Vegetarian Stir-fried Rice Cakes (Su Chao Erkuai)
SERVES 4; photo p. 91 Total: 20 min.
Salty, acidic pickled mustard greens are popular in soups, stews, and stir-fries all across Asia. They can be found prepackaged at Asian grocery stores, or made at home using a salt or vinegar brine (see "Pickle Me This," p. 104).
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil ¾ lb. Yunnan-style rice cakes (erkuai), cut ⅛-inch thick into triangular slices (2½ cups), or substitute thawed frozen sliced Korean rice cakes (ovalettes) 2 cups (3½ oz.) Napa cabbage, cut crosswise into 2-inch strips 3 Tbsp. (1 oz.) pickled mustard greens, cut into 1-inch pieces 1 Tbsp. Chinese light soy sauce ¼ cup thinly sliced scallions, white and light-green parts only 6 dried Thai chilies, stemmed and sliced crosswise into ½-inch pieces
1 Set a large wok over highest possible heat. Once it’s hot, add the oil and swirl it gently to coat the surface. When the oil begins to smoke and shimmer, add the rice cakes, and use a wok spatula or wooden spoon to stir constantly until the outer surfaces of the rice cakes start to bubble slightly and lose their glossiness, 1–2 minutes. Add the cabbage and pickled greens, stirring and tossing constantly, until the cabbage begins to wilt, about 1 minute. Drizzle in the soy sauce, pouring it around the outer edge of the wok in a circle, stirring constantly to fully incorporate. Add the scallions and chiles while stirring and tossing the mixture. Cook until the chiles have just softened and the mixture is fragrant, about 1 minute.
2 Transfer the mixture to a serving platter or bowl, and serve immediately.