The sound of hunger emitted from his stomach and woke Yuan Zhou up. He had been lost in thought, admiring the cooking methods of the Clear Broth Noodle Soup.
“Oh, yeah. I haven’t had my dinner for today. Why don’t I prepare a bowl of these noodles for my dinner?” Yuan Zhou muttered to himself solemnly. He had completely forgotten about the two bowls of Egg Fried Rice that he ate earlier.
“Dong Dong Dong”
He quickened his pace, hurrying downstairs.
He flipped the kitchen’s light switch. Instantly, the entire kitchen became as bright as it usually was during the day. It was as if there were shadowless lamps illuminating every corner of the kitchen. Of course, the lighting in the main hall was different. Its brightness was set to provide the maximum comfort for the customers. Therefore, one wouldn’t feel tired even while wearing glasses for a long time in Yuan Zhou’s restaurant.
Just as Yuan Zhou expected, he found something new after looking around the kitchen.
The characters “All Purpose Flour” had appeared on a new cabinet. It stood next to the one that contained the flour used to make the Steamed Pork Buns. Meanwhile, a new cooking pot for the noodles had emerged beside the frying pan. However, it was different from those that Yuan Zhou had seen before.
Usually, normal pots were used in other restaurants. Those were large, thus could prepare plenty of noodles in one go. Nevertheless, the one in Yuan Zhou’s kitchen was like a Kanto cooking-styled pot ①. The only difference was that each grid was big enough to cook approximately 100 grams of noodles.
There were 12 grids in total, with a total of 3 rows and 4 grids in each row. After looking carefully and touching them, he discovered that the grids were totally sealed from one another by the means of a partition.
The clear and melodious sound of the handle told Yuan Zhou it was made of porcelain.
“System, isn’t this heat resistant porcelain?”
Yuan Zhou had once been to Jingdezhen, which was famous for its porcelain wares in China, during his university days. So he knew some rough categories of porcelain. He recalled that the skill level required was extremely high to create heat-resistant porcelain.
The system read, “This cooking pot is indeed created using heat resistant porcelain, after going through a sophisticated process. Therefore, the finished product can be said to be top graded.”
“Can I sell this pot and exchange it for another?” Yuan Zhou asked while holding his head.
The system read, “The taste and nutrition value of the noodles cooked in this pot will have the best effect, thus this tool is unavailable for sale.”
As far as Yuan Zhou knew, the heat resistant porcelain could be used as materials in structures that were required to withstand high temperatures. It can be used in many fields including astronavigation, atomic energy, electronic technology, machinery, chemical industry and metallurgy. It was an indispensable heat resistant material for engineers, with wide varieties and extensive applications.
Yet, now the system had provided him such materials just for a mere cooking pot. He was in awe of the system.
Moreover, Yuan Zhou found that the frequency of which he used “Ho Ho” had increased exponentially ever since he bumped into the system. He suddenly longed for the previously days when he rarely cursed or gave sarcastic laughs.
As for the new water tap that appeared at the side, the words “For Kneading Dough Only” were too obvious to be missed.
Yuan Zhou grumbled for a little while in his mind, and then he opened the cabinet filled with the flour calmly.
The unique fragrance of the wheat spread out as soon as the cabinet was opened.
Yuan Zhou took up a 50 diameter terracotta pot and set it on the nearby azure stone countertop. Then he started to scoop up the flour with a clean wooden spoon free from any filth.
The current flour had different characteristics from the previous one used for the Steamed Pork Buns. First, the flour wasn’t the usual snowy white that was commonly seen. Instead, it was slightly yellow. With his sharp sense of smell, Yuan Zhou also captured a different fragrance from it.
He opened the cupboard and found a coarse porcelain bowl that had just appeared in it. It was light brown in color and had cloud patterns on the exterior surface. Although made of coarse porcelain, it was nevertheless fine and smooth, unlike ordinary ones. Furthermore, he could see that the bowl hadn’t been processed with ceramic glaze before.
Yuan Zhou collected two big bowls of water and then started to knead the dough.
That’s right. The noodles from the Clear Broth Noodle Soup recipe rewarded by the system had to be made from the very beginning.
If there were a standard for kneading dough in the world, then Yuan Zhou’s actions could be said to have textbook form, but at the same time, he had hints of uniqueness in it. This was because although his movements were elegant, they also contain his own personal style in it.
The dough gradually became smooth and delicate in Yuan Zhou’s hand; the yellowish color had been replaced by a seemingly shiny glister. Furthermore, the fragrance was all contained within the dough, hence no smell was emitted.
On the other side of the azure stone countertop, Yuan Zhou scattered some dry flour, took out the dough and then started to flatten the dough with a rolling pin.
Of course, even the rolling pin was extraordinary. It was a huge rolling pin classified as “Zou Chui”①, which was specially invented for rolling noodles.
The rolling pin that Yuan Zhou was using was made from Toona Sinensis wood.
A matured Toona Sinensis was said to be as rare as the superior red sandalwood. It was rumored that even one of the eight immortals, Lu Dongbin, used the Toona Sinensis wood as his pillow when he lived in Saisendai in ancient Shanzhou. During the olden days, only the high officials, noble lords, and the wealthy individuals could afford to make furniture using Toona Sinensis wood, nanmu and red sandalwood.
This rolling pin, however, was made from the pith of a hundred-year Toona Sinensis wood. The pith was red-brown in color with a slight hint of golden yellow. The surface was as smooth as a mirror and even released a pleasant fragrance when it came into contact with water. This was the reason it had the title of “King among the Hundreds Woods”.
Of course, this was nothing more than a rolling pin provided by the system.
The dough emitted melodious sounds on the azure stone countertop. This was the sound that could only be produced by superior quality flour.
Yuan Zhou worked quickly. Just after a while, he had already reached the stage of chopping the dough.
He took out bamboo strips from below. Then after stacking the moderately thick dough into three layers, he started to chop the dough with a noodle knife.
“Dang Dang Dang”
The sound when the knife came in contact with the countertop was clear and melodious, matching every movement of Yuan Zhou. Following the sound, the noodles were chopped. Each strip of noodle had a length of 30cm and a width of 0.1cm. After that, the noodle strips was placed onto the bamboo strips.
Taking out the remaining flour from the bowl, he scattered it over the prepared noodles evenly and then slid the bamboo strips into a fresh-keeping storage.
“Finally, it’s the time to cook the noodles.”
He wiped away the beaded sweat on his forehead and took the lid off the special cooking pot.
The middle grid in the intelligent heat resistant porcelain pot was automatically filled with the water until it was 70% full. In no more than 10 seconds, the water was boiled. He grabbed two handfuls of noodles and threw them in. Instantly, the noodles floated, bending and wriggling in a variety of graceful postures in the boiling water.
“System, please tell me the origin of the flour.” Yuan Zhou would basically ask this question every time a new dish appeared. If he didn’t ask, how would he find out about all the tasty foods waiting for him around the world?
The system read, “The earliest record of planting wheat was said to be in Mesopotamia. That was the place where wheat was first cultivated in the world,”
“On the other hand, the wheat in China was first brought in from the middle reach of the Yellow River, then it gradually spread to regions south of the Yangtze River, and then further to Korea and Japan. During the period between 15th and 17th century, the European colonists brought wheat to the South and North American regions; in 18th century, the wheat spread even further to the Oceania regions.
“When two wheat grains were brought to the eastern part of Iran, a natural crossbreeding occurred between wheat and the wild plants there. After they grew and multiplied, the hybrid then became the ordinary wheat that we know of.”
“The wheat selected by the system is a perfect breed of the first natural hybrid generation. Of the selected breed, only grains with more than 50% of the top cutin were selected. Those were known as White Hard Wheat. Compared with red wheat, the white wheat appeared to be yellow or a milky white color with a thin skin; the grains had a high content of albumen, and the flour extraction rate was both high.”
“This special wheat used is top graded wheat that can only be obtained through special supply channels.”
“I really am treated like a king now. First, it’s specially supplied rice and now it’s the specially supplied wheat.” Yuan Zhou muttered to himself.
At this time, the noodles in the cooking pot were almost ready.
Finally, the legendary Clear Broth Noodle Soup was ready for tasting!
Kanto cooking-styled pot is a special and distinct kitchenware for Kanto cooking, a snack enjoyed by the Japanese. The pot is consisted of several independent grids for cooking different varieties of foods at one go. The grids are separated from each other, so different varieties of the foods can be cooked at the same time, without affecting the taste.