Chapter 115: Strange Methods

"What about Fenli①?" Yin Ya thought for a moment while tilting her head.
"Sure," Yuan Zhou agreed.
"Boss Yuan, you can even cook this?" Yin Ya had only eaten this food once which was brought by one of her colleagues.
At that time, she just felt it was smooth, tender and soft; in one word, very delicious. After enquiring, however, she only knew it was a kind of snack made of rice, which couldn’t be found locally. Right now when she heard of rice products, she immediately recalled the snack subconsciously and thus asked casually, without holding any expectations.
"Yes, I can," Yuan Zhou said affirmatively.
"Then I’m going to eat it today," Yin Ya said happily.
"Of course. Just come tomorrow at this hour," Yuan Zhou answered with an earnest expression.
"Humm… what?" YinYa first agreed subconsciously before reacting to what Yuan Zhou was saying.
"Why?" Yin Ya became puzzled.
"Fenli requires a night of preparation. So it’s unavailable today," Yuan Zhou straightforwardly said that.
"Eh… haven’t you said that reservations were not allowed?" Yin Ya felt rather speechless. She then asked Yuan Zhou while pointing at the rules on the wall.
"That’s why I ask you to come tomorrow at this hour," Yuan Zhou answered offhandedly.
"You sure it’s not available today?" Yin Ya asked again as if for confirmation.
"No." Yuan Zhou answered firmly.
"Then what are the dishes that I can eat today?" Yin Ya asked after thinking for a while.
"It depends on what you want to eat." It felt like the conversation between these two people had returned to the start.
Yin Ya couldn’t help but support her forehead with her hand. "Oh, my god. Just forget it. What about Lotus Leaf Rice?"
"No problem," Yuan Zhou frowned, not quite understanding what was wrong with YinYa, but still he gave a positive answer.
"In addition, a serving of Jin’ling Grass and beef mince." Yin Ya frugally ordered the dishes and emphasized the allocation of meat and vegetables.
"One moment, please."
Yuan Zhou directly turned around and began to prepare the food.
Lotus leaves were included among the flavorings; therefore, the system had already prepared it.
The Lotus Leaf Rice could trace back to 1300 years ago. Earliest records of the Lotus Leaf Rice in regions of Guangdong could be seen in the book New Talks of Guangdong during the transitional period from the End of the Ming Dynasty to Early Qing Dynasty, "There is a dish called Lotus Leaf Rice in Dongguan, where local people used lotus leaves to wrap the fragrant rice, fish, and meat, etc. and then steamed them together, emitting fragrance from both the exterior and the interior."
In addition, there was another poem mentioning the Lotus Leaves Rice, "In the Pantang area, there is a pond filled with lotus leaves; sisters arrived at dawn to busy with picking them; they don’t pick the lotus flower but the lotus leaves instead; as the scent of Lotus Leaf Rice is more fragrant than the lotus flowers itself."
The Lotus Leaf Rice cooked by Yuan Zhou was just like the one mentioned in the poem, more fragrant than the lotus flowers. He didn’t actually prepare to put other ingredients in the rice. It was no more than just the Lotus Leaf Rice.
Due to the restrictions on the time, Yuan Zhou directly put the rice into a pot prepared by the system to soak after washing it clean. The pot had an effect of accelerating fermentation and hence could shorten the original two hours’ time to within 5 minutes.
During the period of time, Yuan Zhou began to rinse the lotus leaves.
Taken out from the cabinet, the lotus leaves seemed like they had just been picked. There were even still some filaments hanging around at the fracture sections and there were also some crystal dewdrops over the leaves.
The newly picked lotus leaves weren’t subject to immediate use, not only because of the cleanliness but also because they had an astringent taste that needed some prior treatment. Yuan Zhou directly used the dewdrops taken from the lotus leaves to rinse them, which could not only prevent the intrinsic fragrant taste of the lotus leaves from being ruined but could also wash them clean that way.
Subsequently, he took out some dewdrops and boiled them with a pot. The lotus leaves were then placed inside for blanching. When they turned darker in color and became slightly soft, Yuan Zhou directly fished out and aired them to dry.
At that time, he took out the rice grains that were well soaked and began to wrap them using the lotus leaves.
Yuan Zhou acted quite meticulously while wrapping the rice. Even the filaments used to bind the lotus leaves were the lotus stalks that had become soft in the boiling water. This was to prevent any foreign flavor from affecting the Lotus Leaf Rice.
The Lotus Leaf Rice needed to be steamed. Therefore, Yuan Zhou used the pressure cooker to steam the food quickly, which guaranteed the taste while retaining the nutrition.
During steaming, Yuan Zhou cooked other dishes that were ordered and in about 10 minutes, the Lotus Leaf Rice was steamed and ready to be consumed.
He took out a plate before quickly sculpting several lotus flowers out of a daikon and putting the 3 of them into a circle on the plate. Then Yuan Zhou picked the Lotus Leaf Rice up from the cooker and put it in the middle of the lotus flowers.
Only then did he find the upper part of the lotus leaf wrappings also seemed like a half-blossoming green lotus flower, appearing extraordinarily beautiful along with the white and clear lotus flowers at the side.
"These are all your dishes." Yuan Zhou carried them onto the table.
"It’s so so so beautiful." Girls looked at the appearance first when they bought fruits. Even then, they had nothing bad to pick out about this dish of Lotus Leaf Rice based on its appearance.
"Gee? Boss Yuan, you aren’t going to help me to open it?" Looking at the well wrapped Lotus Leaves Rice, Yin Ya didn’t really know where she could start from to open it.
"Just use the chopsticks to break it." Yuan Zhou pointed to the knotted place on the wrapping.
"To break it?" Yin Ya asked in puzzlement.
It was when Yuan Zhou nodded that she dared reach her chopsticks to try to break the seemingly firm knot.
With a mere gentle touch, the knot instantly opened. Moreover, the lotus leaves that seemed to tightly wrap the rice were gradually unfolding like a lotus flower.
The unfolded leaves barely covered the white lotus flower made of the daikon, revealing the white rice grains therein. Likewise, the rice was also shaped into a lotus flower bud, which appeared to be an unbloomed lotus flower among the blossoming ones.
"Boss Yuan is so amazing." Amazed by the romantic lotus flowers, Yin Ya slightly opened her mouth and muttered to herself.
Having eaten Lotus Leaf Rice for nearly 20 years, it was yet her first time to see such a beautiful one.
Only from its appearance and the miraculous way of blooming, Yin Ya felt the Lotus Leaf Rice well deserved the price. Besides, she knew the food was definitely unlikely to taste bad judging from the fragrance.
Holding the spoon for quite a little time, Yin Ya gently scooped the top of the lotus flower and put it in her mouth for a taste.
A blast of fragrance from the lotus leaves mixed with the flower instantly rushed up her nose. The rice grains were soft and moist, fresh and fragrant. Along with the fragrance and refreshing flavor of the lotus leaves, it really brought about a novel experience to one’s palate.
The feeling was like she had just eaten a lotus flower that had distinct layers into her mouth. However, this lotus flower was made of rice and hence carried the particular fragrance of rice.
Yin Ya enjoyed eating it while savoring the taste carefully.
At this moment, Man Man also arrived after being absent for a whole week. As soon as she entered the restaurant, she saw Yin Ya. Just as she prepared to greet her, she was stopped by Yin Ya’s gesture without saying a word.
That made Man Man more curious. She carefully looked at the table and found the lotus leaves but failed to see anything else. Adhering to the principle of asking whenever not understanding, she directly inquired.
"Little Yun, what’s she eating now? Look at her intoxicated manner."
"Sister Man Man, what she’s eating now is the Lotus Leaf Rice from the 100 Styles of Rice Cuisines." Mu Xiaoyun answered obediently.
"100 Styles of Rice Cuisines? What’s that? A new dish?" Man Man turned her head and carefully watched.
"100 Styles? Boss Yuan, did you really master one hundred ways of cooking rice as indicated?" Man Man was quite familiar with Yuan Zhou, hence asked pointedly.
"Yes, what do you want to eat?" The answer from Yuan Zhou was simple and straightforward as if to say, "I can show you by cooking one."
"I think you are much too cocky. Let me think for while." Seeing the confident look on Yuan Zhou’s face, she couldn’t help but think of an evil idea.
"Let’s do this. I wanna eat Litchi and Buckwheat Porridge." Man Man was a bakery expert and sometimes she liked to make sweet snacks for herself.
Man Man had found this recipe only after looking for a long time. This porridge was specifically served to those girls who liked eating litchi but suffered from excessive internal heat due to eating too much. She didn’t believe a grown man like Yuan Zhou would have that knowledge, too.
"I can’t…" even before Yuan Zhou finished speaking, Man Man revealed a smile and prepared to interrupt when Yuan Zhou stopped her first and said, "The main ingredient must be rice and other ingredients should be only flavorings, rather than side dishes or other main kinds of food."
"Eh… ok. Then let me change another one, Buttered Rice." Rolling her eyes, Man Man changed to a western-styled food.
"Ok."
When she found Yuan Zhou agreed, Man Man still wasn’t pleased with her defeat. Seated in her chair and watching Yin Ya eating so blissfully and then looking again at the name 100 Styles of Rice Cuisine, she finally decided to entrap Yuan Zhou. Therefore, she took out her phone and began to post a Moment on Wechat…

①Fenli are essentially Rice Cakes, one of the traditional specialty snacks of the Guangxi Province. The name of "Fen Li" comes from the specific pronunciation of the distinctive dialect, which means to have a good start or to wish one prosperity for the next year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *