Chinese Stir Fried Sticky Rice Cakes (Nian Gao)

Last week, on a surprise visit to see family, Mom made a couple of dishes that I normally don’t cook myself. One of them is this Chinese Fried Sticky Rice Cake Noodle dish (long name!) In Chinese, it’s called 炒年糕 Chǎo Nián Gāo.

The recipe is from my Dad’s hometown of NingBo in China.

What are Sticky Rice Cake Noodles (Nian Gao)

Nian Gao is normally eaten for Chinese New Year, as it signifies good fortune for the coming year. “Nian” means year and “gao” means high — translating loosely to “every year, may you reach higher and higher.”

Nian Gao can also mean sticky rice cakes that are fried in egg (savory) or fried with sugar (sweet). The Shanghainese and Korean version (TteokGuk photo) of nian gao is this recipe, where they take the glutinous rice cakes, cut them into ovals 2 inches long, 1 inch wide, and stir fry them like noodles.

You can find these rice cake noodles at Asian markets, either dried form (in the dried noodle section), frozen or in the refrigerated noodle section. Mom likes to buy frozen rice cake noodles, as they keep well in the freezer. They have to be soaked for 2 hours up to overnight in water. Purchase either the Korean or Chinese version, they are the same.

The rice cakes have to be soaked for 2 hours (up to overnight)

Dried or fresh Chinese mushrooms (or shiitake), canned bamboo shoots

Mom used mustard greens that she had salted overnight, but I’ve given easier instructions in the recipe to use Napa Cabbage.

and Pork marinated in soy, rice wine, pepper, cornstarch and a pinch of sugar.

The pork is first stir-fried until almost cooked through.

Then add the Chinese mushrooms.

Add in the bamboo shoots.

Then the vegetables.

Toss well.

Season with a bit of soy sauce. Taste first and add more if needed.

Add in the drained rice cakes.

Toss! Toss! Toss!

Pour in 1/4 cup of chicken broth or vegetable broth, cover, turn heat to low and let cook for 2-3 minutes until the rice cakes are softened.

Stir Fried Chinese Sticky Rice Cakes (Nian Gao) Recipe (炒年糕 chǎo nián gāo)

Servings: 6

Prep Time:15 minutes

Cook Time:15 minutes (with up to overnight soaking of noodles)