It's something about the texture, I guess. The chewiness of items made from rice flour is different from that of typical bread or pasta; it's stretchier, smoother, bouncier; firmer than pasta but also something like gnocci…sort of. Whatever is it, there's a certain resilience to rice-flour products that I love, and with rice cakes (or "ovalettes"), this chewiness is taken to a very satisfying level.
I was excited to see the bag of rice cakes in one of the Asian groceries around here. Cooking with them is simple, but does take a little bit of foresight, as they need to be soaked in cold water for two hours beforehand. That's all it is, though: throw them in a bowl of water, leave them alone. When you're ready to cook with them, drain the water and simply add them to the pan along with your other cooked ingredients.
My usual recipe for rice cakes is to stir-fry them with fish cakes, shitake mushrooms, and napa cabbage, but here I decided to make them with Chinese sausage, onion, and red and green peppers, because that's what I had on hand. First I pan-fried the sliced sausages, then scooped them out and sauteed the onions and peppers in the traces of grease left in the pan. When they were nearly cooked through, I added the soaked rice cakes and a sauce of about three parts soy sauce, two parts oyster sauce, and one part sesame oil. It didn't take too long for the rice cakes to soften and for the sauce to coat the ingredients.
I liked how this dish came out, but I still like the flavors of my other recipe better, I think. The sausages were too sweet along with the peppers and onions; something like beef or chicken would have worked out better. Or maybe I just need to adjust proportions?