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Stir Fried Rice Cake Shanghai-Style

A Traditional Shanghai-Style Rice Cake Stir Fry with Pork Slices and Nappa Cabbage

by Shirley
Published: Last Updated on
Stir Fried Rice Cake Shanghai Style

Stir Fried Rice Cake with Pork and Napa Cabbage Slices {炒年糕} is a traditional Huai Yang Style one-pot meal, especially popular in the Shanghai area. It features soft rice cake slices stir fried with juicy, savory pork slices. The Napa Cabbage adds subtle crunchiness and a refreshing contrasting taste and flavor, as well as additional nutrition. A perfect easy, tasty and healthy one-dish meal.

Stir Fried Rice Cake {Easy Tasty Authentic Style}
Stir Fried Rice Cake {Easy Tasty Authentic Style}

Born and growing up in Suzhou, which lies in the heart of the Yangtze River Delta area, I surely had enjoyed my fair share of Stir Fried Rice Cake. I started making this one-meal dish for my family years ago. At that point, I spotted quality rice cakes at my local Korean grocery store.

My family instantly gravitated to this yummy & cozy dish. That features soft and semi-chewy rice cakes mixed with savory pork slices and topped with semi-crunchy naturally delicious Napa cabbage.

Keep reading to learn rice cake story and how to make rice cake stir-fry one-pot meal perfectly every time!

Stir Fried Rice Cake Ingredients

Of course, the very first thing is the rice cake. So what is the rice cake we are talking about here?

rice cake slices

They are plain white rice cake made of white rice, commonly referred to as “Ning Bo Rice Cake”. Ning Bo is a city in China’s Zhenjiang province, which is close to the city of Shaoxing, where the famous Shaoxing wine comes from.

Traditionally Ning Bo rice cake is a rectangular prism, about 6 inches long, 1.5 inches wide, and half an inch thick. The rice cake package I got from the Korean store is rice cake slices. They have pre-sliced rice cakes for convenient home cooking.

Rice Cake Slice
Rice Cake Slice

Well, what else do you need?

rice cake stir fry ingredients

Pork -sirloin works great for pork slices. Pork butt or shoulder is OK too. They are fattier compared to sirloin, and they make shorter slices as pork slices break at the fatty part.

For marinating the porkaged soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, Zhenjiang vinegar, arrowroot flour, and freshly ground white pepper.

The first three are among healthy & tasty Chinese cooking essential condiments. Arrowroot flour is my go-to starch for healthier cooking and eating.

For Stir-frycanola oil or avocado oil, ginger slices, green onion, light soy sauce, and organic sugar in the raw.

How to make Stir Fried Rice Cake in an Easy, Tasty, and Authentic Way from scratch?

See the recipe for detailed step-by-step instructions. Here are the key takeaways:

1. Cut the pork into thin julienne

pork sirloin slices

It is easier to do so while the meat is semi-frozen. If the pork is in the freezer, take it out a couple of hours before cooking. If you are using fresh meat, put them in the freezer for a couple of hours if you can spare the time.

pork sirloin slices

2. Marinate the pork slices before cooking

It is an essential part of Chinese stir-fry. The secret of juicy & flavorful meat. Marinate the meat slices in a glass mixing bowl for about 10 minutes.

I usually do this step first and then set it aside while I am doing some preparation steps.

marinated pork slices

3. Napa cabbage prep tip

Ideal to have both the crunchy stems and soft leafy parts to have both textures. Precisely the reason I cut the Nappa Cabbage vertically.

To match the shape of pork slices, we cut Napa cabbage in julienne too. Noting this differs from making Napa Cabbage stir-fry where we slit at an angle to create a thin flake shape.

napa cabbage julienne cut

4. Cook the pork slices first

These cooked pork slices are versatile to make Stir Fried Pork Slices with various vegetable slices. Stir Fried Winter Bamboo with Pork Slices and Stir Fried Mao Dou {edamame} with Pork Slices are among the classic home cooking meals in the Yangtze River Delta area.

These cooked pork slices are an excellent choice to make in advance too. We can store them in the fridge for up to one week and in the freezer for up to 3 months. You can then whip out a tasty stir fried pork slice dish in no time.

Cooked Pork Slices Ready for Stir Fry
Cooked Pork Slices Ready for Stir Fry

5. Prep rice cake for the stir-fry

Cooked rice becomes stiff as its temperature gets cold. The same for rice cakes. We shall moist and soften the rice cake right before the stir-frying.

Fill a large stockpot with about 75% water and bring it to a boil. As the water is boiling, carefully add the rice cake into the pot and then immediately remove them from the pot using a skimmer. A skimmer is a handy tool for Chinese cooking. I use it to cook wontons, meatballs, noodles, and all kinds of blanching activities.

Do not let rice cakes bath in the boiling water for too long.

blanched rice cake

Additional Tips for Authentic Shanghai Style Stir Fried Rice Cake

Do not over-use soy sauce. The authentic Shanghai-style Stir Fried Rice Cake focuses on the food’s original color, white rice cake, and white/green Napa Cabbage slices. I use just enough soy sauce to flavor the meat and provide a hew of enticing color.

rice cake stir-fry Shanghai classic

Do like one-dish meal? Make sure you check out these popular ones:

Stir Fried Rice Cake Shanghai Style

Stir Fried Rice Cake Recipe {Easy Tasty Authentic Style}

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Stir Fried Rice Cake with Pork and Nappa Cabbage slices is such a classic Shanghai-style food. So delicious and healthy. A perfect one-pot dish for weeknight dinner.

Ingredients

  • 2.2 lb sliced rice cake, 1 kg package of rice cake slices
  • 1.5 lb pork sirloin
  • Half Napa cabbage, about 1.5 lb

For marinating the pork:

  • 3 tbsp naturally aged soy sauce or dark soy sauce, see notes
  • 2 tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • 1/2 tbsp Zhenjiang vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp arrowroot flour
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground white pepper

For Stir-fry:

  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 12 thin slices of ginger
  • 1 green onion stalk
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp organic sugar in the raw

Instructions

Preparations:

  1. Cut the pork across the grain into thin slices and place into a bowl. It is easier to slice the pork when it is in a semi-frozen state. See notes for more tips
  2. After done with pork slices, let it sit to get a little softer while doing other preparation.
  3. Cut Napa cabbage vertically in half, rinse under running water, trim the root hard part, and then cut into julienne.
  4. Slice ginger into thin julienne
  5. Wash and cut green onion into small pieces
  6. Rinse the pork slices under running water, gently squeeze the extra water out
  7. Add everything under "For Marinating the Pork" into the pork slices, the naturally aged soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, Zhenjiang vinegar, freshly ground white pepper, and arrowroot flour, mix well. Set aside.
  8. Fill an 8-Qt. stockpot with 75% of water, bring it to a boil.
  9. When it is boiling, add cake slices into the pot, separate them and stir gently and remove them immediately from the pot using a skimmer, and place them onto a large plate. Gently shake the plate to let out steam and avoid cake slices stick to each other. Set aside.

Cook the Pork Slices:

  1. Turn the heat to medium-high, heat the hard-anodized fry-pan for 2 minutes, spray 2 squirts of canola oil using a home oil spry bottle into the pan, about 1 tsp canola oil use a mini soft rubber spatula to spread evenly across the pan
  2. Add half of the ginger slices and green onion small pieces, stir for 30 seconds and add the marinated pork slices, keep stirring and turning using a slotted turner until the pork slices change pork become fully cooked about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and remove the cooked pork slices from the pan and place them on a large plate using a slotted turner.

Rice Cake Stir-Fry:

  1. Turn the heat back to medium-high, spray another 2 squirts of canola oil, add the rest of the ginger, stir for 30 seconds, and then add the Napa cabbage juliennes, blanched rice cakes, and cooked pork slices, stir and turn to mix.
  2. Add 2 tbsp light soy sauce and 1 tsp organic raw cane sugar, continue to turn and fold using the slotted turner until Nappa cabbage is about to wilt about 2 minutes, and then turn off the heat.
  3. Garnish with the rest of the green onion snippets. All done, enjoy a nice bowl of healthy & yummy one-pot meal!

Notes

  • Naturally aged soy sauce or Jiang You {酱油} is an ancient cooking condiment. Dark vs. Light Soy Sauce is a modern-day Cantonese invention. You can generally substitute Jiang You with Dark Soy Sauce.
  • It is easier to slice the pork into thin julienne when the pork is in a semi-frozen state. If the pork is previously frozen, take out a couple of hours in advance. If you use fresh pork, put them in the freezer for a couple of hours first if possible.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 servings Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 749Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 71mgSodium: 1082mgCarbohydrates: 121gFiber: 9gSugar: 5gProtein: 39g

Nutrition calculation is provided by Nutritionix to the best knowledge per ingredients description and isn't always accurate.

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