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Rice in Chinese cuisine

Currently, one fifth of all arable land in the country is allocated for rice crops. More than 40,000 species and varieties of rice are known in China. Nevertheless, they all belong to two main varieties – Indian and Japanese. But its share is insignificant.

Rice is not only a staple food in China. Rice vodka, noodles, vinegar, sweets are made from it, special cakes are baked, replacing bread in many regions. Rice flour was part of the first-class powder, which was very much appreciated by European fashionistas.

Rice straw is used to weave mats, make shoes, hats and umbrellas, as well as very strong and thin paper, and rice husks are used to pack fragile Chinese porcelain products.

The nutritional value of rice is enormous. And in this he is inferior only to wheat. But in terms of yield, rice has no equal among all grain crops. In many regions of China, two crops of rice are harvested a year!

Cultivation of rice is an extremely laborious and painstaking task.  So, breakfast in Chinese – zap-fan, which literally translates as early rice. Lunch – woo-fan – midday rice. And dinner – wan-fan – late rice. In China, they literally say the following about a person who has lost his job: “He broke his rice bowl …”

It should be noted right away that the methods of cooking Chinese rice are fundamentally different from those adopted in the Middle and Near East. The Chinese eat rice, like everything else, with chopsticks. That is why Chinese rice is slightly sticky, but each rice inside is dense. Steamed rice or the so-called instant rice is not suitable for cooking Chinese dishes. It is advisable to buy any high-quality long-grain rice, such as jasmine or Indica. These varieties of rice can be easily found on the shelves of our stores.

Jasmine Rice

This fragrant, snow-white, long-grain rice is grown in Thailand. Jasmine rice has a subtle, almost milky flavor and is ideal for spicy and exotic oriental dishes.
the grains of this rice stick together a little, but still retain their ideal shape.

Indica Rice

This variety of rice is versatile.  White long Indica grains do not stick together during cooking.

The Chinese cook rice in heavy cast-iron or aluminum cauldrons. The round shape of the bottom ensures even distribution of heat and prevents the rice from burning. In China, there is an ancient tradition: if guests are late or the meal is postponed for some reason, the cauldron with rice is put on a very, very small fire (but not more than 45 minutes). If you leave the rice to “freeze”, it will harden and turn into an inedible lump. No one will warm up and, moreover, pick such unappetizing rice with chopsticks.

Chinese tradition prescribes washing rice in exactly nine waters. As for the proportion of rice – water, opinions differ sharply here. Many experienced housewives who cook rice for their family several times a day do it by eye. Others dip their hand into the cauldron with rice and pour water until it touches the upper bones of the fingers. Apparently, the traditional proportion adopted throughout the East, one measure of rice to one and a half measures of water, should be recommended.

This is how rice is cooked in China. First, a tightly closed cauldron with rice is put on a very strong fire and allowed to boil quickly and vigorously. Then the lid is removed, the fire is reduced and they wait until the water has almost completely evaporated, and characteristic bubbles appear on the surface of the rice.

Rice congee

The Chinese are very fond of this kind of rice. It is believed that rice water is very useful for young children, as well as for patients suffering from various gastric diseases.  Broth is a great way to use not eaten at dinner and cooled rice.

Such a decoction can be prepared from both raw and boiled rice. In this case, it is important to observe the following proportions: for 7 cups of raw rice, 6 cups of cold water are taken, for 2 cups of boiled rice – 5 cups of water.

You will need: 100 g of rice, 1.5 liters of water.

Preparation: Rinse the rice well. Fill with cold water. In China, they love to snack on such rice. It is poured into bowls like soup. Eaten with soy sauce, pickled cabbage.

So, 10 minutes before the end of cooking, put small pieces of raw chicken breast, mushrooms, any vegetables on top, or just sprinkle with parsley. This rice should be served immediately.

Fried rice

This dish is certainly present in the menu of all Chinese restaurants without exception, from the most fashionable to the most modest caviar. It can be easily prepared at home.

You will need: 450 g long-grain rice, 900 ml water, 3 tbsp.

Preparation: Rinse the rice well. Pour 900 ml of cold water into a wok or cauldron, put rice and bring to a boil quickly. Dry the rice by laying it out on a kitchen towel.

Season with salt, sprinkle with monosodium glutamate and fry for about 1 minute more. This rice can be served instead of bread with any Chinese meat or vegetable dish. But it is also good as an independent dish with pickled cabbage, vegetable salad or just with soy sauce.

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