Ci Ba Kuai (Sticky Rice Cake)

ci ba kuai sticky rice cake

Ci Ba Kuai (糍粑块) is a distinctive local snack originating from regions such as Sichuan Province, Chongqing Municipality, Hubei Province, and Anhui Province in China. This delectable treat is a type of rice-based dish, characterized by its brownish-yellow hue, crispy exterior, soft interior, and a delightful blend of savory, slightly spicy, and fragrant flavors.

The preparation of Ci Ba Kuai involves soaking glutinous rice in hot water for half an hour, followed by steaming it vigorously over high heat until thoroughly cooked. The steamed rice is then seasoned with ingredients such as Sichuan peppercorns and salt before being packed into wooden molds. After allowing it to cool, the molded rice is overturned onto a cutting board, transformed into rectangular bars, and further sliced into blocks with a thickness of 1.5 centimeters.

The final step in crafting Ci Ba Kuai involves deep-frying the rice blocks in hot oil until they achieve a golden-brown hue, resulting in a crispy and flavorful delicacy. The combination of the chewy, glutinous texture of the rice with the crispy exterior creates a unique and satisfying mouthfeel. The addition of Sichuan peppercorns imparts a subtle numbing sensation, enhancing the overall sensory experience.

Ci Ba Kuai’s appeal extends beyond its taste and texture; its traditional preparation method and regional variations contribute to its cultural significance. The wooden molds used in shaping the rice blocks reflect a connection to traditional craftsmanship and local culinary customs. This snack is often enjoyed as a delightful street food, offering locals and visitors alike a taste of the rich culinary heritage found in the diverse regions where it is popular.

In summary, Ci Ba Kuai is a savory, aromatic, and crispy rice snack with roots deeply embedded in the culinary traditions of Sichuan, Chongqing, Hubei, and Anhui. Its preparation method, unique flavors, and cultural significance make it a beloved and iconic treat in these regions, showcasing the rich tapestry of Chinese cuisine.

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