Kyler’s Recipes

Spicy Pork and Rice Cakes





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•½ cup grapeseed or other neutral oil

•3 large yellow onions, cut in half and thinly sliced

•2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

•1 pound ground pork

•2 very loosely packed cups (1 ½ ounces) dried red chiles

•2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

•2 tablespoons toban djan (jarred Chinese fermented bean and chile sauce) or ssämjang (the Korean analogue to toban djan)

•1 tablespoons Sichuan peppercorns

•1 tablespoon gochugaru (Korean chile powder)

•6 tablespoons water

•1 tablespoon usukuchi (light soy sauce)

•1 tablespoon sugar

•2 cups sliced or coarsely chopped Chinese vegetables, such as Chinese broccoli or bok choy

•8 long cylindrical rice sticks, cut into 1-inch lengths

•8 ounces silken tofu, drained

•1 cup sliced scallions, greens and whites

•½ cup packaged Chinese fried shallots


Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a wide skillet over medium-high heat. After a minute or two, when the oil is hot, add the onions and ½ teaspoon of the salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions start to take on color and begin to shrink in the pan, about 10 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium and cook, turning the onions over on themselves every 5 or so minutes, until golden and soft and sweet, about 20 minutes longer.

Meanwhile, heat another tablespoon of the oil in a wide skillet over medium-high heat. After a minute or two, when the oil is not, add the ground pork and cook, jabbing at the meat with the edge of the spoon to break it up, for about 10 minutes, just until it has lost its raw pinkness but not so long that it browns or threatens to dry out. Transfer the pork to a bowl and reserve it. Return the pan to the stove.

Add the remaining 5 tablespoons oil to the pan, turn the heat down to medium, and let the oil heat up for a minute. Add the dried chiles and warm them through in the oil for about 1 minute, until they’re fragrant. Add the sliced garlic and cook, stirring, for a minute to infuse its flavor into the oil—it doesn’t need to color, but when the aroma of garlic is rising from the pan, it’s ready. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the Chinese chile bean sauce, Sichuan peppercorns, and gochugaru. Reserve until the onions are cooked.

Add the water, cooked onions, and pork to the pan with the chile sauce and stir to combine. Stir in the soy, sugar, and remaining 2 teaspoons salt. At this point, you can cool the sauce and refrigerate it (for a few days) or freeze (for a few weeks), if desired.

Meanwhile, put a large pot of water on to boil and salt it well.

Bring the sauce to a simmer over medium heat and stir in the chopped greens. Cook them for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the stems are just tender.

Drop the rice cakes into the boiling water and cook them for 2 to 3 minutes, until warmed through. Or, we prefer to skip boiling and crisp them up in a pan for 3–5 minutes until they are puffed. Add them to the pan with the sauce. Whisk the tofu until creamy and fluid and then stir it into the rice cake mixture.

Divide the rice cakes and ragu among serving bowls, garnish each with some scallions and packaged fried shallots, and serve hot.




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