This weekend was apparently a time for a lot of cooking: after my pizza-making time with the girls Saturday, I had invited my local college friends over for smoothies Sunday. They brought a teacher who wanted to meet me as well, so there were six of us. We had fun making and eating three different batches of smoothies, and they were grown up enough to help me clean up afterwards 😉 Here are a couple pictures from the afternoon (after the teacher had to leave).
Samson, Swany, Prima (in my sunglasses), and Kate
The ladies sip
After I ran a couple errands, I came back to find that a rice-popper man had set up shop in the middle of the apartment complex, so I grabbed the last three or four cups of rice from my bag and took it out. I had to wait for a turn, so I went back and got my camera. More photos follow; I’ll upload a video to YouTube and post a link here later. (You can find my videos there with the same user name my wordpress address uses.
Ready to load up the pot!
Tightening the pot lid. You can see the bellows on the left; he cranks that with one hand while turning the pot over the coals with the other hand (it rotates on its side while cooking). Then he opens it with an explosive bang into a large drum of sorts with holes in it like a silencer to release the pressure, and shakes it down out of a long cloth tube attached to the drum, out the end and into a bucket or bag.
(see all the steps in between in the videos)
The results, in a large grocery bag
If you’re wondering, the “popped rice” is like puffed rice in the West, not like Rice Krispies. It gets soggy so fast in milk it makes Rice Krispies seem super-crunchy, but I still eat it when I don’t have anything better for breakfast (more often I use them as a snack or to replace Rice Krispies in a granola recipe). They usually put some sugar in the barrel with it the rice, just like they do with popcorn. I assume people just eat it straight. The vendor usually has some small, prepared bags of popped rice for 1RMB, and some of popped wheat, and some of a popped grain I don’t recognize (kinda like popcorn but harder, with more of the stuff that gets between your teeth). People who come out with their own rice to pop (for 3RMB – much cheaper by volume) usually have him make a sugar syrup over the fire afterwards, then mix it with the rice (and possibly some of their own nuts as well) to make what I call Rice Krispie Treats. It’s not name-brand, but it’s really the same thing.
Someone else’s Rice Krispie Treats, ready to cut