My wife always prepared this in her office. She only have one small basic rice cooker in the office and she and her colleagues like to prepare this for lunch. As her colleagues are vegetarian, so she prepared vegetarian version in the office. Of course, the ingredients are not as much as in this recipes.
At times when i do not have the time to cook, she will prepare this as she claimed that this is : “ healthy, fridge clearing, fuss free and delicious” recipes. She had prepared a few times and I took over the preparation when we were having a vegetarian diet last year. It did attract a lot of friends asking for recipes.
This is a no rule dish and the attractiveness of the dish will be based on your ingredient’s pairing based on colour and texture. Whether vegetarian or non vegetarian is totally not relevant and I will be sharing in this recipe what I have cooked last week. I have prepared the vegetarian version first and subsequently transformed it into non vegetarian version with just a step difference. Those in the clay pot is the non vegetarian version by adding bak kwa and deep fried shallots.
Usually when I prepared the dish, I will go to the fridge and see what I have. My ingredient pairing are as follows:
- For aroma and fragrance : Dried shitake mushrooms, celery , sesame oil
- For colour: Orange – carrots or pumpkins, white: cabbage or napa cabbage, yellow: sweet corns, black: mushrooms or wood ear mushrooms, green: long beans, French beans, red: goji berries and occasionally some red chilli
- For texture: Peanuts, cashew nuts, raisins, walnuts and etc.
The above suggestion is for vegetarian version. For non vegetarian version, in addition to the above
- For aroma and fragrance : dried shallots and shallots oil, fried garlics, small shrimps , minced meat
- For colour : ham, luncheon meat, bacon or pork jerky (bak kwa)
Every time when I cooked the dish. the combination will be different but families like it. This is a healthy dish using very minimal oil. People may mistaken that it is a fried rice but it is not. When you cook the rice, you have to reduce the water as vegetable juices will be secreted. In the recipe, no exact quantities will be listed as it is full of variations.
WHAT IS REQUIRED
Servings: 4-6 adult servings
- 3 cups of white rice
- 1/2 cup pumpkin cubes
- 1/2 cup shitake mushrooms cubes
- 1/2 cup of celery cubes
- 1/2 cup of cabbage, small pieces
- 1/4 cup of roasted cashew nuts
- 1/4 cup of roasted peanuts
- 1/4 cup of raisins
- A small handful of goji berries
- 1 sweet corn
- Seasoning such as mushroom seasoning or others
- Salt to taste
- Dashes of white pepper
- 2 tablespoons of sesame oil
STEPS OF PREPARATION
- Cut all the vegetables into cubes form. The quantities stated are for reference. For pumpkin, do not be overly small as it will become mushy.
- Wash the rice and transfer to the rice cooker. Add all the seasonings (salt, mushroom seasonings or others such as msg, dashes of white pepper, sesame oil). Add slightly less than 3 cups of water (about 2.75 cups), stir until well mixed. Remember that vegetable will excrete juices and hence it is imperative that you use less water, otherwise your rice dish will be mushy.
- Layering shall start with vegetable, meat or other ingredients that are more difficult to cook. In this illustration, the layering order are : rice, mushrooms, celery, sweet corns, cabbage and topped with pumpkin since pumpkin is easiest to get cooked. Cook in the rice cooker as per the rice cooker instruction until the rice is cooked.
- After the rice is cooked, lightly fluff the rice. Transfer out to a big bowl, add the raisins, roasted peanuts, roasted cashew nuts, goji berries. Stir lightly until the rice is well mixed. Transfer out to a bowl to “air dry” for a while if you found that the rice is too wet. After 5-10 minutes in the dinning table, the rice will be much drier.
- For non vegetarian version: Suggested to use shallot oil instead of sesame oil, add deep fried shallots to the rice and also bak kwa. You can also add ham or bacon or minced meat during the cooking.
This is a very simple recipe that I do not think there is anything to shout about. It is using the pilaf concept of layering. Give it a try and see if it suits your taste buds. Remember you can always add minced meat or bak kwa or ham or bacon or sausage to the rice.. There are tons of variations. If you are not pure vegetarian, feel free to add shallot oil to enhance the fragrance. Lastly, the attractiveness of the rice is how you pair your ingredients in terms of texture (nuts + vegetable) , colour and aroma (shitake mushrooms and celery provide a very aromatic and distinctive flavoured rice)
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