This post is part of the Food Matters Project, a cooking collaboration among participating bloggers. Each week, we will cook a recipe from Mark Bittman’s Food Matters Cookbook, which places an emphasis on mindful and sustainable eating. Follow along with us!
This week’s post was chosen by yours truly, Small Kitchen College. I personally chose it for two reasons: 1. Crispy. 2. Brown. I’m always looking for foods coated in that brown, crispy layer of fry but are slightly more okay to eat health-wise. Humans like fried foods. The rest is just damage control. These are facts.
It’s another fact that humans are imperfect, and this fault interfered with my creating the wonderful rice cakes of my dreams, unfortunately. Making a pot of rice isn’t too challenging, but reaching rice perfection is quite the opposite, and this batch just wasn’t sticky enough to cake up quite right. I added an egg to amend this sticky situation, with decent results. Frustrating story short, I ended up baking my rice cakes for about 35 minutes at 350°F to slight brownness and crispiness flipping them halfway through. Next time around, I’ll own you, rice cakes.
Otherwise, Bittman’s original recipe called for a pretty standard stir-fry, which I kept pretty standard but instead used some random veggies of my choosing: a nifty purple bell pepper, yellow squash, scallions, carrots and edamame. No protein. Get off my back. Although I hypocritically didn’t do anything creative here, another reason I chose this recipe was to see what creative variations people could come up with on this adaptable classic. Food Matters bloggers, put me to shame! Check them out at The Food Matters Project.
Jen Cantin graduated from Clark University in 2011 with a degree in English and Journalism. She lives in Philly but can also be located at Deep Fried Epiphany. She dedicates this post to accidentally popping edamame out of their pods onto the floor, whoa there, gettin’ crazy!
Crisp Rice Cakes with Stir-Fried Vegetables and Chicken
From The Food Matters Cookbook
**Note: Below is the original recipe as it appears in the cookbook. My main change, as noted above, was adding an egg to the rice and baking the cakes at 350°F for 35 minutes, flipping halfway through the cooking time. I used different vegetables but followed the same basic stir-fry method. For more tips on improving your own stir-fry click here.
3 cups cooked brown basmati rice
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, more as needed
12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 large carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks
2 cups snow peas
1 tablespoon fish sauce
One lime, juiced
Fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish
Heat the oven to 200°F. Season the rice with salt and pepper and stir in sesame oil. Form the rice into four 1-inch-thick cakes. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook rice cakes until golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes per side. Put on a baking sheet in oven to keep warm.
Heat the remaining tablespoon in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Let it sit and sizzle for a couple minutes before stir, then stir until chicken is browned and cooked through, about 3 to 5 minutes for breast meat and a couple minutes longer for thighs.
Remove chicken from pan and add onion and garlic. Cook for 30 seconds before adding carrots and celery, then cook for 3 to 5 minutes longer, or until the veggies just begin to soften. Add the snow peas and cook for about 2 minutes longer, when the veggies are tender but still a bit crunchy.
Stir in the fish sauce, a few tablespoons water, the lime juice and the chicken. Stir for about a minute or until the sauce thickens a bit. Taste and season further to your liking. Top rice cakes with stir fry and garnish with cilantro.