With its blend of tender rice, crunchy cabbage and sweet-and-sour party on top, this rice bowl is delicious, nutritious and oh-so-satisfying. Toasting the brown rice brings out its subtle, nutty flavour and also helps it cook up softer and fluffier, which may help win over any white rice fans you are feeding. As is often the cases with my recipes, this one is super flexible. If you love peppers, add more. If you want to make it vegetarian or vegan, swap out the pork for tofu (prepared the same way). If you like things spicy, go heavier on the chili paste. Add some chopped cashews or peanuts if you like; double the dish if you want leftovers – it would make a great lunch the next day! Rice bowls…for the win….always. If you enjoy this recipe, you might also enjoy my rice bowl with peanut sauce.
- 3/4 cup (146 grams) brown rice
- ½ pound (225 grams) pork tenderloin or lean pork chops, trimmed (or firm tofu)
- 2 tablespoons (20 grams) cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of olive oil, divided
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 shallot or small cooking onion, diced
- 2 teaspoons (10 grams) minced fresh gingerroot
- ½ each red and yellow pepper, chopped
- 12 snow peas, washed, strings removed, quartered
- 1.5 cups (375 mL) fresh pineapple in 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) pieces
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) pineapple, orange or apple juice
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) water
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch (6.5 grams)
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) low-sodium soy sauce – or Tamari for a gluten-free version
- 1 tablespoon (14 grams) brown sugar (or more, to taste)
- ½ – 1 teaspoon (2.5 – 5 mL) chili paste (Sambal Oelek)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- ¼ cup (60 mL) slivered green onion tops
- Lime wedges
- 2 cups (500 mL) chopped green cabbage
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) olive oil
- In a medium, dry skillet over medium-high heat, toast the brown rice for 3 -5 minutes. It will smell very fragrant and start to make popping sounds as it toasts; take care to stir or shake it constantly so it does not burn. Once toasted, immediately transfer the rice to a medium sized saucepan.
- Add 1 1/3 cups water to the saucepan; cover and place over medium-high heat. As soon as the rice is boiling, reduce heat to low and let simmer, covered. It will take 30 – 40 minutes to cook.
- While rice is cooking, slice pork (or tofu) into ¾ inch (2 cm) pieces. Put the 2 tablespoons (20 grams) of cornstarch in a small plastic bag and add the pork or tofu to the bag. Twist to close and shake gently so all pieces are coated with cornstarch. Set aside.
- In a bowl or measuring cup, combine juice, water, cornstarch, soy sauce, brown sugar and chili paste. Whisk or stir to blend well and set aside.
- In a medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and ginger and sauté for 2 – 3 minutes, stirring constantly. When onion has softened, add another 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan and then add pork or tofu pieces, removing them carefully from the cornstarch to leave excess behind in the bag.
- Sauté the pork or tofu for several minutes, stirring, until pieces are browned all over. Add peppers, pineapple pieces and snow peas and stir to combine well. Cook for several minutes, stirring, until peppers are softened.
- When peppers and snow peas are softened, give the juice, etc. mixture a good stir and pour it over the peppers, etc. and pork/tofu. Stir gently to combine and reduce heat to medium low.
- Stir as the mixture begins to bubble then reduce heat to low. It will thicken. Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper to taste. Add additional brown sugar, chili sauce, or water as needed to adjust to suit your preferences. You want a sauce that is about the consistency of gravy.
- While sauce finishes cooking, heat remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a fresh, medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Add chopped cabbage and quickly sauté, stirring, for 2 – 3 minutes until cabbage is just beginning to soften. Remove from heat.
- NOTE: If you prefer, you can leave the cabbage raw for your rice bowl.
- To assemble, take two broad, shallow bowls (the ones called ‘soup plates’ are ideal). Put half of the cooked brown rice in the bottom of each one. Put the cabbage (raw or cooked) into the bowls as the next layer. Top with the sweet and sour pork/tofu and peppers, dividing the sauce equally between the bowls. Garnish with chopped green onion and a big lime wedge to squeeze over the dish.