Assembled rice bowl for Chinese New Year

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One-pots often dominate my weeknight dinner menus. Once in a while though, I crave for a change. The Chinese new year further fuelled my hankering and I thought to assemble a rice bowl with some simple flavours got out of things that were lying in my refrigerator. In the process, I manage to use our old rice cooker to the fullest, which has been lying bit low since last few years.

The key here is assembling. The bowl has four components.

1) Rice

The regular brown rice in our oldie rice cooker. I just made one addition to it- two spoons of flax seed powder. It would not only give the desired sticky rice feel but also enhance the nutritional bar with its omega 3s and fiber.

2) Steamed veggies

Our cooker comes with a steamer basket. So all I had to do was rub some salt and a dash of olive oil on a mix of broccoli (frozen and already cut into bite-size chunks) and green peas, and let it steam while the rice cooked.

3) Beans as protein

I happened to have a jar of black beans in the freezer, which I had soaked overnight last week. I boiled those to get beans as well as their stock.

Now a detour… I would like to say here that I preserved the entire stock for the recipe and future use. But the truth is that I am quite fond of beans/ sprouts stock. So with a pinch of salt and squeeze of lemon, I simply drank the most of it 🙂 Since childhood, it has been my favorite hot drink and I would urge you to give it a try. If you think that the bean-like smell would be off putting, try boiling it with a stick of cinnamon.

4) The spinach and garlic sauté

For this I used garlic greens, but you may also use regular cloves. In a pan, I heated oil, added some red chili flakes to it. Once the flakes started roasting, I mixed in the garlic greens. After a sautéing of about a minute, the spinach also went in, with some adjusting of salt  On a high heat, I let it wilt and added a dash of bean stock liquid (which was saved from me). This also helped to retain the juices from the greens.

Thus, in the bowl I layered rice, beans, veggies, and poured over the spinach garlic sauté, along with its juices which carries it’s chili n garlic flavor. Sprinkled some toasted garlic and few drops of Asian sesame oil for enhanced flavor before serving.

The bowl was tasty in its simplicity and interesting for its layering. I would continue to make its variations in future and  would of course keep you updated if something fun comes up.

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