Brown Rice Bowl

Last night I was looking for a really quick, easy dinner that would take advantage of some of the veggies I have kicking around. I starting sorting through some recipes ripped out of magazines and photocopied from cookbooks, and pulled out a couple of contenders. The one that won out was Brown-Rice Bowl with Shrimp, Snow Peas and Avocado, from a back issue of Everyday Food. (I would link to this but the search on marthastewart.com is pitiful.) I chose it even though I didn’t have snow peas or avocado. I did have shrimp and green beans, and some leftover brown rice. This would probably also work over rice noodles if you are looking for speed and don’t have the rice cooked already.

I followed along with the recipe, cutting things down to make just one serving. It calls for all the items in the title, plus ginger, soy sauce, lemon juice and brown sugar. In place of the snow peas I used green beans, I omitted the avocado altogether, and I threw in half a diced tequila pepper and a chopped clove of garlic. I don’t think the dish really suffered for missing the avocado, but avocado makes nearly everything better (including chocolate?) and so I would say if you have one, go for it. I do recommend chopping the ginger small, (the recipe calls for matchsticks) as I found it a bit jarring to bite into the bigger pieces. Next time I think I will aim for something closer to the finished size of roughly diced garlic.

The dressing for this is really good (soy sauce and lemon juice in equal parts, plus a little bit of brown sugar) – tangy, sweet and salty, and you don’t need much at all. I cut it down to make about a quarter of what the full recipe calls for, and I think I used maybe a sixth of that. And that was too much. The rice obviously soaks up a lot of the dressing, and I found it overpowering when I hit a spot that had a lot of dressing. One way around that would be to pour the dressing into the pan for the last couple of minutes that the shrimp and veggies are cooking. That way they get coated, the sauce thickens a bit, and if there is too much you can leave it in the pan. I’m also wondering how this would be with tofu in place of the shrimp, marinated in the dressing, and then fried (adding the veggies when the tofu is just about done). On a night when I have to make the rice, that might be something to try.

Overall, the dish was very appealing looking (green, pink, brown, and I had some lavender), light in the stomach on a hot evening, and was quite tasty. It definitely wants a hoppy beer or a nice crisp white wine to go along with it.

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