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Anyone have "A Soup for the Qan"?


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#1 panda99

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 09:02 PM

Hi everyone,
I'm trying to find out if the book "A Soup for the Qan" might have a historical recipe for mantou (steamed buns). I want to make mantou for a historical-period bread competition, and need to document a historical recipe. I've seen the posts about the legend of the origins of mantou in the Three Kingdoms period, but haven't been able to find any ancient recipes.

If anyone has a copy of the book and can look to see if there's a mantou recipe there, I would be very grateful. Then I'll probably have to make the trek to a nearby university library to make copies.

Thanks.

- Maxine

#2 Yun

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 09:46 PM

Hi panda99, I do not have a copy of "A Soup for the Qan", but I do have a mantou recipe from the 6th-century agronomic and culinary text Qimin Yaoshu (on which see http://www.chinacult...ntent_22529.htm and http://www.cultural-...doscope317.html ). It reads:

作白饼法:面一石。白米七八升,作粥,以白酒六七升酵中。著火上。酒鱼眼沸,绞去滓,以和面。面起可作。

Translation: Method for making white buns. Make a congee with 7-8 sheng (2.77-3.1 liters) of white rice, mix it into yeast with 6-7 sheng (2.37-2.77 liters) of rice wine, and put the mixture over the fire. When the wine has boiled to produce bubbles the size of fish eyes, remove the dregs and mix the rice-wine-yeast mixture with 1 dan (100 sheng = 39.63 liters) of flour. When the flour has risen, you can use it to make white buns.

Note that the measurement conversions given are based on the standard Northern Wei sheng, which is equivalent to 396.3 modern milliliters.
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#3 panda99

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 10:12 PM

Yun,
Thank you so much for the information. This recipe looks interesting and I may have to try it some time. However, I am looking for a historical recipe for the traditional wheat-flour mantou. I didn't even know that rice flour was used to make buns. The only similar food I can think of is a sweet and fluffy rice-flour and yeast cake, with a Chinese name that is translated as white sugar cake.

Btw, A Soup for the Qan includes English translation of Hu Sihui's Principles of Correct Diet, Yin-Shan Cheng-Yao, that was originally published in the Yuan dynasty. The Yuan dynasty book is discussed at http://www.china.org...erial/26109.htm

- Maxine

#4 Yun

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 10:24 PM

Hi Maxine,

The recipe actually doesn't state if the 1 dan of flour used is wheat flour or rice flour, but I would assume it is wheat flour. The main difference from the conventional wheat-flour mantou is the addition of a mixture of rice and rice wine to the yeast and wheat flour. So you could call it a wine mantou with rice grains mixed in.
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