Friday, October 10, 2014

Lunch Week 34: Rice Cakes with Pork and Vegetables

So every Sunday, I head over to the kitchen to whip up a big batch of food for lunch the next week. Yes, I brown bag. And I almost always do it every week unless I become too busy to even buy cold cuts from the deli. I do it for several reasons being health, finance, and laziness. Now, you may think that spending hours on a day off to prep and cook five meals at once is hardly lazy. But let me remind you, I hate it when the time comes to decide what to eat for lunch every day. I work in Midtown so the choices are endless. My problem, the more choices, the harder it is for me. So it's much easier for me to have my lunch ready and already decided.

So my lunch for the week: Rice Cakes with Pork and Vegetables
This week's lunch is something I've made before but I've been experimenting with it. I'm not completely satisfied with how I've been executing this dish but I get one step closer every time. And therefore, there is no step by step nor written recipe...yet. I'm still going to work on this until I'm entirely happy with the dish.

First the rice cakes. I used the oval sliced rice cakes. These keep really well in the freezer so you'll always find some in my kitchen. Before I stir fry them, I like to par cook them in boiling water. But just slightly until they float. If you overcook them, they'll be too mushy and sticky. Then drain and rinse well. The rinsing washes some of the sticky starches out which allows for better stir frying. I used a non-stick pan and a bit of oil to cook the rice cakes. Then I add two different soy sauces: dark and light. The rice cakes take on the color really well.
With the rice cakes, I added sliced pork chops. I took whole pork chops, trimmed off the fat. If you want a leaner cut, I think pork tenderloin would work really well here. I think if I did half fatty pork like pork belly and half leaner like pork chop then it may give this dish a really interesting taste and mouthfeel.
And of course you can't have a stir fried rice cake dish without pickled cabbage. These come pre-packaged and ready to eat. I just strain it, slice it, and stir fry it up.
Some scallions for freshness.
And the rest of the vegetables like savoy cabbage, shredded.
And chopped Chinese broccoli
And of course some sliced shiitake mushrooms. I used the fresh ones here and not dried.
Stir fry them separately but then marry them together at the end and you have my lunch for the week. But like I mentioned before, I'm not entirely happy with how this came out yet. I'm still playing around so stay tuned.

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