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Netizens bewildered at common British method of cooking rice
By:Wu Jiaqi  |  From:english.eastday.com  |  2020-08-03 09:58

A cuisine show featuring the renowned celebrity chef Hesha Patel that originally aired in 2019 has been brought back into focus due to a controversy online. In the video, Patel was supposed to make a dish of fried rice, however, the exact ways in which she cooked rice brought disagreement amongst the viewers.

She first added way too much water when cooking the rice, then used a colander to strain the excess water, and finally ran the rice under an open tap. Her act of cooking rice just like pasta brought confusion to many Asian viewers whose main diet consists of rice. Uncle Roger, a Malaysian comedian, responded with a video pointing out her mistakes and taunting her along the way. On July 25th, Patel responded to Uncle Roger, claiming that she was merely delivering the recipe BBC gave her, and inferred that she would not normally cook rice the way she did in the show.

This is not an isolated case. Cultures mixing up cuisines and cooking methods are often very common. For example, in one of America’s most famous Chinese restaurant chains, Panda Express, makes traditional Chinese food such as Kung Pao Chicken and Ma Po Tofu quite differently from the expected Chinese recipe.

However, unlike what many viewers say on the internet, these actions most often times are not done out of disrespect. I think it comes quite naturally that every region and culture have their own preferences when it comes to food. Simply moderating the recipe of one food to the preference of a particular region doesn’t devalue the original, but rather promotes the cuisine to more people and gains recognition. Rather than being seen as a misrepresentation of a country, these foods could be a tool to bridge the gap between cultures, encouraging more people to try the original, now that they love the moderated one.

Eastday interviewed an Irish person living in Shanghai, Ben Keegan, who told them that this way of cooking rice is commonplace in Britain and Ireland. He wasn’t sure exactly why this method of cooking rice is commonly used, but he guessed that because rice is an occasional dish rather than a daily staple the lack of rice cookers makes this an easy method by which to boil rice without having to measure the water precisely or watch the pot to ensure the water hasn’t entirely evaporated. He also pointed out that his mother cooks rice in exactly this way, except she pours boiling water over it at the last momentto get rid of any arsenic (she also uses basmati rice for its low arsenic content), and the rice she serves using this method is fluffy. Before moving to Asia he also cooked rice this waynumerous times but admits that if you don’t time it right it’s easy for the rice to come out as sludge! Professional British and Irish chefs increasingly will use the boil-down method that is used in Asia, however,and will teach this on their cooking shows.