This week continues the series of dishes intended to help us fight the holiday gluttony that causes so many of us to gain weight at the end of the year. This week’s dish features some wonderful, organic spinach and broccoli. It is simple to prepare, packed with flavor, and will give you more energy throughout this busy time of year.
The method I use here to cook the rice is a little unorthodox and requires an explanation. I used to struggle to get rice cooked perfectly. I did like I was supposed to by bringing water to a boil (usually the ratio was 1 part rice to 2 parts water), adding the rice, reducing the heat, covering the pan, and letting it simmer for 20 minutes. If I did it just right, the rice would absorb the water, be fluffy. The problem was that often it didn’t absorb all the water. Sometimes it wasn’t fluffy! Sometimes it was gummy, overcooked, or undercooked. The reasons for the inconsistencies in rice cooking are many and varied and there is not enough space in this blog to discuss them all. Suffice to say, most Asian chefs use rice cookers for this very reason. So if you have a rice cooker, use it! If not, use my method which treats rice like pasta. In other words, use at least 4 or 6 times the amount of water, add the rice and cook it until it tastes done. If you forget and cook it too long, or if you don’t take it off too early, you will have perfect rice every time!
Stir-Fried Brown Rice and Vegetables
For the Rice:
- One, 12 oz. package Best Choice Brown Rice
- 4 quarts water
For the Vegetables:
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and julienne
- 1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and julienne
- 2 cups small broccoli florets
- 2 cups cabbage, Napa, Bok Choy or white, julienne
- 1 cup fresh bean sprouts
- 1 bag organic spinach
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
Cook the rice. Heat the water over high heat until it reaches a rolling boil. Add rice and cook, stirring frequently until rice is tender. Pour through a colander and rinse with cold water to cool and to remove any starches remaining on rice.
Next, start by preparing and cutting all the vegetables and measuring your ingredients so that they are ready to go. Once you begin stir-frying, it goes very quickly.
In a wok or large skillet, heat canola oil over high heat until almost smoking. Add the peppers and onion while stirring constantly. While continuing to stir, add successively the broccoli, cabbage, sprouts, spinach, and rice. Cook, stirring, constantly for 2 minutes. Add the salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes more.
Stir in soy sauce and sesame oil and remove from heat. Serve immediately.