Friday, May 25, 2012

Buddha Bowl

Up until recently, stir-fries were one of our easy go-to dinners. It's good to have a few of those, for nights you don't want to read recipes or figure out something new. But now I'm not using much oil in my cooking (like none at all in the last week), and I'm not sure how to manage a dry stir-fry in a cast iron pan. The solution is actually pretty simple. Steam some vegetables instead of stirring them, put them over rice or quinoa, and add a killer sauce. The result is a favorite I've had in restaurants lots of times - a Buddha Bowl. It's delicious, simple, and comforting, and really versatile too. Make different sauces, add tofu or tempeh, use all sorts of different veggies, and any kind of grain you like. This is my new "stir-fry."

Buddha Bowl
Start a pot of rice, quinoa, or other grain. Lately I'm into mixing brown basmati and wild rice.

Chop a nice pile of vegetables for steaming - anything you like. Here I used carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, napa cabbage, and kale. (This strainer/steamer full of veggies cooked down to just enough for two of us) Place the veggies in a steamer over a pot of water, but wait to steam them until the rice is almost done.

While you wait, make the sauce. I call this one...

Buddha Belly Sauce
In a saucepan, measure very imprecise amounts of peanut butter (on the right), tahini, red curry paste, and miso paste (two small blobs). Whisk them together over low heat.

Add water or coconut milk to thin the sauce to the desired consistency. Add the juice of one lime, a little maple syrup, and tamari to taste. Warm the sauce gently on low heat, but don't boil.

When the rice is about 5-10 minutes from ready, bring the water under the vegetable steamer to a boil, cover the veggies, and let them steam for about 4-5 minutes, until they're just tender.

To assemble the Buddha Bowl, start with rice, top with vegetables, and pour on a generous amount of sauce. Top with fresh basil and chopped cashews.

Relax... enjoy... dinner's ready.