**HAPPY NEW YEAR**
Looking forward to another year of adventure, food adventure to be precise. The last year has been a good year, full of delicious ideas. I spent perhaps half of the year if not more, cooking up the storm in the kitchen and hundreds of meal were made, recorded and eaten. When I go through my food photos from my computer, I can hardly believe the amount of meal I have produced; some meals were new and some were food that I cook regularly, a necessary combination to make my job balance and interesting.
One of the dishes that I often make as well as being one of my absolute favorites is ‘Rice Bowl’ or ‘Grain Bowl’ served with a couple or several different toppings. If you are following me on Instagram, you will notice this easy to make, delightful to eat and most of the time, a feel-good ‘fridge-cleaning’ dish frequently appears on my feed. I have been telling myself that I should post these recipes on the blog but the beauty of these ‘bowls’ is that they should not be tight up by recipe, they should be spontaneous and inspiring. Whether you have the ingredients in hand already or you prefer to plan ahead according to your appetite, in either case, it should be simple, let every ingredient speak for itself but at the same time, compliments each other’s flavour and texture.
So I decided to collect some of my favorites, which are also most popular on my Instagram account from last year, for today’s blog post. You will see the combination of ingredients and some brief descriptions of how to make the toppings (if needed). The ingredients I used here are the most commonly available ones, but keep in mind that these are only examples of what is possible. Be inspired and be creative! I hope you enjoy them.
Notes: The following descriptions are guidelines only, adapt and make them your own! The quantity of ingredients and seasoning are open and is up to you to adjust. Meat, vegetables and salad can be substitute with other seasonal ones if prefer. The choices of grain nowadays are overwhelming: brown, black, red, white rice; millet, quinoa, barley and buckwheat, etc. The only way to find the one you love is to try out different combinations.
Some of the ingredients I repeatedly used in more than one dish here, as well as in other recipes on the blog. They are definitely some useful and stable pantry items which are worthy to have in any kitchen. Here is the list for these items I put together:
- Tamari (gluten-free soy sauce), shoyu or regular soy sauce
- Oyster sauce
- Mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
- Konbu seaweed (dried kelp)
- Good quality vegetable stock cube
- Sesame oil
- Fish sauce
- Garlic powder
- Korean toasted nori seaweed
Brown Rice Bowl with Tamari Honey Glazed Mushroom, Coriander Tofu and Green Beans
- cooked brown rice
- Tamari honey glazed mushroom- sautéed oyster mushroom with a clove of finely sliced garlic and a little vegetable oil until the mushroom takes on a golden brown colour, stir in tamari (or regular soy sauce) and honey, coated evenly, sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- Coriander marinated tofu- pat-dried sliced firm tofu and add into a mixture of sesame oil, salt, garlic powder and chopped fresh coriander leaves, marinate for about 15 minutes. Pan-fry tofu and drain on kitchen towel.
- Blanch fine green beans in salted water until cooked, drained and add a knob of butter to coat.
Lentil, Broccoli Rice with Fried Egg
- Stir fry cooked basmati rice with cooked lentils, finely chopped broccoli, a drizzle of oyster sauce, tamari and sesame oil.
- Fried egg
- cherry tomatoes
Sushi Rice Bowl with Tamari Tofu Steak and Guacamole
- Cooked sushi rice
- Tamari Tofu- In a small saucepan, bring 50ml Mirin to boil for 30 seconds then removed from heat, add 50ml tamari or regular soy sauce and a small piece (4cm square) of Konbu seaweed (dried kelp), set aside to infuse. Season sliced firm tofu (pat-dried) with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Coat them with potato starch and then pan-fry until golden, drain on kitchen towel. Transfer to a plate and then add the prepared tamari dressing. Served with more tamari sauce if desire. Leftover sauce can be stored in a glass jar in the fridge for up to a week.
- Quick Guacamole- Mash 1 ripe avocado with a fork with the juice of 1/2 a lime. Add 2 to 3 finely chopped cherry tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. It should be tangy so add more lime juice if needed.
- Toasted nori seaweed
Brown Rice Bowl with Kohlrabi Kimchi, Ginger Swiss Chard and Fried Egg
- Cooked brown rice
- Kohlrabi Kimchi (homemade, get the recipe here)
- Swiss Chard with ginger and sesame- Sautéed chopped Swiss Chard with finely shredded ginger, salt and a pinch of sugar, sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds.
- Fried egg
Lentil Rice Salad with Pan-Fried Sumac Cauliflowers, Toasted Hazelnut and Chopped Dates
This one is more like a salad:
- Cooked basmati rice (cooked with vegetable stock)
- Cooked lentils (see recipe here)
- Sumac Cauliflowers- coat cauliflower florets evenly with olive oil, plenty of salt, pepper and sumac. Pan fry until cook through.
- Chopped dried dates or fresh medjool dates
- Toasted hazelnut, chopped
- Lemon juice and olive oil dressing
- salt and pepper
- Chopped fresh parsley
Kimchi Fried Millet with Beef and Pak Choi
This one is more like a stir-fried:
- Cooked millet with vegetable stock
- Kimchi, reserve the juice
- Beef- I used here leftover roasted beef
- Tamari or regular soy sauce
- Sesame oil
- Sliced Pak Choi
Stir fry Pak-Choi in a wok on medium high heat until it starts to soften, add all the other ingredients except juice of kimchi and tamari. Stir fry for a minute, drizzle in the reserved kimchi juice and tamari. Fry for a further minute and then have a taste, add more tamari if needed.