The character looks like a person waving both arms, as if he was frantically yelling: ‘Help, help, I’m on fire!’. Originally, 火 was just the shape of a flame, but I like to think of a person on fire instead!
As you can imagine, 火 is a very common character, so it also has a component version that looks like this: 灬. I think it resembles the flames of a gas stove! If you are a keen cook and you are learning Chinese, then you may have come across the following words which are formed by 火 (or 灬).
– 炒 (chao3; to fry)
– 炸 (zha4; to fry in oil)
– 烤 (kao3; to broil, to roast, to bake)
– 煮 (zhu3; to cook, boil)
– 煎 (jian1; to sauté)
Phrases featuring 火:
火大 – Angry (huo3 da4)
火山 – Volcano (huo3 shan1)
大火 – Big fire (da4 huo3)
火as noun: fire, e.g. 大火= big fire
火as verb: burn down
火as adj: fiery, prosperous
How often do you go for Chinese food? Ever had a chance to visit the kitchen of a Chinese restaurant and feel the heat in there? Chinese like to cook with the gas knob turned all the way up! Typical Chinese dishes, like stir-fry, use high heat to bring out the flavour of the vegetables without overcooking them.
If you plan on trying your hand at cooking Chinese food in the future, these two phrases may come in handy! The two phrases we’ll be looking at are – 小火 and 大火.
小火 = 小(xiao3; Small) + 火(huo3; Fire) = Small Fire
大火 = 大(da4; Big) + 火(huo3; Fire) = Big Fire
When you turn a gas stove on high, you get a big (大) flame. When you turn it on low, you get a small (小) flame. In a Chinese cook book, when you see the characters 小火, it means to cook your food on ‘low heat’. When you see 大火, it means you should crank up the heat and cook the food on ‘high’.
Have you ever tried to cook any Chinese dishes? Do you prefer to cook them on 小火 (low heat) or 大火 (high heat)? Which tastes better to you?