Asian Chicken and Rice Bowl
I met a pet pig named Oliver recently, (that sounds like the start of a joke, right?) Well no joke, I met a real life pet pig - evidence here and here. We hung out for a bit and snuggled and I realized that I need to lay off the pork for a while. Because he pretty much was the cutest thing ever. And that is what I am doing for a little while at least.
So what does this have to do with this recipe? Well typically this asian rice bowl would have ground pork in it - similar to the Asian dish larb but I used ground chicken instead, because I haven't met any pet chickens lately. Well now that I think about it, I have, there are a couple chickens that live on my block. They run up to anyone who passes by. Oh boy (You would never know I moved to LA with all the chickens and pigs in my life, right). Anyways back to the asian chicken and rice bowl.
This asian chicken and rice bowl is the start of a new recipe series/profile/idea-something- I just need to come up with a name. Since its inception, this blog has been more about exercising the creative ideas that are rolling around in my brain. Since I worked full time, this was my place to be creative. And it definitely became a space where I just let loose and created whatever I wanted to. However now since I want to take this space to bigger/better places, I want it to transition to include more user friendly recipes where I talk about the recipe more. Discuss what makes it good, or hard, or worth it, or easy for weeknight cooking. You get the idea right? So this is the first. This asian chicken and rice bowl is kicking it off and it is one delicious dish of yumminess.
Let me breakdown this recipe for you:
The bowl is basically ground chicken, tossed with a delicious soy sauce mixture then served over rice. Here is how I did it.
I sauted off some aromatics (aromatics are just a fancy word for those vegetables and herbs used at the beginning of a dish to create layers of flavor - in this dish it is garlic and lemongrass but most often it is garlic and onions) To the aromatics I add some mushrooms and cook that a bit. Then I add ground chicken. (You can add ground pork or even beef to this instead) and let it cook for a couple minutes until it gets brown. I also folded in some water chestnuts for a little crunch.
While the chicken is cooking, I make a quick sauce that doubles as a cooking sauce and a serving sauce. The sauce is made with some basic asian flavors that are available at most groceries stores, just check the international aisle. Also side note If you can't find lemongrass just leave it out, not a big deal.
Once the chicken is done cooking, I pour in half of the sauce then save the remaining sauce for serving. By pouring the sauce in the pan while the chicken is cooking, we are deglazing the pan which gets all the yumminess off of the bottom of the pan (a lot of the aromatics, chicken bits, mushroom bits etc- it is called fond and is the basis for all sorts of pan sauces). Then I serve the chicken mixture with a big bowl of rice and some herbs, chilis, green onions and cucumber.
Why this recipe works:
The key is in the sauce and the aromatics used. Lets talk about the aromatics again- since they are the first thing in the pan, they are creating a ton of flavor. Ginger, onions, garlic and lemongrass becomes the base for the dish.
Also the sauce is the perfect combination of salty, sweet and savory. The addition of my secret ingredient, brown sugar, adds depth to the sauce.
Lastly, I love this recipe because it is easy. Definitely weeknight easy.
Rice is what takes the longest to cook in this recipe. You have a couple options if your strapped for time. Make a big batch on the weekend or when you have some time and store in fridge (don't store it for more than a couple days, rice gets weird after hanging in the fridge too long). Also, Trader Joes and I would imagine Whole Foods, sells frozen rice that you just pop in the freezer and in 3 minutes you have fresh rice.
Make the sauce ahead of time. This sauce is not going to go bad if you make it a couple days before you eat this dish. (I think you could make it at least 5 days beforehand and be totally fine).
But be careful you might want to put it on everything once you taste it.
Lastly, this recipe is quick, tasty and pretty healthy. If you are gluten free, swap in tamari for soy sauce and the dish easily becomes gluten free.
Asian Rice Bowl
- 2 Tbs. vegetable oil
- ½ cup green onions, sliced
- 1 ½ Tbs. ginger, grated
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbs. lemongrass, minced
- Pinch of red pepper
- ¼ lb shitake mushrooms, minced
- 1 lb ground pork or chicken
- ½ cup water chestnuts, roughly chopped
- 6 Tbs. soy sauce
- 2 Tbs. rice vinegar
- 2 Tbs. sesame oil
- 1 Tbs. fish sauce
- 2 tsp. brown sugar
- Garnish with basil, chilis, cucumbers, lime wedges and green onions
In a medium skillet heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onions, ginger, garlic, lemongrass, red pepper and mushrooms. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the mushrooms are soft. Add chicken and cook until golden brown.
In a small bowl combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, fish sauce and brown sugar. Mix well.
Toss chicken with half of the soy sauce mixture. Serve with white rice and remaining soy sauce mixture. Garnish with basil and limes slices.