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kao – Blog alimentar si calatorie thailandez

Orezul de iasomie este orez de top exportat din Thailanda. De fapt, cea mai mare parte a orezului de iasomie pe care o creste tara este exportata pe pietele externe mult si larg.

Tailanda a crescut intotdeauna orez de iasomie? Cand si cum a aparut? Pentru a raspunde la aceste intrebari, ar fi de ajutor un pic de istorie.

(Nota: Acest articol este o continuare a blogului Jasmine Thai – Kao Hom Mali – Partea 1.)

Istoria timpurie a culturii de orez in Thailanda

Inscriptie Sukhothai

Politicile agricole inca din perioada antica Sukhothai din istoria thailandeza, pana la secolele comertului international plin de viata din perioada Ayuthaya si pana in epoca moderna au incurajat activ oamenii sa dezvolte terenuri in orez, pentru securitatea alimentara si a veniturilor natiunii si ca o strategie de extindere si mentinere a puterii de guvernare. Daca calatoriti in zona Chiang Mai, veti vedea ramasite impresionante si veti auzi multe mentiuni despre vechiul si gloriosul regat Lanna(„Un milion de campuri de orez”); si in zona Sukhothai, unde a fost infiintat primul regat thailandez in urma cu mai bine de sapte secole, veti auzi relatari despre primul exemplu de limba scrisa thailandeza in pasajul sau cel mai cunoscut, care face aluzie la un regat prosper, unde „in apa exista peste, pe campuri exista orez … ”condus de un rege binevoitor. Exista dovezi ca canalele de irigare ( klongs)) erau deja la locul nasterii tarii in secolul al XIII-lea. Astazi, irigarea ramane inca un serviciu crucial pe care statul il ofera oamenilor sai sa cultive orez. In prima parte a erei moderne Rattanakosin (sfarsitul secolului 18, inceputul secolului al XIX-lea), in proportie de 95% din terenurile agricole au fost alocate pentru cultivarea orezului, iar Siam a prosperat de la exportul de orez in China. Agricultura de orez continua sa fie activitatea agricola primara la nivel national, iar cuvantul thailandez pentru fermier, chaona, inseamna literalmente „persoana din orez”.

Sapa arheologica la Ban Chiang

Cultivarea orezului pe campurile cultivate s-a facut pe pamantul care este acum Thailanda de cel putin cinci mii de ani, cu o mie de ani mai devreme decat in ​​India si China. Arheologii au descoperit urme de coji de orez si pleava in olaria sapata din vechile locuri de inmormantare din nord-estul Thailandei, care dateaza de cel putin 5.400 de ani. Pe un alt sit din nord-vest, a fost de asemenea gasita o unealta subtire de piatra, in forma de cutit pentru recoltarea orezului si a ceramicii care contine coji de orez, datand cel putin 5.000 de ani. Din dovezile arheologice, unii cercetatori considera ca speciile asiatice de orez ar fi putut foarte bine sa aiba originea in vaile interioare ale partilor de nord ale Thailandei, in statul Shan din actualul Myanmar si in zonele adiacente ale Laosului, in cazul in care musonii anuali, clima umeda calda si zonele joase fertile au oferit un mediu ideal pentru domesticirea sa. In cele mai vechi timpuri, este probabil ca triburile nomade sa inceapa sa se stabileasca pentru a cultiva orez prin colectarea selectiva a orezului salbatic din paduri si din mlastini pentru a creste si a imbunatati treptat tulpinile de orez prin reproducere selectiva.

Jasmine Rice in Thailanda, secolul XX si astazi

Paduri de orez inundate

In jurul sfarsitului secolului XX, orezul thailandez a fost exportat in Europa prin intermediul comerciantilor de orez din India. Nu s-a vandut la fel de bine ca si orez indian, din moment ce acesta din urma avea boabe lungi frumoase si uniforme, in timp ce orezul thailandez era de calitate neregulata, cu o mare parte din boabele rupte. Regele Rama al V-lea, in calatoriile sale ample in multe parti ale Europei in acea perioada, a facut o observatie importanta. Majestatea Sa a remarcat ca neregulile din orezul thailandez au aparut cel mai probabil deoarece fermierii thailandezi au plantat prea multe soiuri si nu a existat nicio incercare de a standardiza si selecta tulpini cu calitati superioare pentru a creste pentru export. Pentru a incuraja identificarea tulpinilor superioare pe care tara le-ar putea promova pentru imbunatatirea calitatii exporturilor de orez thailandeze, Majestatea Sa a inaugurat primul concurs de orez autohton in 1907. In anii urmatori, mai multe soiuri indigene cu atribute fine au fost descoperite, testate in incercari de teren, apoi promovate de guvern catre fermieri pentru a creste pentru pietele externe. Una dintre tulpini a fostPin Kaew, prezentat de o femeie din Sriracha din provincia Chonburi, care a castigat premiul primului premiu la Concursul Mondial de Orez din Canada in 1933. A devenit cel mai bun orez al Thailandei timp de multi ani.

Dar nu a fost pana la inceputul anilor 1950 cand s-a desfasurat o campanie cu adevarat serioasa pentru colectarea tulpinilor de orez autohton la nivel national in cautarea altor soiuri de inalta calitate pentru promovarea si exportul. Aproximativ 6000 de probe au fost colectate intre 1950 si 1952. Esantioane promitatoare din districtul Panat Nikom din provincia Chonburi au fost plantate alaturi de alte tulpini selectate din regiunile nord, nord-est si central in incercari de teren pentru a compara calitatea. Din cele 199 de probe plantate la statia de cercetare a orezului, au fost descoperite mai multe tulpini superioare, printre care orezul de iasomie 105 ( dok maii 105 , mai tarziu cunoscut sub numele de Hom Mali 105), numarul corespunzator randului pe care orezul a fost plantat in incercari. In 1959, o comisie de selectie a conferit orezului de iasomie 105 cea mai inalta recomandare datorita cerealelor sale albe, lungi si subtiri si a parfumului dulce de frunze de pandanus (nu parfumul de iasomie asa cum a fost inselat de numele sau, vezi partea 1). Prima data cultivata de un fermier din provincia Chonburi in anii 1940, orezul de iasomie 105 a devenit de atunci o tulpina de reproducere importanta pentru alte arici in toata Thailanda.

Tulpini de orez grele cu boabe

Orezul de iasomie este cultivat cel mai frecvent ca orez in sezon, udat de ploile musonice, deoarece este o varietate sensibila la lumina de orez. In timp ce exista soiuri care ar inflori si ar pune semintele in orice moment al anului, tulpinile sensibile la lumina vor inflori si vor pune seminte doar atunci cand durata zilei este mai scurta decat lungimea noptii. Prin urmare, fermierii prefera sa planteze un astfel de orez in perioada principala a musonilor (iulie-octombrie). Tulpinile de orez iasomie incep sa infloreasca pana in octombrie, cand zilele sunt mai scurte decat noptile. Pentru multi thailandeni discernanti, orezul in sezon are un gust mai bun decat orezul in afara sezonului cultivat cu apa de irigatie.

Today, with continued government support and stringent quality control standards, all rice destined for export must pass the government stamp of approval before it can be shipped. The active involvement of the government in the promotion of Thai rice abroad has placed jasmine rice in the spotlight on the world stage. Among discerning Asians in many countries, jasmine rice is considered the best-tasting rice in the world. As mentioned in Part 1, the Chinese, for instance, are so fond of the jasmine rice grown in northeastern Thailand, especially the provinces of Surin, Yasothon and Roi Et, that they would like to have a monopoly on all the rice grown here. The jasmine rice from these provinces is particularly fragrant and has a better texture than jasmine rice grown in other areas. I, too, prefer the jasmine rice grown in the northeast, and recommend it to my cooking students by advising them to buy the Golden Phoenix label, which consistently markets top-grade jasmine rice from this region and has won the Prime Minister’s Export Award.

Variations in Jasmine Rice

Offering to Mother Spirit of Rice

Besides where the rice is grown, the fragrance, texture and flavor can differ depending on the age of the rice. Jasmine rice is softest and most fragrant when newly harvested. As it ages, it gradually loses fragrance and becomes firmer and dryer, requiring more water to cook (see Steamed Jasmine Rice). If the bag of jasmine rice you buy in a supermarket here in the States seems to take a lot more water to cook than usual, has a hard texture and doesn’t seem to have any fragrance at all, then it’s likely that the rice is old and may have been sitting around in warehouses for a long while. For this reason, it’s worthwhile to make it a habit to check the date of harvest, if there’s any, shown on the bag (with many brands, it’s more likely to be the date of shipping, or date of expiration, which isn’t as good an indicator of the rice’s age). On larger bags of rice from ten pounds up, the label may include “New Crop” on the top, but make sure this is followed by the current year (i.e., “New Crop 2011”). The primary rice harvest season is between October and December in main rice-growing regions in Thailand and new rice is shipped out starting in November.

With Golden Phoenix being a reputable premium label and a favorite among Asians, there’s usually a high turnover in busy Asian markets, so you most likely will get new rice or rice not older than a year. For high quality rice, such as Golden Phoenix’s, even a year-old to two-year-old jasmine rice stored under proper conditions can still retain good fragrance and a texture that’s deliciously firm and chewy – perfect for making flavored rice dishes such as the Muslim Yellow Rice (Kao Moek Gkai) and the popular chicken fat-flavored rice (Kao Man Gkai). If texture is more important to you than fragrance and you like your rice al dente firm and chewy, then an aged rice of one to two years may suit you better than the new rice Asians prefer. For a good mix of firm texture and delectable fragrance, about a six- to ten-month old rice would be ideal – i.e., a bag labelled “New Crop 2011” would be at this stage from July on.

Importance of Rice for Thailand

Temple mural, women grilling rice

While China by its sheer size is the world’s largest producer of rice, Thailand has led the world as the largest rice exporter since the 1960’s, owing much of this status to jasmine rice. Even with a population of 67 million, each consuming an average of nearly a pound of rice a day (in various forms besides steamed rice, including rice noodles, desserts, crackers, snack foods, rice liquors, vinegar, etc.

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), half of the rice Thailand grows is exported. Jasmine rice makes up half of the country’s rice exports with China being the biggest buyer of this deliciously fragrant rice, though Europe and the United States take a big share as well.

Rice is an intrinsic and inseparable part of Thai culture and there is no other food crop that receives blessings in every stage of its life cycle in rituals that parallel the life cycle of human beings. From annual royal rituals dating back seven hundred years (i.e., the Royal Ploughing ceremony, the Rain-Pleading ceremony, the merit-making ceremony to honor the Mother Spirit of Rice) to age-old folk rituals still performed before cultivation, at the time of planting, during the period of maturation and at the time of harvest, different spirits are asked to protect and nurture the rice crop. Rice is always present in one form or another as ceremonial foods in religious and important civil celebrations and at cultural festivals in all regions of the country. These foods often appear in the murals of local temples. Rice is so much a part of Thai identity that it is frequently used as metaphors in figures of speech. Not a day passes in the life of a Thai in which rice does not play a role.

A new movement in rice consumption is picking up steam in Thailand: the return to heirloom, location-specific whole-grain rices and GABA or germinated rice. I hope to write about this new trend sometime in the near future.

Note:

Did you know that rice feeds one in three people in the world and 90 percent of the world’s rice is produced and consumed in Asia?

Much of the information contained in my two blogs on jasmine rice was gleaned from two books published in the Thai language — Kae Roi Samrap Thai and Kao – Wattanatham Haeng Chiwit — and a few articles from Thai newspapers.

See also:

  • Thai Jasmine Rice – Kao Hom Mali – Part 1
  • Steamed Jasmine Rice Recipe
  • How to Cook Jasmine Brown Rice for Maximum Nutrition (blog)
  • Jasmine Rice Information

Written by Kasma Loha-unchit, April 2011.