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Why does Emily Mariko put an ice cube in her rice?

Move around, baked feta pasta and hot chocolate bombs. There’s a new viral TikTok recipe on the scene.

Lifestyle vlogger Emily Mariko’s Salmon Rice Bowl is the latest culinary sensation on the video sharing app. The dish combines leftover salmon, leftover white rice, kimchi, Kewpie mayonnaise, Sriracha, soy sauce, avocado and dried seaweed.

Mariko’s post on TikTok from September 21 captioned “Best lunch of the week!” – had nearly 50 million views on Friday morning.

Countless users have shared their thoughts on the recipe with the hashtag #salmonricebowl, which has been viewed over 23 million times. Additionally, Instacart reported that orders containing both salmon and dried seaweed had doubled the usual number as of September 29, a week after Mariko shared her recipe on TikTok.

“Salmon and dried seaweed have not historically been a common deal on Instacart, so there is no doubt that the recent growth of these two items is a direct result of this latest TikTok trend,” said Laurentia Romaniuk, trends expert. from Instacart.

While the combination of ingredients makes for a delicious and relatively healthy meal, it’s the preparation that particularly intrigues people, especially the way Mariko warms the rice.

The vlogger places the leftover white rice on top of the leftover salmon, adds an ice cube on top, then covers it all with a piece of waxed paper before putting it in the microwave. When she takes the plate out of the microwave, she throws in the ice cube still formed and adds the other ingredients of her recipe.

Mariko’s ice cube technique attracts attention.

For many viewers, the fact that the ice cream doesn’t melt sounds like total witchcraft, and it’s hard to believe steaming could be so easy. But it turns out it all comes down to – science!

Christopher Arturo, chief instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education (aptly acronym ICE), told HuffPost he was not specifically familiar with the ice cube technique. But what Mariko does, he said, mimics a more commonly used method of reheating rice: put a little water on top, cover and then cook in the microwave.

“Over time, the rice dries out and the outside can be crispy, almost hard,” Arturo explained. “Putting the ice cube and the lid on top before the microwave creates steam, which will completely heat the food. ”

He continued, “The ice cube gives something to reheat in the microwave, and the steam will diffuse throughout the food – so you don’t end up with half the food still cold. Steam is a penetrating form of heat – it heats completely, evenly, and throughout. The parchment paper cover also helps retain heat. The steam rises, hits the parchment paper and the hot liquid descends to heat the food. If Emily microwaved the food any longer, the ice cube would melt completely.

Indeed, this is what happened. I conducted a highly unscientific experiment at home with a small ice cube on a paper towel and found that it takes about a minute and 40 seconds for the microwave to melt completely. Ice does not melt in the microwave as fast as you might think.

This is because the water molecules in the ice are locked in position in a rigid crystal structure, and the hydrogen bonds that hold them together are quite strong. Thus, water molecules do not absorb much energy from microwaves and therefore do not vibrate and produce heat quickly like liquid water does.

What happens, however, is that the small amount of water on the surface of the ice cream quickly turns into steam to help reheat the food.

Following the viral success of Mariko’s salmon rice video, the creators of TikTok experimented with the ice cream technique on a variety of foods. On September 29, singer Lizzo posted a video in which she reheats a cupcake in the microwave with an ice cube on top (although Food Network’s recipe developer Amanda Neal noted that the trick doesn’t work. also good for already moist food.).

But damn it, don’t hit it until you’ve tried it, we guess.


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