Chapter 114: Diversified Ways of Cooking

Against the green lotus leaf edges, the golden yellow Fried Rice Patties appeared pretty refreshing. While emitting a faint fragrance, it was carried to the table.
"Enjoy your meal, please," Yuan Zhou said lightly.
"Boss Yuan, you are so experienced and knowledgeable and even able to make this. Please provide us with two cups of Watermelon Juice as well." Zhuang Xinmu was quite familiar with the food of Fried Rice Patties, which was better to be eaten with broth. If not, it would stick to the throat due to its excessive dryness.
"Ok, one moment, please," Yuan Zhou answered with a nod.
Yuan Zhou took out two watermelons from the cabinet and prepared to extract the juice.
"Mu Mu, so this is the Fried Rice Patties, right? It looks like the glutinous rice cake," while poking the golden yellow Fried Rice Patties on the plate, Wu Zhou asked in curiosity.
"They are different. This food is made of rice and has a different taste. Savor it yourself." Knowing that Wu Zhou hadn’t eaten that before, Zhuang Xinmu explained carefully.
"Everything Mu Mu says is right. I’m gonna eat now." Only after complimenting Zhuang Xinmu first did Wu Zhou turn his head and prepare to savor it.
The Fried Rice Patties cooked by Yuan Zhou were approximately the same size as to those sold outside but its appearance was much better.
Nevertheless, this dish cooked by Yuan Zhou didn’t have any fragrance.
Wu Zhou picked up one of the patties and stuffed it directly into his mouth before giving it a bite.
With a sound of "Ka Cha", he bit off one piece and then found that only the outer layer may be yellowish and crisp but the inside of the patties was actually tender and white, soft and tasty, with also a bit of viscosity that came from the rice.
After careful observation, he further discovered the yellowish and the white both existed on one rice grain.
Half the rice grain was in golden yellow and the other half was in tender white. Plus the slightly salty taste inside blended together with the typical fragrance of rice, it brought about a special texture, crisp, soft and tender.
"Pia Pia"
A strange sound came from inside his mouth. Wu Zhou couldn’t help taking another bite with a bigger mouthful this time. One could taste a clearer texture and even the moisture that emitted from the rice, making the food free of any underlying dryness.
One bite after another, the Fried Rice Patties were soon eaten up by Wu Zhou.
"Mu Mu, you are so amazing. The rice is so delicious and tasty after being cooked this way," Wu Zhou swallowed the last mouthful and said in admiration.
Zhuang Xinmu, nevertheless, had no time to answer him at that time. She only responded vaguely with a sound of "Oh" and was immersed in eating without caring about her ladylike appearance.
Actually, Wu Zhou just felt the patties were merely delicious. Since every dish in Yuan Zhou’s restaurant was pretty delicious, he felt it quite natural for the Fried Rice Patties to taste so good.
But it was different for Zhuang Xinmu. She often ate the homemade Fried Rice Patties at home, thus had a deeper understanding of it.
The Fried Rice Patties were essentially a kind of snack. Making it was of some difficulties, yet not too much. Originally, it required soybean milk to be eaten with as it was fairly greasy and too dry if eaten separately.
Those cooked by Yuan Zhou, nevertheless, didn’t have all these defects.
First, every rice grain had absorbed sufficient moisture which was released along with the intrinsic fragrance of rice when they were chewed, and thus gave it the perfect texture. As for grease, there was none on the chopsticks and the plate.
The swift movements when the Fried Rice Patties were scooped up ensured that there wasn’t any superfluous grease over them, only leaving the aroma and crispness after frying.
This aroma and crispness were all wrapped inside the golden yellow outer layer. As a result, the finished Fried Rice Patties didn’t emit any fragrance.
"Boss, have you ever been to the area south of the Yangtze River?" Zhuang Xinmu couldn’t help asking.
"No, never," Yuan Zhou answered decisively.
Zhuang Xinmu was greatly astounded in her heart. How did he manage to cook this food that tasted even better than those cooked by the natives if he hadn’t been there before? That was really inconceivable.
"If I had known the taste of the patties, we should have ordered something else rather than watermelon juice." Zhuang Xinmu regretted slightly. Two servings of patties and watermelon juice cost them on average 200 RMB per person and naturally, they were unlikely to continue ordering other dishes now.
"Never mind. Mu Mu, just order another serving if you like eating," Wu Zhou knew his girlfriend best, hence immediately said to her considerately.
"No. We can wait until we come next time to order other dishes." Zhuang Xinmu refused him flatly. Seeing Wu Zhou get a little wounded, she continued saying in a soft and low voice, "The next time we come will be a date."
Naturally, the latter half of the sentence was said in a low voice, but of course, it was totally out of the question for Yuan Zhou, who had good ears and eyes, to hear.
The consequences were terrible. Yuan Zhou even carefully thought of how to refuse these two lovers coming here for a date. He had a well-planned reason, saying that lover’s dining together would take up too much time.
All these thoughts happened in a flash. Of course, he was only thinking about it casually. Still, he handed the two glasses of the extracted watermelon juice to them.
"Please enjoy."
"Little Master Yuan, is there a new dish today?" the grandpa’s voice, full of energy, came from outside the door.
"No." Yuan Zhou answered squarely.
"Boss, don’t we have the 100 Styles of Rice Cuisine?" Mu Xiaoyun tilted her head and looked at Yuan Zhou in puzzlement.
"Little Master Yuan, how can you treat me like that? Do you want to keep the new dish from me?" the grandpa asked with a smile without getting angry at all.
"That is rice, not a dish," Yuan Zhou answered directly.
"Eh… that really isn’t a dish." the grandpa choked a little. However, he was a broad-minded person and didn’t really care about embarrassment this, saying, "Rice is better. Please serve me a plate of Jin’ling Grass and a bowl of plain white rice.
"Please look at the menu." Yuan Zhou signaled at him to check the menu behind.
"Grandpa, the boss provides only rice food from the 100 Styles of Rice Cuisine." Only after thinking for a while did Mu Xiaoyun eventually bring out the name of the food.
"Then offer me the plain cooked rice, please," the grandpa still said persistently after checking the price.
"One moment, please." After he found that the grandpa had known about the price, Yuan Zhou agreed.
Cooking rice was definitely easier and quicker. Yuan Zhou merely washed the rice once and poured it into the pressure cooker to steam the rice.
The pressure cooker could prevent the nutrition from the rice grains being lost and moreover contain it inside the grains. The taste and scent would also be the best this way.
While cooking the rice, Yuan Zhou began to process the Jin’ling grass. Actually, Yuan Zhou didn’t like cooking this dish as it required great care and wouldn’t allow the slightest bruise. Of course, it was also a good way for Yuan Zhou to practice his control.
After stir-frying the Jin’ling Grass dish, the plain cooked rice was also done and was ready for consumption. Not more or less, the rice just covered the bottom of the pressure cooker and would perfectly fill a small bowl after being scooped up. Without the need for changing to another bowl, Yuan Zhou would be able to scoop the rice into the bowl and could make it form a round top, giving it an extraordinarily neat and tidy appearance.
"This rice looks great," the grandpa paid a compliment to Yuan Zhou when he saw Yuan Zhou scoop the rice like that.
"Please enjoy your meal." Yuan Zhou carried the bowl of the rice to the front of the grandpa.
The egg-shell white porcelain bowl was painted with golden yellow rice ears, as if the plain cooked rice in the bowl were cradled with two coarse hands, making the slender rice grains appear clearer as jade while twinkling with a beautiful luster.
Wisps of heat rose up along with the fragrance of the rice. No wonder it was known as the Yang Xi Zao breed of Jing Shan Qiao Rice.
"Nice bowl and good rice." The grandpa very much liked the pattern resembling the farmers’ hands.
After giving the compliment, he started to eat.
Jing Shan Qiao Rice enjoyed great popularity among the people due to its strong aroma and its delicious but non-greasy taste.
"It seems I am coming at the right time." The clear and melodious voice of Yin Ya came from afar, outside the door.
"What do you want to eat today?" Yuan Zhou greeted her personally before Mu Xiaoyun opened her mouth and said something.
"I see there’s rice. I also want one along with the side dishes," Yin Ya said with a happy smile.
"Humm, it’s 100 Styles of Rice Cuisine," Yuan Zhou said directly without mentioning the menu.
"Does the word style really mean 100 ways to cook the rice?" Yin Ya reacted rather quickly.
"Yes, what do you eat?" Yuan Zhou nodded.
……

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