Baby, it’s cold outside – but starting to warm up!
We are beginning to see glimpses of spring. I am looking forward to the warmer weather and actually being able to run outside without risking life and limb on black ice. I am excited for long walks with my puppy. I can’t wait to grill outdoors and avoid setting off my poorly ventilated kitchen’s smoke alarm. During this intermediate time in March, I am flexing my “make simple foods fast” muscles.
I am all for spending hours in the kitchen and preparing incredible meals for family and friends. The reality is that time keeps slipping through my fingertips… For everyday cooking, there are simpler foods that I really need to learn how to make and enjoy. Enter Fast Thai Sticky Rice with Meaty Vegetable Sauce. This recipe hails from How to Cook Everything Fast, Mark Bittman’s latest cookbook. It is very good. I am simplifying it even further. You really don’t have to use Thai Sticky Rice. You could use some leftover white Jasmine rice and this will still taste delicious. I’ll leave the rice decision up to you!
My husband scrunches up his nose whenever I mention “fish sauce” or bring it out from the bottom shelf of our refrigerator door. The truth is the stuff smells like fermented anchovies. It imparts an incredible flavor to this dish – one that would be very difficult to recreate.
Fast Thai Sticky Rice with Meaty Vegetable Sauce
Barely adapted from How to Cook Everything Fast by Mark Bittman
1.5 c short-grain sushi rice
2 large carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1/2 large onion, diced
2 T canola oil
1 lb. ground pork
freshly ground black pepper
1 fresh hot green chile (I used serrano). sliced into quarters lengthwise, seeds & membranes removed
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1″ piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 c coconut milk
2 tsp. fish sauce
1 lime, cut into wedges
optional: Thai or regular basil for garnish
1. Put rice in a medium saucepan with 5 c water and a big pinch of salt. Bring to a boil. When water boils, cook over high heat, stirring frequently, adding more water if needed, until rice is soft and forms a thick risotto like mixture, 10 minutes. When rice is done, spoon it out into 4 shallow bowls.
2. Meanwhile, heat 2 T canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add ground pork, carrot, celery, onion, and a little sea salt & pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until pork browns and vegetables soften, 10 minutes. Stir chile, garlic and ginger into the skillet.
3. Stir coconut milk and fish sauce into pork and vegetables. Bring to a boil. Let liquid bubble until it reduces to a thick sauce. Taste, adjust seasoning, and remove from heat. Spoon over bowls of rice. Squeeze a wedge of lime juice over each bowl.
Optional: Garnish with a lime wedge and basil.