Month: October 2016

Why I Hate White Rice

There is no use downplaying the significance of rice to Chinese cuisine. As one anthropologist put it: “Rice is life”. Although a majority of Chinese people no longer depend on wet rice agriculture for subsistence, no Chinese meal is complete without a bowl, or three, of polished white rice. Let me make this clear: I hate white rice. Here’s why..

First things first, the point of good food is to enjoy the taste. That is where all that simmering, stir-frying, braising comes in. Imagine plates of garlicky vegetables, perfectly tender, braised meats, rich, salty stir-fries. Now imagine white rice: a bowl of small, tasteless grains. It’s not the carbohydrates I’m against; there are plenty of delicious sources. Fruit, for example, is naturally sweet and refreshing. Sweet potatoes are rich, and taste great. Other varieties of rice, such as brown rice, red rice and forbidden rice, have a pleasant nutty taste as well as a superior mouth feel. All of these alternatives are both more delicious and nutritious as boring white rice.

Regarding nutrition, white rice is akin to white flour. It is processed and nutritionally devoid. A cup, or two servings, of white rice contains 200 calories 45g of carbohydrates with a paltry 1.2 g of fiber and literally no nutrients except smidgens of iron and magnesium. Its almost the same as white flour. The thing is, white flour actually produces a fluffier, sweeter texture, which people actually like. Doesn’t a doughnut or a small steak sound much better than a bowl of boring rice. Furthermore regarding nutrition, it hinders any weight or body goals. For those trying to loose weight, every calorie is precious. Why spend those 200 calories on tasteless crap. The sheer amount of refined carbohydrates compounded by the lack of fiber is a recipe for constipation and water retention. The tasteless nature of white rice also dampens the taste of other dishes, making more salt a necessity. Again, more water retention, which only leads to more stress.

For those trying to gain weight, white rice is also not the best choice. It is dense in carbohydrates, but not calories. It can also be quite filling, as well as tasteless, making probably already uncomfortable portions even worse. Another tablespoon or two of peanut butter or olive oil is probably a wiser choice. The bloating and constipation aren’t much help either.

 

So rant over. Can white rice be improved? Yes. The easiest is just to switch to an alternative. I suggest forbidden rice, sweet potato or just plain fruit. Going paleo isn’t a bad idea actually. If that is not an option, mixing some millet, or the above mentioned grains into boring white rice also helps jazz it up. Porridge and fried rice can also be tasty alternatives.

 

What do you think of white rice? Post in the comments.

Advertisements

Recipe Post: Steamed Pork Trotters

In my previous post about my recent trip to Xiang Tan, I mentioned that the pork trotters were AMAZING. Thus, it is only proper that I share the recipe

20161005_120216_resized_1


Steamed Pork Trotters

Ingredients

  •  1 -2 pork trotters, preferably the front ones, diced
  • Unground spices (Chinese Cinnamon, Bay leaves, star Anise cloves)
  • Ginger, cut into wide, thin slices
  • salt, to taste
  • soysauce

Directions

  1.  Heat a wok on medium and toss the trotters in with the ginger, salt and spices. Cook until the fat renders and the trotter is almost cooked (Around 10 minutes).
  2. Place into a pressure cooker and steam for approximately 20 min.
  3. Remove from steamer and douse with soy sauce. Serve and enjoy!

[\recipe]

Yep, only three steps and less than 40 minutes, including prep, until deliciousness.

National Holiday!!

Hi!!! The past week was China’s National Holiday, so I’ve been chilling. Not at home, at my grandparents place. National Holiday is like China’s July 4th. On October 1st 1949, Mao Zedong proclaimed the People’s Republic of China after defeating Chiang Kai Shek’s nationalist government in one of the longest civil wars ever. Anyways, we get pretty much an entire week of break because of it! YAY!

As previously mentioned, I spent the week at my grandparent’s house in Xiang Tan. Before I get into more detail, WE GOT A KITTEN!!!!

img_8735 img_8754

Actually he followed my brother home, so we adopted him. Isn’t he soooo cuuuutttteeee! His name is Mao Mao, after Chairman Mao.

Back to Xiang Tan. As usual, it was AMAZING and full of delicious meals. There was also pretty much no WIFI, so I got a much needed tech break. Even better, the osthamus trees were in full bloom so my walks were scenic and shaded. I basically spent all day either eating, studying or walking.

Food

The food has always been one of my favorite parts about going to Xiang Tan. Xiang cuisine, is one of China’s big 8. Although it’s characterized by oily and spicy food (not my type), my relatives manage to make it absolutely DELICIOUS!!!!.

img_0061

img_0062

I ended up with a food baby every night. I usually go straight for the steamed fish or bone soup, but this time, the pork trotters stole the show.

20161005_120216_resized_1

On the 5th day, I went to some relatives’ place. More food awesomeness followed. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take pictures as it would have been rude

… About the Relatives

National Holiday means that everyone is on vacation, which makes it the perfect time to go see relatives. We met my uncle for meals many times since he lives nearby (he took the pictures above). On the 5th day, the party got started when we headed towards Changsha. First, we lunched with some of my Grandparent’s nieces and nephews. There was basically a restaurant takeover, with our family occupying 10 tables. If that wasn’t enough, we headed directly to another nephew’s house, where I met some of the most sociable and caring people EVER. The nephew’s wife happened to also be a foodie, so plenty of time was spent sharing recipes and such.

Overall Impression

Xiangtan did not disappoint and I will be heading back ASAP!