Chinese Rice Cakes with Spring Onion and Corn

Now these little blighters were an absolute revelation. I hadn’t held out much hope for them as I had thought I’d messed up the preparation. I subsequently discovered that I had made them perfectly! The crunchy outer shell, and the salty, fragrant filling are just perfect. The directions seem complex, but in actual fact they’re pretty easy. You’ll be able to get hold of all the flours very easily in any Asian supermarket – or like me in a regular supermarket in the Asian or health food section.

For the dough:

½ cup rice flour
2 tablespoons tapioca flour
2 tablespoons glutinous rice flour
1½ tablespoons peanut oil
pinch salt

For the filling:
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 garlic clove (minced)
3 cups chopped spring onion
1 tablespoon fresh coriander (chopped)
1 cup fresh corn kernels
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
pinch white pepper

Peanut oil (for frying)

To make the dough, combine all the flours with the salt. Pour in the oil and 1/2 cup water and stir well. You should produce a sticky dough (if too wet add a little more rice flour). Heat a large saucepan over a low heat. Dollop out the dough into the pan and start stirring. The dough should release itself from the pan easily. Keep stirring till it thickens and becomes less sticky (about 3-4 minutes) don’t stop moving it around the pan or it will burn. After the 3 minutes, turn the dough onto a board and cool for 5 minutes. Sprinkle over a little of the rice flour and knead for 3-4 minutes until it becomes more elastic and pliable. Divide into 8 balls and arrange on a plate. Cover and set aside.

To make the filling, heat the oil in a saucepan over a moderate heat. Sizzle the garlic for 30 seconds, then add the spring onions and stir well for 4-5 minutes until wilted. Add the corn and cook for a further 2 minutes before adding the soy, coriander, sugar and white pepper. Cook for a further 2 minutes before spooning into a bowl to cool completely.

Take a rice dough ball and flatten it out in your hands to a 10x10cm disc. Place a heaped tablespoon of the filling into the centre then bring up all the edges to form a kind of money bag. Pinch the edges together. Flatten the bag into a rounded rectangular shape and arrange on a plate while you repeat the process with the remaining rice balls.

Heat some water in a steamer pan and then arrange the cakes (without touching) on a piece of baking parchment in the pan and steam for 15 minutes. Remove from the pan and rub in a little oil to stop them sticking. Cover and cool for 15 minutes.

Heat a non-stick frying pan with 1 cup peanut oil over a moderate heat then when hot, place in all the cakes so that they aren’t touching. Fry them for 5 minutes each side until golden brown. Be very careful as these little cakes can spit quite viciously! Stand well back.

Drain on paper towels then serve immediately.

Serve with some soy sauce to dip and a few lime wedges to tart up the flavour.

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