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Fast Thai Sticky Rice with Meaty Vegetable Sauce

Fast Thai Sticky Rice with Meaty Vegetable Sauce     www.morewinelesswhines.com

Fast Thai Sticky Rice with Meaty Vegetable Sauce

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.

Fast Thai Sticky Rice with Meaty Vegetable Sauce  www.morewinelesswhines.com

Fast Thai Sticky Rice with Meaty Vegetable Sauce

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!

Fast Thai Sticky Rice with Meaty Vegetable Sauce    www.morewinelesswhines.com

Fast Thai Sticky Rice with Meaty Vegetable Sauce

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    www.morewinelesswhines.com

Fast Thai Sticky Rice with Meaty Vegetable Sauce

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
sea salt
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.

Enjoy!

Fast Thai Sticky Rice with Meaty Vegetable Sauce       www.morewinelesswhines.com

Fast Thai Sticky Rice with Meaty Vegetable Sauce

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Cooking

Welcoming the Year of the Horse with Sung Choi Bao of Pork (Lettuce Wraps)

Sung Choi Bao of Pork (Lettuce Wraps)

Sung Choi Bao of Pork (Lettuce Wraps)

The Chinese New Year is on January 31, 2014.  I was planning a grand party to celebrate – complete with a parade-worthy dragon flecked with gold sparkling fabric, red envelopes filled with gift cards, lanterns and firecrackers.

Notice the word ‘planning.’  In reality, my Chinese New Year celebration will probably be a less glamorous, scaled down affair with only a few good friends.  Life has gotten busier than I thought it would these past few weeks!

The good news is that I have been experimenting with a lot of Chinese inspired recipes.  With my limited exposure to Chinese cuisine, I cannot begin to cover the diverse history and regional dishes of China, but I can borrow some simple cooking techniques.  My favorite Chinese cookbook is Simple Chinese Cooking by Kylie Kwong.  It is approachable enough that you can flip to any page and cook the recipe with relative ease.  It is still complex and rich enough that there are details on equipment for the Chinese kitchen and “Eating Chinese-style.”

The below recipe is from the book , modified only slightly.  I hope you enjoy it as much as my family did.  We will be making it again this weekend.

Ingredients for Sung Choi Bao of Pork (Lettuce Wraps)

Ingredients for Sung Choi Bao of Pork (Lettuce Wraps)

Sung Choi Bao of Pork (Lettuce Wraps)

4-6 small iceberg lettuce leaves
1 small carrot, finely diced
2 T. canola oil
1 T. ginger, julienned
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 lb. + ground pork
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
4 fresh shitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps sliced
2 T dry sherry
1 T low sodium soy sauce or tamari
1 tsp. white sugar
1 tsp. oyster sauce
1/4 tsp. sesame oil
1 can water chestnuts, roughly chopped
3/4 c. fresh bean sprouts
3 green onions, thinly sliced into rounds
2 T. cilantro, roughly chopped

extra soy sauce, for serving

Soak lettuce leaves in cold water for 30 mins. Drain well. Set aside, covered in refrigerator.

Whisk together dry sherry, soy sauce, sugar, oyster sauce and sesame oil in a small bow. Set aside.

Heat a large wok or rounded-bottom frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 T Canola oil and swirl in wok until hot. Add pork and stir-fry, breaking up into little bits with wooden spoon, 2-3 minutes. Add ginger and garlic. Stir-fry 30 seconds more. Add onions and mushrooms and continue stir-frying for 3-4 minutes more, until pork is cooked through. Pour in soy sauce blend. Stir-fry 2 minutes. Add carrot, water chestnuts, bean sprouts and green onions. Stir until heated and combined with pork and other vegetables. Remove from heat.

Transfer to a medium-sized serving bowl. Place on a platter with lettuce leaves, cilantro and soy sauce.

Optional: Buy some plum sauce or hoisin to serve on the side if you want. I happen to like the soy sauce just fine!

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