Friday, May 8, 2009

One of Our Favorite Dinners...

Here's a picture of Melissa's chicken-rice bowl from an al fresco meal we ate last summer. We love this. I added mango to the rice bowls last night, and I thought it notched up the tastiness of this dish nicely.

I've posted about these chicken-rice bowls before, but I didn't share a recipe. Well, we ate it again last night for the first time in quite a while, and it tasted just heavenly. I will, once again, make a point of having it on the menu regularly.

This meal is easy to prepare, and much of it can be done ahead of time and pulled together quickly at the last minute.

Let's say this serves 3 to 4.

Cut up (into bite-sized pieces) 2 to 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (depending on how much chicken you want). Marinate it in the following for at least 1/2 an hour in the refrigerator (leave it marinating in the fridge for hours if you want-- you'll cook it right before serving dinner):

1/2 c. shoyu or tamari
4 T. sesame oil (toasted)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 T. tahini
4 T. maple syrup or rapadura
3-5 green onions, chopped

(I actually wing it most of the time with the marinade, adding and changing at my whim, but the recipe above works great. Sometimes I add a little bit of brown rice vinegar and mirin.)

Cook 1 1/2 c. short grain brown rice in water according to directions on the package (basically, it will be 1 1/2 c. rice in 3 cups water for 50 minutes). If the rice isn't done in 50 minutes, just cook longer. If the water dries before the rice is done, gently pour in some more water to cover the bottom of the pan. If the rice is done before the water is gone, drain the rice in a sieve, return to pan, replace lid and let sit for a bit before fluffing and continuing.

When the rice is cooked, remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 5 to 10 minutes. Then fluff and stir in the following (the rice and nori part of this dish is from a recipe in Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson):

1/2 orange, zest and juice
1/4 lemon, zest and juice
1 T. rapadura
1 T. shoyu (or tamari)
1 T. brown rice vinegar

If you do this ahead of time, refrigerate the rice, and warm it before using. Just before serving, stir 2 sheets toasted Nori, crushed, into the rice. The Nori adds a delicious taste to this dish, so I wouldn't think of leaving it out!

When you're ready to eat:

Cook the chicken (which takes merely 2 or 3 minutes). Heat a wok to fairly high heat, and spoon in a bit of coconut oil/butter to coat the wok nicely. While the wok heats (or before, if you're slow!), cut an avacado or two and a nice, ripe mango into chunks or slices. Chop some green onions, and have some toasted sesame seeds on hand, if you want to use them.

I cook the chicken in stages, and I serve these chicken-rice bowls one by one as they are ready to go. Plop a big spoonful of chicken into the wok (drain off the marinade by either picking up the chicken with a slotted spoon or by tipping a regular spoon to let the marinade run off), and spread the chicken in a single layer across the pan. The chicken shouldn't be crowded. Let it brown (it will happen quickly) and then began stirring it until it's brown all over and cooked through (don't overcook-- it happens fast-- but let it get nice and brown). When the chicken is done, you can cook some of the marinade for sauce, if you'd like, but it doesn't require it to taste delicious.

Put a serving of rice in a bowl. Layer chicken on top of this, then avacado and mango chunks or slices. Top with a bit of green onion and a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds, if you like.