Thursday, July 18, 2013

A Rice Bowl with Spicy Tahini Chicken, Stir-fried Mushroom and Asparagus, and Marinated Carrots

It isn't clear how it began.  But I'm totally calling it genetic, as my sister is seriously awesome at it as well. For as long as I can remember, my sister and I have been quite skilled at eye-rolling.  That ever-so-mature response when something or someone annoys you.  

This response has many triggers, one of which is recipes touting super special "secret" ingredients.  Like the avocado in that brownie.  Or the kale in that smoothie.

And now I'm rolling my eyes at myself.  Because I am here to explain the secret ingredient of rice bowls. And noodle bowls, for that matter.

The secret is the bowl.  It doesn't matter what bowl it is. It just has to be a bowl. 

Lets all be honest.  Rice and noodle bowls are pretty trendy. But I would argue, that they are trendy for good reason. If the content of these bowls were served on plates, and called "here is a plate of noodles with stuff" or "here is a plate of rice with stuff," I'm pretty sure none of us would get excited about it. We would all be like, "Oh, isn't this basically like going to a buffet and placing heaping piles of random stuff all on one plate."

And we would all be basically correct.

I am still working on gathering evidence for my theory, but I'm pretty sure that bowls have invisible tiny fans scattering delicious invisible taste enhancing seasonings over the contents of the bowl. It will take me some time to figure out how to test this. Science is not my strong suit.

But somehow piling seemingly random concoctions in a bowl makes total sense.  Here, zingy carrots, with stir-fried asparagus and mushrooms, and the earthiness from the tahini chicken, sprinkled with some parsley and scallions and a drizzle of sesame oil, all work together.  I may be rolling my eyes at myself, but at least I am enjoying a yummy dinner while doing so.

For the carrots:
1 cup julienned carrots
2 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons walnut oil
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

For the stir fry:
1 bunch asparagus, woody ends removed, chopped
1 cup chopped shiitake mushrooms
1 teaspoon minced ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
minced jalapeno, to taste
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoon honey

For the tahini chicken:
1/2 pound chicken breast tenders
canola oil
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup tahini
1 tablespoon Greek yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoon Sambal Oelek chile paste
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice

cooked rice (I made 2 rice cups in the rice cooker)
chopped scallions
chopped parsley
lime wedge
sesame oil

To make the carrots:  Place carrots in small bowl.  Whisk the oils and vinegar together, and pour over the carrots.  I like doing this ahead of time.

To make the stir-fry:  In a small bowl, stir soy sauce, oyster sauce, and honey.  Heat canola oil in wok or saute pan on high.  Add asparagus and mushrooms.  Cook for 2 minutes, and add the ginger, garlic, and jalapeno.  Turn heat to medium-low.  Once the garlic has cooked, add the soy sauce mixture.  

To make the chicken:  Sprinkle salt and pepper liberally on both sides of the chicken.  Heat canola oil in a skillet on high.  Get each side nice and brown (about 3 minutes each side).  Turn heat to low to finish cooking (if needed).  Stir together tahini, yogurt, chile paste, honey, soy sauce, and lime juice.  Chop the chicken, and toss with the tahini mixture.

To assemble the rice bowl:  Scoop some rice into a bowl.  Place a few scoops of the stir fry on top of one section of the rice.  Place some tahini chicken on another section.  Place the carrots on top.  Scatter chopped scallions and parsley on top.  Drizzle the whole thing with sesame oil.


  1. I just had some noodle bowl with chicken and veggies for the dinner. Your rice bowl looks very delicious!

  2. I never thought about it before but you're right, certain foods do taste better in bowls. It must be the same mind-trick that makes champagne taste fabulous in thin flutes (as opposed to thick-rimmed cups). :P

    Now I have something to ponder during the heat wave. Thank you. :D And thanks for making me hungrier! (It's too hot to cook.)

  3. This sounds so good, lovely different flavours and textures. I could just go a bowl of this now.

  4. What a delicious looking chicken bowl!

  5. Haha I love your "bowl theory". I think you're right, too!! This sounds delicious!!

  6. That sure sounds amazing! wonderful flavours and love the presentation and clicks.

  7. I roll my eyes at those "cake mix" recipes where people are like, "Oh, just mix a can of pineapple with a box of angel food mix, and it's so healthy and has no sugar." For reals, they say it has no sugar.

    But I don't think bowls are going anywhere! This is so pretty and looks so yummy!

  8. I like your theory! Plus I like these rice bowls...a LOT! I need to make these soon!

  9. There's something about a rice or noodle BOWL that sounds so much better than a PLATE. No idea why. It's just true.

    Spicy tahini. Good. So good.

  10. Just mouthwatering...looks delicious!

  11. you have a lovely blog, we would love to try out the rice bowls this weekend, sounds so much fun...thanks for visiting
    HAVE A GREAT DAY!!! :-)

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  13. Nice easy stir fry recipe! My kids really like to eat this kind of dish. I will cook this for them so that they can eat a lot later.


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