“Yam Polenta” is a simple and popular food, we call it “zhou” in China. Chinese people just use rice and water to make this delicious food. However, I think it is one of the symbols of Chinese cooking culture. For western countries, mash potato represents the western cooking culture. For Chinese people, “zhou” represents the hometown. The history of “zhou” has been around about five hundred years. It links with Chinese medicine and legendary stories.
Materials: Rice, Yam 150 g, Corn 200 g, honey 10 g, water
Tool Materials: Knife, pot, bowl, colander and gloves
Safety: We will use a knife to cut the yam, so be careful with the knife. "zhou" is very hot, so wear gloves before you touch it.
Step 1: Step1: Preparing the Material
I use sweet potato to replace the yam because I can’t find yam in market. I think sweet potato is very similar with yam (It will make our “zhou” become a little sweet). Also, I put some other materials like red dates and lilies. These things will make “zhou” look and smells better. It all bases on what you have. They are not the most important materials.
Step 2: Step2: Washing the Rice
We need to wash the materials first. Yam and corn are easy to wash. Although washing rice is difficult, it is a very important step in the process of cooking “zhou”. Because it will rinse off any dusty starch on the surface of the rice along with any leftover chaff or stray particles. (Some rice has more starchy coating than others.) So I will show some steps to teach you how to wash rice:
1. In a bowl, add rice and enough water to submerge all the rice. Wash the rice as you are taking handfuls and piling it onto one side.
2. Drain the water the first time into the sink. Add water to rice again and wash the rice. (Tips: This time drain the water into a bowl. Save this water to rinse your face with for later. Rinsing your face with rice-washed water is said to make your skin softer.)
3. Repeat the “add water, wash and drain” about 3 times
4. Drain the rice by placing it into a colander. Store the colander full if rice in the fridge or on the kitchen counter for about 15 minutes. (Tip: Doing this process makes the rice become plump and succulent)
Step 3: Step3: Peeling and Cutting the Yam
As far as peeling I simply use a potato peeler. They are really inexpensive and usually no more than a couple of dollars at the market/grocery store. They are easier to use than a paring knife to take off the peel and not have to worry about losing any of the ‘meat’. After you peeling the sweet potato, then you need to cut them into some small cubes.
Step 4: Step4: Boiling the Rice and Corn
(Use a pressure-cooker if you have one, it will help you to save lots of time and make “zhou” delicious) For most rice, use a 1:3 ratio of one cup of rice to three cups of water. Measure a half cup of uncooked rice per person and scale this ratio up or down depending on how much you’re making. However, I always use a ratio of 1: 4 or 1:5 to boiling the rice. Because I want my “zhou” become thicker. Also the water in the “zhou” becomes sweet and delicious. After finish all steps, I like drinking it. I don’t have a pressure-cooker, so I use the normal pot to boiling the rice. It takes me about half and one hour to complete these steps. As you use the normal pot, you need to add in some water when you find the water in the pot has been evaporated. Also you need to adjust the heat to 6 or 7. (A very high temperature will make the water overflow in the pot)
Step 5: Step5: Add in the Yam and Honey
Add in the yam after the rice has boiled for about 30 minutes. Add in the honey is the last step. Honey will make our “zhou” become sweet. You can put it in the pot or in your bowl.