"Boss Yuan, I'm here again," she walked into the restaurant, with a smile.
There were only a few customers, who were all earnestly savoring the delicacies, at that time.
"What would you like to eat?" Yuan Zhou asked politely as usual.
"Sigh. Boss Yuan, you are always so cold to me," Jiang Changxi turned on her daily teasing mode.
"Humm," Yuan Zhou nodded and waited for her to order the dishes.
"Boss Yuan, you'll become more and more unlovable by treating me that way," Jiang Changxi said, pretending to be serious.
This time, Yuan Zhou just kept silent. As a man, he only needed to be handsome rather than lovable. He was just a handsome single man.
"Sweet Rice Cracker of the 100 Styles of Rice Cuisine," Jiang Changxi's teasing was always to a moderate extent. After that, she said the dishes she wanted conveniently.
"Ok. Please come at the same time tomorrow," Yuan Zhou agreed with a nod and said as usual.
"Then what shall I eat today?" Jiang Changxi didn't expect she had to wait until tomorrow for this dish.
"Anything you please," Yuan Zhou gestured that she could order whatever she liked to eat.
"I still want to eat the rice cuisine. What about Tiny Rice Balls?" Having considered for quite a while, Jiang Changxi still liked to eat the 100 Styles of Rice Cuisine. She liked to eat it and, meanwhile, could embarrass Yuan Zhou that way.
"Please read the rules behind you," Yuan Zhou showed to her the rules on the wall.
Each customer could only order a dish once for each meal every day.
"But what I ordered just now is Sweet Rice Cracker. Now it's Tiny Rice Balls," Jiang Changxi said that.
"Both belong to 100 Styles of Rice Cuisine," Yuan Zhou answered to the point.
"But the Baked Egg Cakes sold in the morning were also served with two different tastes. Doesn't it violate your own rules?" Jiang Changxi said affirmatively with a cunning smile on her face.
"Beef mince and blueberry jam belong to special plate 22 and 13," not being swayed by her words, Yuan Zhou just said with a calm look.
"Boss Yuan, your words make a lot of sense. I don't even know what to answer," Jiang Changxi was rather speechless. Then she chose to leave quietly.
Luckily, she had already gotten used to Yuan Zhou's scams, hence came to Yuan Zhou's restaurant again at noon the next day as usual, waiting to eat the Sweet Rice Cracker.
Sweet Rice Cracker was a rare snack when she was little. The Sweet Rice Cracker of that decade was quite different from the current one. The craftsman who made the puffed rice didn't ask for money, but two kilos of rice for one kilo of the snack.
The Sweet Rice Cracker, of course, cost a little more. It required three kilos of rice for one kilo of the snack under the condition that the villagers provided the sugar. Only with that would the craftsman agree to make it. However, customers coming for the puffed rice were more than those that came for Sweet Rice Cracker. Every time the person came, the fragrance of sugar melting could be smelled by the villagers around.
Therefore, the dish of Sweet Rice Cracker ordered by Jiang Changxi was just made from rice.
After the opening hours of breakfast ended, Yuan Zhou started to prepare for the Sweet Rice Cracker.
Yuan Zhou naturally knew about the Sweet Rice Cracker. Coincidently, Yuan Zhou liked to eat puffed rice the most in his childhood, the kind which was also made from rice.
"System, do we have the Jing Rice?" Yuan Zhou thought for an instant and then asked.
The system displayed, "It has been placed in the cabinet."
"That's good." With a nod, Yuan Zhou took out about 250 grams of the rice from inside the cabinet.
The planting of the Jing Rice had a very long history and could be traced back as early as 6900 years ago. The place of origin was basically in the northeast region, but the one that used by Yuan Zhou was from Suhang region, to the south of the Yangtze River, which was well known as the land of fish and rice.
The late-season round Jing Rice produced in this region was in translucent white color. It had small belly white and moreover the rigid particles took up the majority. The rice had a very good quality and carried a sort of particular rice fragrance of the land of fish and rice. Besides, both the viscosity and oiliness of the rice were high when cooked, bringing about a soft and delicious taste.
It couldn't be better to use this kind of rice grains as the major ingredient for Swell Candy Rice.
While taking the rice, Yuan Zhou wore thin gloves to protect the rice grains from being contaminated. After all, the rice grains couldn't be washed.
What Yuan Zhou used was a primitive puffed rice machine, which required the most delicate craftsmanship. Specifically, it required very high proficiency and good command of heat control. Otherwise, the puffed rice wouldn't be eatable and it would be quite disgraceful.
The manual machine emitted a slight noise of "Zhi Ya". Yuan Zhou watched the machine carefully with great focus to judge the temperature inside the firepot.
When the Sweet Rice Cracker was almost done, Yuan Zhou suddenly asked, "Can the sound be eliminated?"
The system displayed, "This kind of hand-type machine uses great air pressure to make the explosions, so the sound cannot be eliminated. However, you can turn on the segregation mode."
"As long as it isn't heard by people outside, it'll be good," Yuan Zhou didn't want others to hear the loud sound. It would be much too troublesome to explain the sudden big sound from the restaurant.
After the necessary preparations, Yuan Zhou began to uncover the machine filled with the puffed rice.
With a sound of "Peng", the white and fat puffed rice dropped into the connecting cloth bag.
Yuan Zhou revealed a smile of reminiscence. Such familiar sound had long disappeared from people's life.
The system naturally prepared all the tools necessary, including a small wooden box to shape the Sweet Rice Cracker and a hard bamboo knife to cut it into small pieces.
Nonetheless, the most important thing for now was to melt the sugar.
Sugar melting consisted of water melting and oil melting. The water melting was simple to operate and easy to do, but the sugar syrup melted this way wasn't transparent in color. Also, it had a slightly different taste and hence couldn't melt well with the puffed rice.
The oil, however, differed from that. It was difficult to control the flame while the sugar was being melted. Yuan Zhou nevertheless, didn't really want it to become overcooked. But comparatively, the oil-melting sugar was superior to the water-melting sugar, as it was sweet in taste; smooth in texture, and bright in color.
Of course, Yuan Zhou chose to use the oil to melt the sugar. He added some edible oil in the wok and then poured the white sugar into the oil to let it melt. With a wooden spoon slowly stirring the oil, the white sugar gradually melted and the fragrance of the sugar likewise slowly emitted.
When the white sugar completely melted and became yellowish, Yuan Zhou turned off the fire and poured the warm puffed rice into the big wok and then swiftly stirred it evenly. After that, he poured the puffed rice into the box again to make the final shape.
"Hua La", Yuan Zhou scraped the extra sugar liquid with the bamboo knife. After being made smooth, the Sweet Rice Cracker emitted fragrance along with heat and was then placed aside to cool.
Having wiped the perspiration, Yuan Zhou pulled open the door and found that Jiang Changxi was already waiting out there next to Mu Xiaoyuun.
"Boss Yuan, you were definitely making the Sweet Rice Cracker just now," Jiang Changxi sniffed using her nose at the fragrance from the melting sugar.
"Humm, it'll be ready in no time," Yuan Zhou nodded.
"I'm looking forward to it. Then I'll wait a bit longer," Jiang Changxi sat in her chair quietly and started to wait.
As a three-lost woman, it was rare for her to be so quiet and obedient.
Yuan Zhou just disregarded her. He took up the box of Sweet Rice Cracker and directly turned the box upside down, leaving the snack on the azure stone countertop that was covered with the bamboo mat. It was no longer scalding but still soft. Then he picked up the sharp bamboo knife and began to cut it.
The Sweet Rice Cracker was easy to cut when it was neither too rigid or too soft.
"It smells so good. I want to eat right now," Jiang Changxi stood up and leaned her upper body on the countertop ungracefully.
"Watch out for your drool," with a mask covering his mouth, Yuan Zhou's voice was a little hollow but still could be heard.
Jiang Changxi wiped her mouth indifferently and didn't care when she found there was none. She just gazed at Yuan Zhou cutting the Sweet Rice Cracker.
"Keep away from it, otherwise your drool will drip inside," this time, Yuan Zhou made the point clear. However, it only made her restrain herself a little bit.
Right now, the 2cm thick and 25cm wide Sweet Rice Cracker had fully occupied all of her heart and mind.
On the surface of the Sweet Rice Cracker, there was a bright, sunny yellow layer, which wrapped the white puffed rice grains arranged orderly. It emitted a tempting scent and simply made people recall their childhood when they were waiting for the instant that the Sweet Rice Cracker was ready while drooling from their mouth.
How eager she was to eat it immediately.