Learn to Cook Chinese Dishes - Rice & Flour Food


Food made of flour and rice is indispensable for a Chinese meal. Such food, when nicely combined with other dishes, not only makes more variety for a meal but also conforms to the rules of a balanced diet. A piece of dough made either of wheat or rice flour, together with vegetable dishes, can create food in countless varieties of tastes and shapes. When wheat or rice flour is mixed with water, you have the basis for a pastry food. Flour mixed with cold water is usually hard, has a strong elastic texture and is slippery in the mouth. Such dough is suitable for boiled dumpling and wonton wrappings. Flour mixed with hot water is soft and very doughy, which is good for making steamed and fried dumplings. Flour mixed with lukewarm water is neither too hard nor too soft but easy to shape and therefore suitable for making dumplings with varied patterns where the wrappings are scaled. Floury paste, made of flour and a lot of water, is suitable for making wrappings for spring rolls or other foods to be deep-fried. Risen dough, because it is soft and has many holes, is good for making steamed stuffed buns with various kinds of fillings, or for making rolls as well as deep-fried pancakes. Adding some fermented glutinous rice when making the dough rise gives the food the aroma of liquor. Flour can also be mixed with water and oil which, though not risen, becomes puffy and when cooked, the dough produces many layers and has a fluffy and fragrant taste, as in the case of pancakes with scallions and multi-layer cakes. Rice can be ground into flour and then mixed with water. Usually there are two varieties of rice flour: the sticky type made from glutinous rice and the dry type made from common rice. The grinding process also varies from that with water and that without. The result is different degrees of softness, fluffy nature and stickiness. And each type, in turn, produces several varieties of foods, but chiefly there are three categories: sticky cake, sticky ball and noodles. Rice flour is known for being slippery and soft to the bite. It can be used to make pastries, sweet porridge, eight-treasure rice and sticky cakes. The fillings inside the wheat or rice flour wrappings can be salty as in the case of meat, fish and poultry, or sweet. The latter type is usually made from beans, sugar, fresh or dried fruits. Whether to have salty or sweet fillings is left to the choice of the cook. Pastries require different processes, from making the wrappings, putting in the filling (including preparing the fillings), shaping and then steaming. Alternatively, the cook can also adopt the methods of deep-fry, slight-fry or baking. Pastries made from vegetables, fresh and dried fruits and varieties of grains are usually sweet and have an idyllic taste. These foods include porridge of sugar with lotus seeds, boiled sweet dumplings, sweet lotus roots and deep-fried sweet potatoes mixed with sugar.

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