When I think of recent food trends, ingredients like cauliflower and pork butt come to mind (I'll get to my butt in another post), but far as dishes go, rice bowls are trending big time. The internuts are filled with attractive combinations and what I find truly appealing is their interchangeability. Quinoa or buckwheat is substituted for rice, veggies range from carrots and greens to mushrooms and onions. Some are coated in cheese, others include eggs, meat and legumes. The message is simple: "Just put it in a bowl, already!"
I'm certain my version has been pulled from a few posts I've read over time, but the exact source of my inspiration is my fridge. I had some leftover carrots and peppers I bought on special and picked up some tofu, peanuts and eggs over the weekend. I had a hankering for kimchi, so bought a jar of that too. I went overboard with the ingredients and wound up having to get a bigger bowl, but the point of my recipe below is to give you a guideline that you can interpret to your tastes.
- sesame oil
- 1/2 bunch of kale, ribs removed and finely chopped
- 1 carrot, julienned (I used a mandolin to do the work for me)
- 1 eggplant, thinly sliced
- 1 red pepper, sliced
- 1 package firm tofu, cubed
- 1/2 cup soya sauce
- 1/4 cup chili sauce (sambal oelek)
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 1/2 t chopped ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
The Other Stuff
- 1 cup long grain, brown rice
- 4 eggs
- 1T vinegar
- 1 cup kimchi
- 1 cup peanuts
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds
- 1 avocado, peeled and sliced lengthwise
- 1 cup cilantro, chopped
In a blender, purée the soya sauce, 1/4 cup cilantro, chili sauce, ginger and garlic until smooth. Combine the marinade with the tofu and let sit for anywhere between 2 - 24 hours (the longer the better). Remove from the marinade and place in a bowl with the cornstarch. Coat the pieces well with the starch and place in a heated fry pan with a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Stir the tofu to ensure all sides are golden brown. Transfer from the pan to a paper towel-covered plate and reserve the marinade.
Follow package instructions to prepare the rice. One cup should yield 4 servings.
For the vegetables, heat a frying pan on medium-high heat with a tablespoon of sesame oil. Add the carrots and sauté for one minute. Add a spoonful of sambal oelek and the kale and sauté for another minute. Transfer the veggies to a dish and wipe down the pan. Pour another tablespoon of sesame oil into the frying pan. Place the eggplant slices on the pan and sprinkle a little salt over them. Let them sit for about 2 minutes. Flip the slices over and cook another 2 minutes, again sprinkling a little salt on the other side. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the red pepper to the pan and pour the tofu marinade overtop. Let simmer for about 2 minutes, until the peppers have softened.
To poach the eggs, fill a small pot with water and a tablespoon of vinegar. Bring the water almost to a boil, but reduce the heat to medium when about to boil. Crack one egg and pour into a bowl. Begin vigorously stirring the water in one direction and add the egg, allowing the momentum of the water to keep the egg intact. Let the egg to cook for 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon.
When ready to serve, divide the rice into four bowls. Spoon each of the vegetables and tofu over the rice and add your avocado, peanut and cilantro garnishes alongside them.