Hello! Are you also wondering how to cook rice like in Chinese restaurant? They seem perfect every time. Join me as I get to discover the Chinese secrets.
China Loves Rice
People living in the western countries and some other regions of the world think that Chinese people eat rice every single meal, as they see at the majority of Chinese restaurants across the globe.
However, when you are in China, surely you can have a meal without rice as it is not the only dish they have to serve but trust that most of the other dishes are still made from rice.
In 1939, the study revealed that the adult males in the southern part of China roughly consume 485 pounds of rice every year whereas, in other parts of China, people don’t consume rice at all. Today due to easy transportation and storage facilities, people all over China consume rice.
Particularly there are two main types of rice in China the Japonica and Indica rice variety. Northern Chinese like to eat the Japonica rice, short and hard rice whereas, the southern Chinese love eating Indica rice, long, thin and soft.
Chinese Rice Festivals
Chinese people believe that rice is an essential tool of their ancestor’s survival thousands of years ago. This is why rice is so important in Chinese culture and is always a part of their festivals and celebrations.
- Rice is a mandatory part of the Spring Festival, also known as the lunar new year
- Rice dumplings are famous for the 15th night of the first lunar month
- Zongzi, a famous rice dish made with glutinous rice is widely used during the Dragon Boat Festival which is the 5th day of the 5th lunar month
- On the 8thday of the twelfth lunar month, people in China eat rice porridge with beans, nuts and dried fruits
- Rice cakes are very famous for “Double Nine” festival on the 9th day of the 9th lunar month
Cooking Rice in Chinese Restaurants
Rice is a very important part of the Chinese diet along with noodles and both are equivalent to the potato and pasta of the western diet. Particularly Chinese people, they consume rice with every meal of the day. In the southern part of China, people especially consume a large amount of rice and considered it as the most important ingredient of their daily diet.
Finally, it is true to say that cooking rice isn’t difficult; you don’t need to have some kitchen skills to do this job. It is perhaps one of the easiest things you can cook without any expertise and prior experience. Mainly we have two methods to complete this job i.e. cooking rice over the stove in a pot and secondly using the rice cookers and let them do this work for you.
Traditional Rice Cooking
Traditionally, rice in Chinese restaurants is cooked in slow steam on a stove top. Chinese restaurants use large pots for cooking the rice.
There is no definite method of cooking traditional Chinese rice. It all totally depends on instincts like how ancient people in Asia used to do.
In any types of rice variety they use, they follow the 1:1 rice to water ratio or the traditional “first knuckle” policy. To do this, level the rice in the pot and add water, place your index finger on the rice surface to measure the water.
It should be level to the first knuckle from the top of the index finger.
Follow these steps on how to cook rice traditionally:
- Measure the quantity of rice to be cooked
- Wash the rice at least twice just to remove excess starch and dirt
- Now it’s time for the “first knuckle” policy. Follow above steps
- Add a bit of salt and butter to taste but this is optional
- Place the pot on the stove top and cook it on medium heat
- When the rice starts to boil, wait until the water is absorbed then set the flame on the lowest heat to let it steam
- After 10 minutes, use a fork or spatula to fluff the rice and turn off the heat to let it steam for a while
- Serve warm!
Modern Rice Technique
Thanks to technology! Rice cooking in modern Chinese restaurants today are also using electric rice cookers. Before chefs need to randomly check on the rice cooking to ensure that it does not get burnt, today, they leave the cooking to modern rice cookers with fuzzy logic, micom, or with induction heating rice cooker technologies.
These smart technologies will allow you to do more tasks rather than waste your time checking on your rice cooking. It greatly saves time and effort in cooking time and preparation.
Most of these modern rice cookers come with manuals with correct rice to water measurements.
Check out these steps on how to cook rice in a rice cooker:
- Measure the rice according to the cooker’s manual (Note: Most brands include their own measuring cup but is a bit smaller than the standard size)
- Place the grain in the rice cooker inner pot and rinse thoroughly.
- Add water according to the manual and the rice variety (White short grain variety you need 1 1/4 cups of water to 1 cup of rice)
- Put the inner pot in the rice cooker
- Check the rice cooker for the cooking options (Modern rice cookers have cooking settings per grain and dishes plus digital control panels)
- Let it cook.
- When the rice is ready, the cooker turns to its automatic ‘keep warm‘ function, leave it for about 10-15 minutes
- Remove the lid and serve!
Advantages of Rice Cookers
As mentioned above, the traditional Chinese restaurants are still using the stove and large pots to cook rice for their customers whereas; modern restaurants are equipped with technology and use the electric rice cookers for this purpose.
Some of the key advantages of using rice cookers are:
- Consistently perfect and fluffy rice all the time
- Rice cookers are easy to clean
- Automatic keep-warm settings. No need to re-heat on the stove
- No overcooked or under-cooked rice
- It ‘cooks’ on its own
There are various modern rice cookers available in the market today and it is extremely hard to decide which one of them is the best. The most popular we have right now are actually Japanese rice cookers such as the Zojirushi.
You can cook different rice grains like: brown rice, red rice, wild rice, and even other grains like barley, lentils, and many more. It seems that rice cookers can now fill up the space of other kitchen equipment because it can do more things such as cooking porridge, soups, stews, fried rice, sushi, and more dishes.
The secret in cooking rice like in Chinese restaurants is the process. Regardless of what equipment or method you will be using as long as the passion and love for cooking is there, you will still achieve the best result.
Of course, in today’s demanding times, we have to keep up with the pacing and requirements of modern day technologies. These modern devices make our lives easier and always better. Cooking rice in a rice cooker will be the most revealing secrets ever told.
Do you have other revelations in Chinese way of cooking rice? Give us a hint by commenting below!