Posts Tagged rice

How to eat rice for a week without getting ill

I am lucky enough to live in a place and have means such that I can make a statement like this title. I am very thankful for that.

I must admit that my life of privilege–despite my limited grad school income–has spoiled me, and I hate eating the same thing every day. One of my good friends can have the exact same thing every day for lunch and never tire of her turkey and cheese sandwiches. I envy the simplicity of packing such lunches.

Despite disliking repetitive meals, this is a busy time of year (when isn’t really), so I’ve been making large meals I can eat through the course of the week. This week, I made a big pot of rice on Monday, and I’ve been eating it different ways each day. Here’s what I’ve managed so far:

Monday: Rice and black beans with cheese. I like to make beans from scratch, but it was canned this time. What’s worse, I have class on Monday nights, so I packed a resealable, microwavable container with a layer of rice, a layer of rinsed beans and some salsa. I took shredded cheddar cheese with me in a separate container and added it after heating the rice and beans.

Tuesday: Sauted some julienned carrots in a touch of oil, then seasoned with garlic powder, ground ginger and pepper. I removed the carrots from the skillet, trying to leave most of the oil behind. Then I made some veggie potstickers in the skillet (frozen ones). While those were cooking, I heated up a bowl of rice. Then I mixed the carrots into the rice. Voila: rudimentary fried rice and potstickers. Tasty.

Wednesday: Farmer’s Market! Wednesday is my one break during the work week, so I did some real cooking tonight. I got some beet greens for free at the market today, and I had some leftover arugula that I wanted to use, so I created the recipe below. It’s different (black beans in Asian food…), but pretty good I think.

Thursday: Stuffed Bell Peppers. Recipe will follow soon.

Friday: Yet to be determined. Possibly rice and cheese quesadillas. Suggestions?

Asian Bitter Greens and Beans over Rice

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Servings: One very large serving

Ingredients:

  • About 3 or 4 cups beet greens
  • 1-2 cups arugula
  • 1/3 cup carrots (when chopped)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed
  • 1 small to medium garlic clove
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • small amount Asian chili sauce (to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • dash ginger
  • dash ground pepper
  • one serving of rice
  1. Thoroughly wash the greens and shake out most of the excess water (I used a salad spinner). Tear any large pieces into smaller ones. (Be careful with the stems of the beet greens–they’ll turn your fingers pink just like the beets.) Mince the garlic. Julienne the carrots (tip: use baby carrots and chop lengthwise into 4-8 pieces depending on width of carrot). In a small bowl, mix together apple cider vinegar through pepper.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Saute the garlic and carrots together for about two minutes, or when the carrots begin to get tender. Add beans and saute another minute or two. Meanwhile, reheat the rice if necessary. Add the beet greens and saute about two minutes before adding the arugula. Saute about two minutes more, or until all the greens are bright and wilted.
  3. Remove from heat. Stir the sauce again quickly, then pour over greens. Toss well. Serve over rice.
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Stir-fried rice with honey lime sauce

There is really nothing exceptional about this particular recipe. The important thing about it is how to construct your own stir fry from whatever you have around the kitchen. There are several important things to remember when creating a tasty stir fry:

  1. Make sure all the items you’ll be putting in have been cut up before you begin. Just like on the tv shows when they have everything in their little bowls.
  2. The size of each piece should be the same. This is most important within ingredient. For instance, all the pieces of carrot need to be the same size. This ensures that the pieces of an ingredient cook at the same rate.
  3. Place each ingredient in the wok/skillet according to how long each takes to cook. One ingredient doesn’t need to finish cooking before another is added, but if onions take seven minutes to cook and snow peas only take two, then the snow peas should be added about five minutes after the onions. The following list is a general guideline for the order to throw in your ingredients, starting with the first:
  • onions
  • carrots, garlic
  • fresh ginger
  • mushrooms, cabbage, firm tofu
  • peppers, summer-type squash (zucchini, yellow squash), broccoli, asparagus
  • snow pea or sugar snap pea pods, green beans (fresh), green onion, baby corn, water chestnuts
  • peas, corn kernels, tomato, spinach
  • egg
  • rice, pasta
  • sauce

You can use as many types of veggies as you have around the house. This list is by no means exhaustive. If you find something you think would taste good, just think about how long it would take you to saute it on its own and then think about where that would fit in relative to your other ingredients. You can even use leftover canned or frozen veggies. The peas I used in this recipe were leftover from another meal.

Also, leftover rice works best for stir fried dishes. It’s not as wet as freshly made rice and absorbs flavor nicely. I always make extra rice and use the leftover in my wok a couple days later.

Here’s my recipe, but ad lib at will.

Stir-fry

Cooking and prep time: one hour (Chopping takes a long time but everything cooks in about ten or twelve minutes.)

Servings: three

Ingredients:

  • 2 carrots
  • half a large onion
  • one medium red bell pepper
  • half a package of mushrooms (about 4 oz.)
  • one garlic clove
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, diced
  • 1/3 cup peas
  • 2 eggs
  • vegetable oil, about 1 tbsp
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp good soy sauce, preferably low-sodium (NOT LaChoy!)
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp chili sauce such as Sriracha (or more to taste)
  1. Chop all veggies into pieces about the same size. You may need to adjust to irregularly shaped veggies. For instance, I like my mushrooms quartered, so I quartered all the small ones first. However, if I quartered the large ones, the pieces would be bigger than the other mushroom pieces. So I chopped the larger mushrooms into sixths.
  2. Heat your wok to moderately high heat. Put your hand in the pan about one and a half to two inches from the bottom. When your hand feels hot, add cooking oil. Important: you need less oil than you think because the veggies have moisture in them. Start with about one tbsp and add more later on only if you need it.
  3. Add the veggies. Onions first. They will need to cook for a minute or two before adding the carrots and garlic, so take this opportunity to crack the eggs into a bowl and scramble them with one tbsp of water. After the carrots and garlic have cooked a little over a minute throw in the ginger. After a minute, add the mushrooms. Mushrooms have a high water content, so they’ll need to cook for a couple of minutes before adding the bell peppers. While the mushrooms cook, use a small bowl to mix together the lime juice, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey and chili sauce. Mix briskly to emulsify the sauce. After the bell peppers have cooked for a minute, throw in the peas.
  4. Give the peas just one turn around the pan. Then push all the veggies to the sides of the wok so that the bottom of the pan is empty. Add the scrambled eggs. Allow to sit for a minute before beginning to push them around. Try not to push too close to the edge of the pan so that the veggies don’t get coated in egg. It should only take a few minutes to cook the eggs.
  5. Add the rice and turn the heat off the wok, but leave the pan on the burner. Give the rice a few stirs until heated. Give the sauce another whisk to make sure it’s mixed well, then pour over the stir fry. Remove the pan from the burner and mix the meal thoroughly. It’s important to remove the pan from the heat once the sauce is in because the sugars can scorch.

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