Sunday, July 6, 2008

Easy Mixed Rice

This is my stand-by dinner. Ready at a moments notice, and takes you less than 10 minutes to prepare. Within 30 minutes, it's on the table ready to eat.

Do you have a rice cooker? (Did someone say 'no'? Go out and buy one. Do not pass go, do not collect $200, buy one - now. How do you survive?). Those that said 'yes', you're set.

I can't stress this enough: it's so easy. And as an added bonus, you can use up whatever vegetables you have left-over in your fridge (within reason). I was taught this recipe by my Japanese teacher in Tokyo, and I've loved it ever since.

In the recipe below, I used green asparagus, snap peas and onion. In last nights version, I used green asparagus, carrot and onion (this is my favorite combo). But mix and match, and if you make it yourself, let me know what you used! You could also spice it up a bit with some freshly grated ginger.

Easy Mixed Rice

1.5 cup rice
2 cups mixed vegetables - washed and cut to bite-size pieces. Some possible vegetables: asparagus, onion, carrot, snap peas, shelled peas, green beans, bell pepper, and broccoli.
1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce (approximately)

Add 1.5 cups of short grain japanese rice to your rice cooker bowl (you can use any kind of rice you want, this is just my favorite and works well). Cover with water, and swish around the rice trying to 'clean' some of the starch off. The water will be very cloudy. Drain the water and refill with fresh water to 1.25 on the rice cooker water mark*.

Place rice bowl on the kitchen counter, so it's level. Add your soy sauce, and the liquid level should hit the 1.5 mark. Equal liquid to rice used.

Make sure the liquid level is up to the 1.5 mark. If not, add a little more water. Place the rice bowl into the rice cooker.

Top the liquid/rice with your cut vegetables. There should still be some space between the rice cooker lid and the vegetables - do not overfill or 'stuff' it full. The rice tends to burn on the bottom, if it's too full.

Do not stir. The vegetables should sit on top of the rice.

Put the lid on the rice cooker and press 'cook'. When the timer goes off, stir the rice and vegetables together. I then like to replace the lid, and leave it in there a few more minutes while I get the table ready. It will continue to cook a little and stay warm. IF the rice truly isn't done (take out a couple pieces to test it), then put the lid back on and press cook again. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water, if you like, but it's not necessary. It wont re-cook for the entire time, but go off again in another 5 min - approximately (at least, mine does), and should be completely cooked by then.

Serve with marinated or fried tofu for a complete meal. Great leftovers for lunch the next day!

* Each rice cooker should have a water level marker on the inside that corresponds to the amount of rice you are making

As a main meal, this would make enough for 2 people. As a side dish, you would have enough for 4.

Guten appetit!

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