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Sauteed sticky rice cakes

Sauteed sticky rice cakes
Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

The airfares to Europe are really good this November. I thought I’d mention that because I’ve been spending a certain amount of time thinking about Thanksgiving week in Tuscany, where I could be drinking Brunello and eating wild boar chops ... Read more

Total time: 40 minutes, plus defrosting and soaking times | Serves 8 as a side dish
  • 1 (2.2 pound, 1000 g) package frozen tteokguk (Korean rice cakes)
  • 1 cup dried black mushrooms
  • 3 Chinese-style sausages (lap cheong)
  • ¼ cup canola oil, divided
  • 1 cup diced celery, from about 2 stalks
  • 2 tablespoons diced onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage, from about ¼ head
  • 1 cup chicken broth, or as needed, divided
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce, more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons finely-diced mild to medium chile
  • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil, more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, more to taste
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons diced green onion

Step 1Prepare the rice cakes: Place the package of frozen rice cakes in a bowl of water until softened and fully defrosted, 1 to 1 ½ hours at room temperature (the cakes can also be placed in the refrigerator to defrost overnight). Remove the cakes from the package and soak them in a bowl of water until the cakes separate from each other, about 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Step 2Meanwhile, in a small bowl, soak the mushrooms in enough water to cover until softened, about 40 minutes. Drain the water and dice the mushrooms. Set aside.

Step 3Bring a small pot of water to a boil and add the Chinese sausage. Boil until the sausage is softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain the water, slice the sausages on the bias so they are similar in size to the rice cakes. Set aside.

Step 4In a large nonstick pan with fairly high sides, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the mushrooms and, stirring frequently, cook until the mushrooms tighten and absorb most of the oil, about 2 minutes.Stir in the celery and onion and cook, stirring, until they begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and the cabbage, along with 2 tablespoons of chicken broth, and cook until the cabbage is softened, about 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Step 5Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan, along with the rice cakes. Heat the cakes over medium-high heat, gently but constantly stirring so they don’t stick to one another. Drizzle 2 tablespoons broth over the cakes as they heat, constantly stirring. Continue adding broth and stirring until the cakes are softened and warm throughout, 8 to 10 minutes. Be careful that the cakes do not stick to each other or the pan; however, a little coloring on the cakes is fine.

Step 6Stir the sausage in with the cakes and cook for about 1 minute to heat through. Stir in the soy sauce, chile, oyster sauce and sesame oil, along with the cabbage mixture, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes to marry the flavors. Add the pepper and salt if desired, along with the green onion, stirring to combine.

Step 7Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Note: The rice cakes, lap cheong and dried black mushrooms are available at Chinese markets.

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