Chicken is a staple in many households. Chicken in every possible preparation: roasted, grilled, spaghetti, pot pie, salad, you name it. Nonetheless, for as long as I can recall, if my family had a choice of protein, beef was typically the default. Beef fried rice and beef lo mein from the takeout joint, and grilled steaks instead of chicken on salads. We like our food to be hearty, and this Steak and Scallion Rice Cake Stir-Fry, a delicious Chinese dish made with tender beef, scallions, and rice cakes, is just the thing to satisfy that craving.
Tender pieces of steak, flavorful charred scallion, ginger, rich umami from soy and Shaoxing wine are all elevated by the wonderful sticky heaven of Chinese rice cakes (Nian Gao).
You should definitely make this.
Our non-Chinese guests always seem perplexed when we tell them “rice cakes” are made from rice flour and water, rolled into tubes, and then sliced into “cakes.” They’re deliciously chewy, almost like gnocchi in consistency.
- 1 pound of rice cakes
- 340g of sliced sirloin steak
- 4 thin slices of finely julienned ginger
- 3 scallions (2-inch pieces)
- 3 tablespoons of oil (divided)
- 2 tablespoons of shaoxing wine
- 1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce
- 1/2 tablespoon of cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon of light soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon of granulated sugar
- Set aside the beef for 15 minutes to marinate in 1 tablespoon of oil, 1 teaspoon of cornstarch, and 1 teaspoon of light soy sauce. Put two tablespoons of oil in your wok and heat it up to high heat. When it reaches a smoking temperature, add the steak and sear for a minute before removing it to a platter.
- When the ginger has begun to brown, add the scallions and give the wok a quick toss. The rice cakes should be added and stir-fried for a minute or two.
- Cover the wok immediately after spreading the Shaoxing wine over its outside edge. Leave covered for 2 minutes. Put in the beef, along with the soy sauces (one tablespoon of dark and one of light), the oil, the salt, and the sugar. Combine for a couple of minutes of tossing. The ideal texture for rice cakes is somewhere between soft and chewy. A longer cooking time may be necessary; if so, cover the wok.