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接下来,拿一个平底锅,先在锅里淋一圈油,待油锅烫手时,将切好的萝卜饼一块一块地放进锅里。盖锅前须放进一些温水,预防糊底。火最好用文火,等能闻到香味时,便可开锅了。

This is from the Standard Course Book of HSK5, section 19. What is the meaning of 开锅? To start boiling or to open the pan by lifting the lid? The former according to baidu and google translate. But why?

4 Answers 4

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盖锅前(before covering the pot) 须放进一些温水,........ 便可开锅(uncover the pot) 了。

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开锅 can refer to a antioxidation and coating procedure using heat and oil for pure old-fashioned iron and steel pans and pots. Here 开 takes its meaning of a procedure "to initiate". Similar usage is in 开业、开张、开盘,which mean "to open business," "to open business", and "to open quotation on the stock exchange," respectively. Many demonstration videos can be found YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B82JD32V8aY. Note that this procedure is not applicable to most modern kitchenware with composite coating.

开锅 can also refer to the action of removing the lid of a pot. Here 开 takes its meaning of an action "to open something with a cover". Similar usage is in 开窗、开门、开箱,which mean "to open a window," "to open a door", and "to open a package and present the content," respectively.

Baidu apparently tracks the usage frequency among Chinese better than Google because 开锅 is lately mostly a key word of many short videos that demonstrates the antioxidation and coating procedure, whereas "the action of removing the lid of a pot" does not as easily find a situation to express online. However, neither can be yet used as a reliable source of Chinese-English translation as the machine learning algorithms require huge input data, while high-quality human-examined translation has not received enough treatment.

By the way, I am somewhat surprised that HSK 5 is still addressing text like a cookbook. Such text reads like Grade 2-3 for native speakers.

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  • I iust want to say that for most people with a wok the former use is still very familiar, and agree that the later use is more common in other scenarios.
    – zagrycha
    Dec 19, 2022 at 18:35
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开锅 means lift the lid in this context, but sometimes means boiling as well.

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便 = 就

可 = 可以

开 = 打开

锅 = 锅盖

了 = over。

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