I struggled with naming this recipe...it's not easy naming recipes! Whenever I make these (which is about 3 times a month) I always call the meal "Asian Rice Bowls," because the ingredients and flavors generally align with Asian inspired cuisine. It is a quick meal not specific to a particular region though, so it didn’t feel right to call it Vietnamese or Thai or Korean. In the end I went with Asian Rice Bowls, because really that's what they are! They are easy, you can change it up every time, and you can start the meal at 5:00 and eat at 5:30. Win. Win. Win.
This meal is slightly different every time we make it, depending on what we have in the house. The premise is always the same:
- rice/cauliflower rice
- a protein flavored with the same 3-4 ingredients
- a green veggie flavored with the same 3-4 ingredients
- fermented vegetables
- fun toppings like cilantro, sesame seeds, and green onions
I hope you appreciate the creativity encouraged when making this meal. There is no hard-set recipe, but you’ve got the outline, and that’s all you need!
Side Note: By now, Adam and I have spent our entire Friday night discussing proper naming for culturally inspired foods, and he thinks French fries should be renamed, European fries. We will see if that sticks.
2 cups rice or cauliflower rice
1 lb Protein - ground pork, ground beef, chicken, salmon or wild shrimp
4 cups greens - spinach, kale, collards, chard or bok choy
1 cup fermented veggies - kimchi, gingered carrots
2 TBSP ghee or coconut oil, divided
2 TBSP fish sauce, divided (my favorite)
2 TBSP coconut aminos, soy sauce or tamari
2 tsp rice vinegar (optional)
Toasted sesame oil, to drizzle
Black and/or white sesame seeds, to sprinkle on top
½ cup cilantro, chopped (optional, but delicious)
3 stalks green onion, chopped (optional, but delicious)
1 lime, cut into 4 quarters
The Rice Bowl Outline.
1. Get yourself a good bowl. Because food tastes better when you eat it in a bowl, it’s a fact.
2. Base (pick one):
Rice. Wild, white or brown. Our favorite is either the organic white basmati rice from Trader Joe’s or an organic short grain rice from our local Asian Market. Cook according to directions on package. If you have an InstantPot, try cooking rice in it - comes out perfectly every time!
Riced Cauliflower. Often sold frozen, this grain free option is great for those looking to get more veggies in their meal, or those who don’t eat rice or grains. Cook according to directions on package (usually a saute on the stove for a few minutes).
3. Protein (pick one). Some of our favorites:
---> Saute protein in a saute pan with 1 TBSP ghee or coconut oil, cook as you normally would. Flavor your protein of choice with:
4. Green veggie (pick one or two). Some of our favorites:
----> Saute greens in a saute pan with 1 TBSP ghee or coconut oil. Flavor green of choice with:
5. Fermented veggies (pick one or two)
Kimchi (a must! Available at most grocery stores now.)
We also like to use gingered carrots or pickled radish. We buy these locally, if you can find some, great, otherwise just stick to kimchi!
6. Bowl it up
Add ingredients to bowl, rice on the bottom, everything else on top!
Drizzle toasted sesame oil on top of bowls, sprinkle with optional sesame seeds, green onion and/or cilantro, and a 1/4 of a lime juiced on each bowl.
You don’t have to use fish sauce if it scares you. But trust me, it REALLY makes the meal. It brings incredible flavor and depth to food. That, “I don’t know why this is so good” feeling when you eat something cooked with it! Our favorite brand is Red Boat, the "40 degree N" version
It's best not to cook with sesame oil. Sesame oil is a seed oil that has a low smoke point. Because of this, it's best to use sesame oil to flavor food after it's cooked!
Coconut Aminos is a grain free (soy sauce contains soy of course, but also wheat) alternative to soy sauce. It has a very similar flavor and color, it's super tasty!
I soak my rice for at least 8 hours before cooking. Soaking rice helps to make it easier to digest, reduces anti-nutrients, and can lower arsenic. I pour measured rice in a large bowl, cover plus 3 inches with water, and let it sit all day. If you don't do this/remember to do this it's ok, it's just a habit we're in and make a priority.