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Survivor China: Minimalist dormitory cooking

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Yes, but my question is, are they used for any special purpose? They're everywhere, which suggests some common widespread use. You'll never find anything like that in a Western supermarket.

 

Further, they're usually pretty crudely packed, suggesting they're sort of a craft food.

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skylee

Sweet soup.

 

Or put them in hot water and use the water for bath. Do not rinse. It moisturises and cures skin itches.

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abcdefg

Skylee, I would never have thought of adding sugar to the bath water. (Of course, here in China I only take showers.)

 

I have not seen those two-tone sugar bars here in Kunming, although I admit I never have looked for them specifically. Lots of times I just overlook stuff and would swear it doesn't exist until I do a specific search and learn otherwise.

 

One of the popular uses of brown sugar such as I pictured above is to use it together with sliced ginger in treating a cold 感冒。 Boil the 红糖 and 姜 together in your clay medicine pot. Drink lots of of this special 药水 medicine water, bundle up warm and get extra rest. Call me if you aren't better in the morning.

 

IMG_9096.thumb.JPG.c473a8934626bf60ad2c11bee58851a2.JPGAnother kind of sugar I frequently use and always keep on hand is 冰糖 or rock sugar. Used some yesterday when making a couple of steamed snow pears. 冰糖蒸雪梨。Cut off the tops and fill them with rock sugar and dried gouqi berries 枸杞。

 

IMG_9098.thumb.JPG.0aa13ca91cb7981245b98a9068ba719b.JPG

 

(Here's a link to the full recipe: https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/51906-chinese-medicine-that-tastes-good-冰糖炖雪梨/#comment-399195)

 

 

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abcdefg

Yes, I see what you mean. I wonder what the difference is between the lighter sugar in the middle and the darker sugar on the surfaces. Don't have time now for a long search plus read on the Chinese internet to find out. Maybe later.

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grawrt

My two cents:


For those of your tired/sick of eating  rice all the time, you can try cooking 荞麦 (buckwheat groats). It's really simple to make and if you go to school with a lot of Russians you'll likely see them eating the toasted variety (kasha). 


1 cup buckwheat groats to 1 3/4 water (depends, you need to check if it needs more or less water) and cook until soft, about 15-20 minutes on low. You can make this in a rice cooker or hot plate. I usually toast it for about 5 minutes on a dry pan. You can use a flavorful stock, you can flavor it to your whim, or like me keep it simple (my nickname is blandy :P haha). 


Buckwheat is really healthy, easy to find (I usually buy it in the chinese supermarkets, its about 13 for one jin) and incredibly filling. I've read that you can also make a porridge with it but I haven't tried that out yet. Hope this helps. I wish I knew how chinese people usually cook this. 

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abcdefg

Thanks, @grawrt, I've never tried buckwheat groats. (By the way, I really appreciate your giving the Chinese name.) Do you toast them before adding water and boiling so the dish will develop more flavor? Do you add a sprinkle of salt or sugar when finished?

 

Since you like things bland 清淡 and simple but presumably still not boring 无聊, I wonder if you would enjoy a couple of additives that I have found helpful for similar dishes. These both can add just a little something to "round out" the flavor when used with a light hand.

 

IMG_9228.thumb.JPG.68e81a87633b0dd34078186c8bdf0ff5.JPG

The one on the left is 鸡精 or granulated chicken bouillon. The one on the right is a similar product made from dehydrating a combination of eight different vegetables. It's called 蔬之鲜。Neither one has a strong taste.

 

Both are by the 太太乐 company, which is a well-known and reputable outfit. They are said to produce their ingredients in a health-conscious way.

 

 

 

 

 

I often make oat meal 燕麦片 for breakfast; typically adding a handful of tasty Xinjiang raisins 新疆葡萄干。Sometimes I will also scrape in some artisanal brown sugar 红糖。

 

And occasionally I make a hearty cold-weather soup with barley 大麦 plus vegetables and chicken stock. Hmm, maybe I'll try a chicken soup with buckwheat 荞麦 instead.

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abcdefg
20 hours ago, grawrt said:

I've read that you can also make a porridge with it but I haven't tried that out yet. Hope this helps. I wish I knew how chinese people usually cook this. 

 

Here's how you make it into a porridge 粥。Basically, combine two parts buckwheat and one part rice, cook them together over low heat about 40 minutes. Pre-soaking helps texture: 3 hours for the buckwheat and 30 minutes for the rice.

 

Here's the full write-up: http://www.meishij.net/zuofa/qiaomaizhou_1.html

 

 

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grawrt

Thanks abcdefg!


I toast my buckwheat groats for about 5 minutes on a try pan, just shake it every so often to make sure it doesn't burn, when the color gets a brownish color you can just add boiling water to it, cover and bring the heat down to a simmer until there's no more water. If the grains are still hard or the water evaporates before hand you can add a bit more water. I think buckwheat is a forgiving grain(?) so its hard to mess up. I usually add a bit of salt, when its cooking, and a bit of oil or butter 

 

I have the  蔬之鲜 in my cabinet. I usually sprinkle a bit into soups and stuff. The only thing I don't really like about it is that there is MSG in it, which makes me really dehydrated. I actually used some of this yesterday in barley soup I made (funny that you should mention it too). Barley is also a great grain to use/have on hand to add and not too expensive/hard to find.


I usually add my oats to some yogurt (the one with the gray label that has no sugar in it thats like 10 kuai) and do my own mixin's, usually banana with a bit of peanut butter, or diced apples and cinnamon, maybe even add walnuts. The great part about it is you don't have to cook it. i have classes every day at 8 so its a quick breakfast for me. You can try it some time :)

 

Thanks for the recipe on the porridge. I think I'll give it a try this week. 
 

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abcdefg

Buckwheat groats are now on my shopping list! Appreciate the tip. They sound tasty and nutritious. And those sound like some delicious ideas for yogurt, fruit and grain mix! A fine way to launch the day when one has 8 a.m. classes. Last year I did early Tai Chi and had to be out at the practice grounds by 8. That did a lot to streamline my morning routine.

 

When you use oat meal with yogurt like that, do you use the "instant" kind of oats? Mine say they must be mixed with boiling water and allowed to stand for 5 minutes. Some others I've bought here even had to be boiled a couple minutes on the stove top.

 

 

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grawrt
1 hour ago, abcdefg said:

When you use oat meal with yogurt like that, do you use the "instant" kind of oats? Mine say they must be mixed with boiling water and allowed to stand for 5 minutes. Some others I've bought here even had to be boiled a couple minutes on the stove top.

 

any rolled oats will work. I usually like my oats that still have the shape (flattened and oval) just let it sit in the yogurt a bit longer. What I usually do is mix my oats in the yogurt first while I cut up my fruit. If you want it to be soft then I'd recommend getting the really chopped up 1 minute esque oats. 

 

The only oats that wouldn't work would be the rounded, steel-cut oats. But i think if you keep them in yogurt overnight it should still work. 

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