2 inch strips
16 oz rice ovaletts (fresh, refrigerated ones, preferably Korean made), toss to separate
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
1 stalk green onions, green parts only, thinly sliced

Soak rice cakes if directions on bag call for it.

Marinade chicken strips with soy sauce, oyster sauce, shao xing wine, sugar, cornstarch and oil for 20 minutes.

Mix sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat a wok or a non stick pan over high heat. Add half the oil, when hot, add garlic and ginger. Saute for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add marinated meat and onions and brown meat, about 2 minutes. Push to the side of the wok.

Add napa cabbage stems and red bell pepper and saute until limp, about 2 minutes. Push to the side of the wok.

Add remaining oil, then add the rice cakes. Drizzle in part of the sauce mixture, being careful to not soak the rice cakes. Toss all wok ingredients together. Add in cabbage leaves. When the sauce has cooked off, add remaining sauce in parts, each time being careful not to soak the rice cakes. Continuously stir fry until the rice cakes are tender, about 6 minutes.

Drizzle in the sesame oil, and toss with green onions. Serve immediately.


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