The first time I saw these white rectangles floating in water in a large crock in a Chinese kitchen, I thought they might be fermenting lotus root pieces or something, but I was quite intrigued. It turned out that they are something called ciba, or glutinous rice that has been pounded into a paste.
To prepare the ciba, you dip the glutinous rice rectangles into an egg that has been whisked together. Then you put the rectangles into a wok full of hot oil, and fry them until they turn golden brown.
The fried ciba has a crisp exterior and a soft, taffy-like interior. It’s served with white sugar, and it’s a eaten as a snack or for breakfast.
I can’t say I liked it so much that I’m going to take to pounding rice in my backyard, but it wasn’t bad either, and I hope to eat more ciba before I leave China.
**I’m traveling in Nicaragua this month, and I’ll be online less than usual – so I’m posting some items I wrote last year, while I was in China!