Rainbow Meal #2: Coconut Veggie Brown Rice, Indo Chinese Style

This second part of the Rainbow Meals series is one of the best recipes I have stumbled upon lately. A twist from the classic vegetable fried rice, packed with loads of vegetables that taste better with brown rice than white rice! How many times does that happen?

Usually when you go out to a restaurant, vegetable fried rice is practically all rice with few color pops of tiny cabbages and carrots. I feel its called vegetable fried rice just to differentiate it from the with-meat/with-egg fried rice on the menu! The flavors of soy sauce and chilli garlic sauces make-up for the taste, but definitely not the health.

Instead of replicating ‘restaurant style vegetable fried rice’, try this flavor rich, nutrition rich, 5 color eye pleasing recipe! Trust me you will fall in love and make it a weekly staple

Recipe: Coconut Veggie Brown Rice, Indo Chinese Style

Prep Time: 10min | Cooking time: 30min | Serves 2 BIG bowls

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown rice (cooked)
  • 4 cups of chopped colorful vegetables (1 medium carrot, 5 florets of cauliflowers, 5 florets of broccoli, 5 cubes of pumpkin, 1 handful of green beans, 1/2 cup chopped cabbage)
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes
  • 6 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 chilli (finely chopped)
  • 1+1/2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 4 Tbsp soy sauce
  • Coriander (for garnish)

Instructions:

  • Start with cooking brown rice separately in a rice cooker (20-30 mins)
  • In a pan, add 1 Tbsp coconut oil, garlic and chillies. Saute for 1 min, till the garlic aroma starts fading and then add all the chopped veggies along with 1 Tbsp salt
  • Cover the pan and let the veggies cook for 15-20 mins on medium heat. Make sure the veggies don’t become mushy; they should be fully cooked, but retain a bit of crunchiness. Remove the veggies in a bowl and set them aside
  • Now in the same pan, heat the remaining 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil and add 1/2 cup of coconut flakes. Saute on medium heat for a couple of minutes, till the coconut flakes begin to change color; do not brown the flakes 😉
  • Add cooked rice to this pan. Continue to mix brown rice with the coconut flakes for 2 mins. Then, add the bowl of veggies, along with soy sauce. Mix well. Cover and cook for another 5min so that they absorb all the flavors
  • Garnish with coriander and serve!

Notes:

  1. Surprise folks with the 4:1 veggie rice combination in this dish!
  2. Coconut flakes and garlic lend an great unexpected flavor combination
  3. The nuttiness of brown rice goes well with all the veggies than white rice.
  4. Feel free to adjust salt, soy sauce, add chilli sauce in the end per your taste

Give this a try and let me know what you think!

How to eat a vegetable rainbow without eating salads everyday?

Our body needs 13 vitamins and 21 essential minerals! But with each of the 20,000+ species of known vegetables providing a unique set of these vitamins and minerals, how do we make sure we are eating the right nutrients, in the right quantities?

In the book Sapiens, the author Yuval Noah Harari argues that hunters-gatherers, before the arrival of agriculture, satisfied themselves with “a marvelously varied diet”, made possible by the fact that they had few needs and plenty of time to roam around the jungle gathering fruits, vegetable and herbs. Today despite modern agriculture and advanced trade that brings fresh vegetables and fruits from across the world throughout the season at our doorstep, we suffer from vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

It’s akin to the irony of movies. When there are too many movies to watch, we gravitate towards the blockbusters that follow a specific plot trend vs a wholesome portfolio to nourish our senses and inspire creativity.

Luckily, nature has made things simple with a color coding system. The 20,000+ vegetable species can be broadly divided into 5 color codes (Red, Orange/Yellow, White/Brown, Green, Red), each unique for its nutrient profile, together providing Yuval’s “marvelously varied diet”

Then all we need is a simple 3 step rule: (1) Shop veggies of 5 different colors, (2) rotate the mix with seasonal, exotic and experimental varieties (3) Cook and eat

I started off with salads to get around the third step – chop all the veggies, dress them up and eat. But eating raw rainbow salads everyday can get boring. So I gave myself the challenge to come up with fun, easy and delicious ways to eat rainbow meals. Below are three of the successful kitchen experiments that have been #SuccessfullyTasteTested

The Marvelous Yogic Veggie Bowl

Prep time: 10min | Cooking time: 20min | Serves two big bowls

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup beetroot, diced
  • 1/2 cup carrot, diced
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin, diced
  • 1/2 cup potato, diced
  • 1/2 cup cauliflower, diced
  • 1 cup broccoli, diced
  • 1 Tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup water

Instructions:

  • Peel, dice, wash, strain all the veggies
  • In a rice cooker or a pan, add all the 4 cups of veggies along with 1 Tbsp ghee, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper and 1/4 cup water
  • Cover the lid and cook without moving the vegetables, on medium heat for 10 – 15 mins. Make sure the vegetables are fully cooked but have a tinge of firmness / crunch
  • Remove in bowls and serve hot! Add lemon, salt and pepper as required

Notes:

  • Tastes best when served hot, immediately after cooking
  • Best eaten as a salad replacement or with rice and lentil Kichari
  • Eat with a friend or by yourself without TV/phone, to truly enjoy the subtle flavors and nourishments
  • Its real fun to chop the veggies!
  • Use rice cooker to keep things simple and not worry about adding additional water in between
  • Do not touch / move the vegetables while cooking as the colors of some vegetable swill override everything else (e.g. beetroots)

Upcoming recipes in the series:

Coconut Rice with loads of Veggies and a hint of Indo-chinese flavor (coming up soon)

Clear soup with lots of vegetables, Vietnamese pho style (coming up soon)

Trivia

*13 vitamins: vitamins A, C, D, E, K and the B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12 and folate).

*21 essential minerals: Calcium, Phosphorous, Potassium, Sodium, Magnesium, Iron, Manganese, Copper, zinc, cobalt, molybdenum, iodine, selenium, sulfur, chloride, boron, silicon, vanadium, nickel, arsenic, chromium

*Our bodies need energy to survive and carry various bodily functions. We get this energy from the food we eat, specifically carbohydrates, proteins and fats. The enzymes in our body break down the three macronutrients to release energy via chemical reactions. Vitamins and minerals help keep the enzymes active, transport them to the right locations and keep the environmental conditions right (e.g. pH balance, blood sugar levels etc) for the appropriate chemical reactions to take place. Vitamins and minerals are also stores in our body parts (e.g., Calcium in the bones) that provides critical structure to them. Pretty damn important!

Scrambled Paneer (Cottage cheese)

The perfect breakfast in bed – Scrambled paneer with a side of 🥑 .

If your Saturday mornings start late and breakfast continues into brunch, you need something filling with a simple formula – it should be high in fiber, high in proteins, high in complex carbs

From my earlier post, banana oats pancake are a great option. And here is option 2 if you looking for something more savory.

Paneer (Cottage cheese) is made from curdled milk 🥛, is rich in proteins and calcium while being low on calories. So let’s make it the perfect lead actor in our breakfast today! Combined with some red beans (more protein in fiber) sweet potato (complex carbs), and avocado (good fats) with dashes of fresh herbs (coriander, sweet onion) and hot sauce. It’s a perfect breakfast colorful-wholesome-filling breakfast!

Recipe
Prep time: 15min | Cooking time: 10min | Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup paneer (cottage cheese, mashed))
  • 1/3 cup red beans (canned / cooked)
  • 1/3 cup sweet potato (boiled, peeled and cubed)
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 strands of green onion
  • 1/4 cup coriander
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 2-4 shakes of hot sauce

Instructions:

  • In a pan, heat oil. Add half a portion of green onions and saute for 30 sec before adding in the sweet potato and red beans. Saute for 3-5minutes till they become soft and easily mashed.
  • Add in the paneer and mix it all well together.
  • Add dashes of salt, pepper and the hot sauce. Cook for around two minutes before taking it off the pan
  • Serve with a garnish of remaining green onion, coriander and sliced avocados!

Notes:

  • The recipe comes out really well with fresh homemade paneer (and its so simple to make! Bring 1 ltr of milk to boil. Turn the heat off and add 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar, add more if you cant notice the curdling (milk separation into solids). Let it cool for 30min. Strain with a cloth and set in a refrigerator for at least 3 hrs before using. DO NOT Throw away the liquid. Use it in kneeling and soups or drink as is!

Strawberry smoothie!

Cant avoid the breakfast dance with a strawberry smoothie!

Breakfast is the first meal of the day, but most importantly it’s a meal we have after 12hrs of not eating just before we head to work. You need it to be light, loaded with fruits, some protein, colorful and playful to get you in the right mood.

Here is an easy formula: Mix fruits, yogurt, and a gentle sweetener together. Top with nuts!

Recipe:

Prep time: 5min | Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/3 cup yogurt
  • 1 tsp pumpkin seeds

Instructions:

  • Blend together the strawberries, banana and yogurt
  • Serve with toppings of pumpkin seeds

Notes:

  • Banana is a great natural sweetner. You don’t need to mix additional vanilla essence / honey if you are adding a banana to your smoothies