Since it was discovered, rice has been considered a versatile ingredient that works perfectly by itself or paired with others. Therefore, it has become the base of most cuisines worldwide.
Rice is not only the preferred staple food in most homes around the world, but the key ingredient of popular traditional dishes. Paella, risotto, pilaf, and even rice desserts are just some of the well-known international rice-based meals.
In China, the birthplace of rice, its use dates back to 8,200–13,500 years ago in the Pearl River valley, where the first rice crops were discovered. Not surprisingly why the world’s largest producer and consumer of rice is China. This explains why this grain is cooked in everyday meals in each Chinese home.
Rice as a staple in China
In some Chinese regions, rice is the basic food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. A typical Chinese breakfast is Congee, which is flavored rice porridge. or rice dumplings: steamed glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves.
For lunch, rice is usually eaten plain as an accompaniment to meat and vegetables, or as a full plate such as congees and fried rice. Some popular dishes at lunch are: chinese egg fried rice, Covered Rice (Gaifan), hot pots, to name a few.
Dinner time is considered the most important meal of the day, the typical dishes include some soup, meats, vegetables, and obviously rice. Dinner preparations are: egg rolls, hot and sour soup, fried rice, sweet and sour chicken, and many more.
Cooking rice in China
Generally, rice is cooked by boiling or steaming. Both processes imply that rice grains absorb water until they are tender. In China, rice is mainly cooked with water, steamed, boiled, fried or in porridge.
They often use rice cookers, instant pots or the classic pot on the gas or electric stove.
The advantage of cooking rice is its ease and rapid preparation. The simpler the recipe, the faster the cooking time, but if you want a more elaborated dish, it surely will take longer.
However, there are techniques and ingredients that can make the process of cooking rice even quicker and easier, for example, using instant rice and a microwave oven.
Most people may think using shortcuts will not give the best taste in any rice dish. But this is not the case.
A microwave is a useful cooking appliance with multiple benefits which gives delicious dishes and saves time. All meals prepared in a microwave have taste and texture comparable to those cooked with traditional techniques.
As for Chinese rice preparations, the microwave can help you to cook rice meals in just a few minutes, maintaining all typical Chinese flavors.
For example, try these recipes of traditional egg fried rice and enjoy cooking Chinese rice in a matter ofminutes.
Egg fried rice in microwave (2 servings)
- 1 teaspoon of oil.
- 1 lightly whisked egg.
- 1/2 cup of basmati rice.
- 1/4 cup of chopped carrots.
- 1/4 cup of chopped bell peppers.
- 1/4 cup of chopped green peas.
- 1 cup of water.
- 1 teaspoon of soy sauce.
- 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil.
- Chopped spring onions for garnish.
- 1. In a microwave-safe bowl, pour oil. Then add whisked egg and cook for 1 minute.
- Take the egg out and break it into pieces with a fork. Reserve.
- In the same bowl, add rice, carrots, bell peppers, green peas, soy sauce, sesame oil, and water. Combine all ingredients very well.
- Cook at high power for 8 minutes. Let it stand for 1 minute.
- Incorporate cooked egg and stir.
- Serve with spring onions on the top.
Vegan fried rice in microwave (4 servings)
- 2 cups of cooked long grain rice.
- 2 cups of vegetable broth.
- 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
- 1 teaspoon of chopped garlic.
- 1/2 cup of capsicum.
- 1/2 cup of scallions.
- 1/2 cup of carrots.
- 1 teaspoon of sesame oil.
- 2 tablespoons of soy sauce.
- Scallions for garnish.
- Chopped peanuts for garnish.
- Put rice and water in a microwave-safe bowl.
- Cook at high power for 10 minutes. Cover the bowl (vent holes open) and cook for 10 more minutes. Let it stand and cool it down in the fridge.
- While the rice is cooling, in a microwave-safe pot add oil rice, garlic, capsicum, scallions, carrots, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Stir all ingredients very well.
- Incorporate rice and cook at high power for 5 minutes.
- Garnish with spring onions and peanuts for serving.