Grains aren't the easiest thing to make correctly, and I used to avoid cooking rice, lentils and quinoa because I resented the level of attention required to steam them to perfection. 30-45 minutes of constantly checking on the pot to make sure the bottom of you pan isn't scorched and creating that dreaded half burnt, half crunchy layer is tedious. Enter my newest and most favorite kitchen gadget (at the moment until the next one comes along): the rice cooker. I'm slightly obsessed. You can really take Ron Popeil's "set it and forget it" mantra to heart here. It even sings to you when the rice is done cooking and will switch over to warming mode to keep everything perfectly steamy until you're ready. I should also mention, the rice cooker does so much more than just cook rice and grains. You can slow cook meats, steam veggies and even bake (steam?) a cake!
Needless to say, ever since this magical stream machine came into my kitchen I've been making a lot more bowls. They're the perfect 30 minute dinner. While the self-sufficient rice cooker does its own thing, you can get to work prepping the rest of your meal. I'm excited to share with you my alternative to chinese/thai takeout. I saute eggplant, onions, mushrooms, and whatever other veggies I have on hand in coconut oil, garlic, chili paste and soy sauce and then top it off with a sesame oil and tahini spicy sauce and rice seasoning. This makes for a healthy and even better stand-in that takes half the time to make as waiting for the delivery guy to knock on your door.
1 cup white jasmine rice
2 cups water
1 medium eggplant, chopped (about 2-3 cups)
2 cups shiitake/maiitake/cremini mushrooms, chopped
1/4 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp chili oil or chili paste
Optional: More veggies! - carrots, broccoli, sugar snap peas, go crazy
Optional: Rice seasoning
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp chili oil
Rinse the rice in water and then combine with water in the rice cooker. Set it to cook white rice, hit start and get started on chopping the eggplant, onion, mushrooms and any other veggies. Mince the garlic.
Heat the coconut oil in a large pan; when you flick water in the pan and it sizzles that means the pan is hot enough. Add the vegetables and garlic, stir and continue to cook while the rice steams, stirring occasionally (about 30 minutes). Make the sauce while the vegetables and the rice are cooking. Mix all ingredients together and stir until the consistency is smooth.
When you hear the rice cooker singing, it's time to assemble your bowl! Add the rice in a large bowl and add the vegetables
To make the salads, add the greens in a large bowl and toss them with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Add the chicken on top along with the quinoa, the tomatoes, cilantro, green onions and avocado. Drizzle the bowl with the lime juice, olive oil and honey. Serve!
Start with rice on the bottom, top it with the veggies and drizzle with the spicy sesame sauce. Top with rice seasoning or sesame seeds if you'd like. Serve and enjoy!