Tips For Cooking 4 Essential Chinese Rice Dishes – Rice is an integral part of many Asian cuisines. Rice can be eaten plain or with other dishes served alongside it.
It’s versatile and inexpensive, making it the perfect food to have on hand for a quick weeknight dinner. However, cooking rice can seem daunting at first glance if you aren’t familiar with the process.
Welcome to this new article in our Chinese Food Focus: First Bite Series.
So here are tips for how to cook four essential Chinese rice dishes!
01- White Rice or Steamed Rice
White rice gets served as an accompaniment to stir-fried dishes, braised meats and vegetables, dumplings boiled in soup, and congee (rice porridge) or rice gruel. It is the most common form of cooked rice in China, but it can be prepared easily at home using an electric rice cooker.
Wash the uncooked rice to remove excess starch, making the grains less sticky for cooking. Put down about 2 cm of water in the rice cooker and run your fingers through the wet rice to roughly separate it. Drain off the milky liquid.
- Rinse the rice until the water runs clear before cooking for a softer crust at the bottom.
- When steaming white rice, use slightly less water than usual as only a little will evaporate from the heat of the steamer.
- When cooking plain white rice, add the salt after the rice has cooked to avoid salt penetration into grains.
02- Fried Rice
” Fried rice ” refers to dishes where leftover or cold cooked rice is stir-fried with meat, vegetables, and seasonings.
Once you master this easy technique for turning leftover rice into a tasty meal, you will be making fried rice all the time!
- Use day-old cooked rice (the drier, the better), add some oil to keep it from clumping together and use high heat to stir fry until each grain is heated. If you are using meat, make sure to cook it before adding the rice thoroughly.
- Use oil sparingly when stir-frying to avoid sticking.
03- Boiled Rice
This method can be used for any type of rice and results in a wetter dish than “Fried Rice” and not as dry as steamed rice, with a slight chewiness to the grains.
It is popular in all parts of China, and Chefs make it quickly using pre-cooked rice.
– Fill your wok or large saucepan one-third full with water and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Add the rice and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat, cover the simmer for about 10 minutes until the rice has absorbed all of the water.
- Take off the lid, stir with chopsticks or a fork to fluff up the grains, then put on a lid again for another minute to steam the rice.
Note: you can also use this method to cook raw rice, but it will take longer for the water to absorb.
04- Rice Porridge
Rice porridge has been a Chinese staple food for thousands of years and still serves as comfort food throughout China.
Congee gets eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and you can make it with different ingredients such as chicken or eggs.
Most Chinese cooks will have already-cooked rice at home to quickly whip up a bowl of congee when they come down with a cold.
- Wash the rice in several changes of water until the water runs clear.
- Put the washed rice in a large pot with double its volume of water.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. The congee should be smooth, thick and soupy.
Conclusion: Tips For Cooking 4 Essential Chinese Rice Dishes
Rice is a staple food for many cultures. It’s inexpensive, filling and easy to cook with just water or broth.
With the help of these four tips, you’ll be able to make some commonplace Chinese rice dishes in next to no time at all!
If you have any ideas of your own, please be sure to share them in the comments below.