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Salty Rice Cake & Taro Rice Cake
In this ancient town in the south having a history of 2100 years, rice is something that people consume daily. Salt rice cakes, rice noodles, glutinous rice dumplings and various rice-related desserts and snacks are seen everywhere. Salt cakes and rice noodles are people’s favorite staple foods. As long as there was a rice noodle shop, there would be a salty rice cake shop next to it. With the continuous improvement of people’s living standards and the influx of foreign cuisines, rice noodle shops have grown stronger with the rich and varied ingredients, while the numbers of salty rice cake shops have continuously reduced due to their single taste and little profit. In big cities nowadays, shops selling salty rice cakes have become very rare.
As time went by and with the rapid development of the city and the transformation of the old districts, the little stalls run by families, are gradually disappearing. Machine grinding has replaced manually grinding with stones, the earthenware jars containing sauces are also replaced with good-looking and chic glass jars. The dimly lit small halls are now gorgeously decorated shops. The only thing that stays the same is the unique taste of salty rice cakes, still deeply in the minds of local people.
Salty rice cakes/cup cakes :
Japonica rice 500g (or Indica Rice)
Cool water 800g
80 grams of corn starch (add starch liquid to make the salty rice cake more chewy. If you’re making it for the elderly or children, this can be left out)
Soak the rice in water overnight (about 6-8 hours), grab the rice to check if it’s easily broken. Pour out the water, pour into fresh cold water and start grinding. (If you’re doing it manually, then you need to do it twice, while only one time is required if you use a blender. I still think that the rice cakes are tastier if you manually grind the rice milk, perhaps it’s just me being traditional :P) Pour the starch liquid and a little salt into the rice milk and mix thoroughly. Pour it into the bowl and wait for the water in the pot to boil. Put it on the steamer, steam for 15-20 minutes. Turn off the fire, wait for it to cool down and remove the lid. Look at these small “nests” of salty rice cakes in the bowls, they’re done!
Taro rice cake:
(You can use radish if you can’t buy taro, but the radish needs to be marinated with salt for half an hour after it being sliced. Let’s check out “how to choose taro”. You need to go for the fresh ones with little water. Simply choose bigger but lighter ones. )
Prepare the ingredients as you would for the salty rice cake.
Taro: use half or the whole one and slice it. Slow cook the oil in the pan with low fire. So, how can we tell if the taro slices are well fried? Just look at its colors getting darker and arch it a little.
Boil the water in the pot, put it on the steaming plate. Drizzle a layer of rice milk, steam for 3 minutes with high fire until it becomes thick. Spread the taro slices on top and spray another layer of rice milk. Then, steam for another 15 to 20 minutes.
Soy bean paste – two spoons of soybean paste, two bowls of water, two tablespoons of white sugar (depending on your taste) and a little corn starch liquid.
Yellow sugar vinegar – 4-5blocks. Put them in the pot and add water, melt them all with slow and small fire. When it cools down, put it in a jar and keep it sealed for several days (It becomes sour in about 20 days in summer and about 60 days in winter. The fermented sugar vinegar will have a thin layer on the top.) Sweet vinegar can be replaced with rice vinegar and brown sugar water, but it’s not as light and fresh as that of yellow sugar vinegar.
Salty sauce – prepare some shallots, one piece of ginger and one piece of garlic. Chop them into small pieces and put them in a pan over low heat until the taste is released. Add three bowls of water and boil over medium heat. Switch to small fire and cook slowly. Add a tablespoon of dark soy sauce and a little chicken essence, and sprinkle with a little green onion. When the green onions turn brown and sink to the bottom, especially when you smell the shallots, you can then turn off the heat.
Chili garlic – for folks who’re fond of spicy, you must try this! Eat your salty rice cake with chili garlic, that spicy flavor really matches well with salty rice cakes/taro rice cakes.
Regarding the choice of rice, I would go for japonica rice and In the past, people’s living standards were relatively low, and there was an insufficient supply of milk powder. Young mothers used to feed their little babies with rice cakes and breast milk. If you can’t make the differences among japonica rice, indica rice or other rice types, don’t worry. When you choose the rice, look for the cheapest type. It’s because early japonica rice has the worst quality among all types and they’re relatively round. I must admit that I really admire people living in ancient China, they always managed to turn unimportant ingredients into delectable dishes. What’s next? Please stay tuned for a few more dishes made from rice!
In the past, people’s living standards were relatively low, and there was an insufficient supply of milk powder. Young mothers used to feed their little babies with rice cakes and breast milk.
If you can’t make the differences among japonica rice, indica rice or other rice types, don’t worry. When you choose the rice, look for the cheapest type. It’s because early japonica rice has the worst quality among all types and they’re relatively round. I must admit that I really admire people living in ancient China, they always managed to turn unimportant ingredients into delectable dishes.
What’s next? Please stay tuned for a few more dishes made from rice!