RECIPE. Jan 1, 2010

Broccoli Rabe Brown Rice Stir Fry

Green. Yellow. Orange. Crunchy. Cold. Refreshing. Key descriptors in the recipes I often make.

As an introduction to a new cook you want to know if they can do the staples the right way. Walk into a pizza place and order the cheese. Walk into an italian restaurant and order the spaghetti with marinara and meatballs. If they can get the staples right then you are most likely to have a home run with anything else on the menu. Hopefully, this recipe, my first, will convince you that I can get the basics correct.

This recipe may appear “boring” upon first glance. It includes lots of vegetables and simple ingredients. As you toss in the ingredients you will feel proud for “eating your vegetables” but you may wonder how all this “goodness” will really turn out when placed in your mouth. Have no doubts.

The wok will be empty once you take your first mouthful and your tongue bows deeply in appreciation. The experience is anything but boring. It’s a wonderful start to this project that I have been working on launching for over a year. Cooking and food have become central components of the joy I find in living. I will leave the details about myself to the “about me section” and move right on to what is most important…food and the eating of said product.

First a 101 on cooking brown rice. Start this process about one hour before putting ingredients into the wok. I like to get the rice on the stove and then begin cutting my ingredients for the rest of the stir fry. Brown rice is cooked by adding 1.5-2cups water to 1 cup rice. Rinse rice thoroughly, add water and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 35-45 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit 5 minutes, DO NOT peek! Directions are usually on the back of the package or in simple cook books. I prefer basmati brown rice because of its soft texture and faster cooking time (35 minutes). I usually add olive oil or butter at the beginning to enhance flavors of the rice.

Get ingredients ready before heating wok or mixing to make process smooth. Cut meat or tofu into cubes or slices about 2’ and set aside’. Cut green onions, carrots and baby bok choy into diagonal slices about 1’’ and set aside. Peel broccoli stems with very sharp knife. Plunge into pot of boiling salted water. Cook five minutes. Drain and chop coarsely. Mix egg with soy and have ready to add to pan when needed. Chop peanuts and ginger and set aside.

Heat oil in large skillet or wok over medium high heat and fry peanuts until golden. Scoop them out of pan with slotted spoon, and set aside for later. Leave oil in pan. Add scallions, ginger, chili (optional) and stir fry one minute. Add chicken or tofu and stir fry till cooked halfway (3-4 minutes). Add carrots and thicker sections of bok choy, snow peas and stir fry till soft (3-4 minutes).

Add leafy portions of bok choy, rice and scallion greens and stir-fry until rice is hot (2-3 minutes).  Lower heat and make well in middle. Add egg/soy mixture to well and stir like crazy until egg begins to cook.

Mix ingredients together, add chopped broccoli and cook until texture is to your liking. Serve with peanuts and cilantro (optional) and enjoy!

Remember that nothing in the art of cooking is final. Feel free to improvise, leave out ingredients or add your own. Some examples include:

  • Chicken can be substituted for shrimp or red meat
  • Meat and tofu can be omitted completely
  • Brown rice can be substituted for white rice.
  • Any of the vegetables can be substituted for something more exotic or familiar.
  • Peanut oil can be used with sesame oil
  • Just remember to get creative, enjoy your self and stay present in the moment that you are slicing, sauteing, mixing and eating.