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Prominent as noodles may be in Chinese cuisine, the most basic staple food is rice. The Chinese word for rice is ' fan' pronounced as 'fun'. Rice is the main food to eat in China, so much so that when Chinese say 'eat rice', they mean to eat a meal.

Bowl of White RiceRice is generally divided into short-grain, medium-grain and long-grain type. Short-grain rice or round-grain rice is a very glutinous kind of white opaque rice, good for making Chinese desserts, either ground or boiled. Eating rice has more translucent grains. It has two kinds, a medium-grain and a long-grain type. The former, also called oval-grained rice is more sticky and harder to cook, because during cooking a sticky coating has to be washed away before continuing cooking. Steaming is also a good way to cook the medium-grained rice. The latter is easier to cook and is commonly served with Chinese food.

Chinese prefer long-grain white rice and is available in Asian markets and most supermarkets. There is perfumed rice available in the market today such as jasmine and basmati. They have a much more distinct flavor than other varieties. The amount of water and the cooking time for them is lesser than long-grain rice. For convenience, we now have instant rice, which is white rice that is precooked and then dried to shorten its cooking time. Try to avoid this whenever possible because its flavor, texture and nutritional value are compromised.

Chinese Fried RiceRice can be cooked into two forms, boiled/dry rice and thin rice. Dry rice is the usual main food of a meal and is made by boiling or steaming. Thin rice, called 'juk' in Cantonese, or congee is made by boiling very little rice in a great volume of water. Sometimes meat and or preserved egg is added near the start of making the congee. Congee is often accompanied by fried bread sticks known as 'you tiao' in Chinese or 'yao char guai' in Cantanose. It is eaten by Chinese as breakfast or late supper, or at any time just as 'snack' as it's not a very filling food. Congee, easy to swallow and digest, is considered a part of traditional Chinese medicine food therapy and often eaten by the frail.

The Chinese do not always cook just enough rice for one meal. There is usually a lot of leftover rice, which can be reheated with a little water added and be as good as newly cooked. Leftover rice will keep for a few days, and it's perfect for making Chinese fried rice (stir fry rice with soy sauce, eggs and other ingredients). Store it in a covered container in the refrigerator only after the rice is perfectly cold.

Chinese Fried Rice

"Talk doesn't cook rice." (Chinese Proverb)





- Chinese-style Beef & Vegetables Fried Rice
- Chinese Fried Rice with Pork
- Chinese Fried Rice with Shrimp
- Seafood Porridge Special (M)
- Pineapple Fried Rice
- Fried Rice with XO Sauce
- Hong Kong Style Congee
- Peanut and Oyster Porridge
- Rice with Chicken and Tomatoes
- Chopsticks Fried Rice
- Congee with Sliced Beef and Egg
- Chinese Vegetarian Fried Rice

- Yong Chow Fried Rice
- Congee with Assorted Meat
- Fried Rice with Ham & Beansprout
- Sizzling Rice Soup
- Szechuan Beef Fried Rice
- Chinese Sausage in Rice Pot
- Vegetarian Fried Rice
- Chicken Congee Hong Kong Style
- Rice with Scallops and Diced Pork
- Fried Rice Wrapped in Lotus Leaves
- Rice with Chinese Sausage

(M) = Microwave Recipe

How to Cook Perfect Rice

Boiled RicePerfectly cooked rice is tasty, light, and fluffy. The grains are distinct and tender but not mushy. Different rice cooks at different parameters; brown rice cooks longer than white, old rice can lose some of its moisture, requiring more water and a longer cooking time. However getting consistently good results is not impossible. Rice can be cooked in one of several ways: boiled and steamed. Boiling Rice can be boiled in water, stock, juice, coconut milk, and etc. Hainanese Chicken Rice is cooked using chicken stock along with crushed garlic and other herbs...


You might be interested: Table manners

"Cutting stalks at noon time, Perspiration drips to the earth. Know you that your bowl of rice, Each grain from hardship comes?"
(Cheng Chan-Pao, Chinese philosopher)

This saying indicates how respectful the Chinese treat rice as every grain of rice represents Paddy Fielda hardship of labor. Therefore, a very important thing about table manners that was drilled into children in a traditional Chinese family is to leave a spot clean bowl at the end of a meal. It is alright to waste a little vegetable or meat, but not grain. Stories are made up to scare children into eating their rice bowls clean. For example, if you leave any grains in your bowl, you will marry a wife or husband with pimples scarred face, and the more grains you waste, the more scars he will have. It is very easy to avoid such results. When your rice is getting shallow in your bowl and becomes difficult to scoop out any on your chopsticks, you put your bowl against your lips in a drinking position and shovel the rice with your chopsticks from the side. In this way, it's very easy to eat your rice to the last grain.



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Last Modified: 11/28/11.