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煨 / 炖 / 焖

Discussion in '中文+方言 (Chinese)' started by Staarkali, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. Staarkali

    Staarkali Senior Member

    Hello all,

    Can anyone explain me the differences between 煨, 顿 and 焖? examples would be appreciated, and translation (if any).

    EDIT: I'm trying to link them to Western concept of stewing, braising and simmering;

    Thanks in advance!
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2013
    : culinary
  2. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Mandarin 國語
    [FONT=&amp]煨[/FONT][FONT=&amp] in ancient Chinese means ‘[/FONT][FONT=&amp]glowing coals in brazier’[/FONT][FONT=&amp] ([/FONT][FONT=&amp]French brasier, from braise ‘hot coals’) or, as a verb, “to roast in fresh cinders, ashes or hot coals’. Not until the modern time did it adopt the meaning of ‘simmering’, and hence its precise definition varies from one dialect to another. [/FONT]

    [FONT=&amp]Although [/FONT]焖[FONT=&amp] and [/FONT][FONT=&amp]燉[/FONT][FONT=&amp] ([/FONT][FONT=&amp]顿?) overlap in semantics, the [/FONT][FONT=&amp]primeval,[/FONT][FONT=&amp] core meaning of [/FONT]焖[FONT=&amp] is ‘to cook food [/FONT][FONT=&amp]that is covered in a tight-[/FONT][FONT=&amp]fitting lid’ (i.e., pressure cooking) whereas that of [/FONT][FONT=&amp]燉[/FONT][FONT=&amp] is ‘to keep warm at a low heat for a lengthy period of time”. [/FONT][FONT=&amp]As a noun, “stew” usually implies serving in the resultant gravy or stock. Thus if the end product of [/FONT]焖[FONT=&amp] or [/FONT][FONT=&amp]燉[/FONT][FONT=&amp] is served in gravy, you may call it a “stew”. [/FONT]
    [FONT=&amp]The English word “braise” entails browning before simmering. It corresponds to [/FONT][FONT=&amp]烧 (as in [/FONT][FONT=&amp]紅燒肉) or, if [/FONT][FONT=&amp]adding [/FONT][FONT=&amp]a thickener[/FONT][FONT=&amp] (e.g., cornstarch) at the end, [/FONT][FONT=&amp]. [/FONT]
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2013
  3. Lucia_zwl

    Lucia_zwl Senior Member

    As a foodie, I feel obliged to answer this question. I’m not (yet:p) familiar with western cooking, so I’m just going to explain these words by telling you what they are for and how to do it.

    炖 means to boil meat and/or vegetables with flavourings, and its purpose is to make food soft and tasty. At the beginning, you need to add much water (or sometimes meat soup if you 炖 vegetables) to soak all the food. Usually the flame/heat should be medium or high in order to get rid of the water quickly. So if you use a lid, make sure there’re small holes on it to get rid of the steam; sometimes you don’t even need a lid. When the food is well-cooked, you can keep some of the soup for drinking.
    You may also hear “小火/文火炖”, which means 炖with small flame/low heat.

    As for焖, its main purpose is to get food soft. For example, when you’re frying Chinese pancake(烙饼) and find it’s not soft enough, you can add a teaspoonful of water and then cover the lid for a while, so that the pancake will get soft. This action is called焖. Another typical example is 焖米饭.
    When cooking other food, 焖can also used to make food tasty, but it’s operated in a different way from炖. First you don’t need as much water/soup as炖, only a half or even less will be fine. Besides 焖with water/soup, there’s also酱焖, which means you don’t need any water/soup but only soy bean sauce. Then the flame/heat is always small/low. The lid should be “tight-fitting”, as Skatinginbc said. When the food is well-cooked, there’s always little water/soup left.

    I think煨 is seldom used in northern China. For me it only means to reheat something, like 用微波炉煨一下, meaning “to reheat (some food) with the microwave oven”. Maybe in other regions it means something else, but I’m not familiar with that.
  4. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Mandarin 國語
    Apparently there is a semantic shift from "[FONT=&amp]to roast in hot coals[/FONT]" to "to roast in the microwave". The core meaning of [FONT=&amp]煨[/FONT] is to cook something that is surrounded all over by the heat source.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2013
  5. SuperXW Senior Member

    I always thought it was 用微波炉“微”一下……
  6. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Mandarin 國語
    My connotations (only my opinions):
    用微波炉一下: pedantically proper, old-timed (煨, which can trace its root to Proto-Sino-Tibetan, is in fact more ancient than 炖[FONT=&amp] and [/FONT]焖).
    用微波炉一下: modern, slangy, not widely accepted in formal writing (加热 or other verbs are recommended instead).
  7. Staarkali

    Staarkali Senior Member

    Thank you all!

    That's most helpful!

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