Monday, December 7, 2009

Sweet and Sour Rice

I don't usually prepare dinners that mix fruit with the meal...  but what of it.  This Chinese-inspired recipe makes a great garnish for rice!  And the addition of crunchy chow mein noodles makes it fun!  My mom has been fixing this dish ever since I can remember.  I believe she modified the recipe from a page fallen out of an old Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.  More recently, we gave it a few simple vegan adjustments, and that's what you'll see here.  I find it interesting that while growing up, Sweet and Sour didn't appeal to me much.  Perhaps it's an acquired, adult flavor, because I know I enjoy it now!  Plus, it gets me away from my ordinary pasta rut; a taste of Asia is a delightful experience once in a while!  To create a truly ethnic atmosphere, remember to use chop sticks!  Makes enough to feed 6 hungry people, approximately.

Sweet and Sour Rice

Organic Ingredients:
2 cups uncooked brown rice
1 12 oz. bag of chow mein noodles (optional)
3 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 6 oz. cans of pineapple juice
scant 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp Braggs or low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp sea salt
1 20 oz. can pineapple tidbits in juice
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 8 oz. Soy Deli brand, savory flavor baked tofu, chopped
1 8 oz. can of sliced water chestnuts (optional)

Before anything else, begin cooking the brown rice.  It will need about an hour, so don't leave it till the end!  Use the instructions on the rice box or bag to get started.

Get out a lovely bowl and empty the bag of chow mein noodles into it; this is a secondary garnish.  Set aside to serve with the finished product.

This next step takes about 10 minutes.  In a small, one quart saucepan, mix the cornstarch and brown sugar.  Continue adding pineapple juice, vinegar, Braggs, and salt.  Also, open the can of pineapple chunks and drain the juice into the quart pan, but leave the tidbits behind.  Stir completely.  Now cook the syrup-like mixture on high setting.  A few minutes later, after it boils, turn down the heat to medium-high.  Stir regularly to avoid lumps.  When mixture turns shiny, it is a sign of completion; wisk 30 seconds more then remove pan from heat.  Set aside.

Final step: Get out a large skillet.  Fill it with the pineapple tidbits, pepper, onion, tofu, and perhaps water chestnuts, then pour the syrup mixture on top of it all.  Stir together.  Set the pan to high heat, just until it boils.  When it does, put the lid over it and turn the heat down low until it is gently simmering.  Cook another 5 minutes, then remove from stove.  (Hopefully the rice is done also!)  You're ready to eat; serve straight out of the skillet!


cc said...

Your recipes look delicious! I just recently went off dairy and wheat again (I get weird skin problems) and I'm trying to find some good things for substitutes. We've been using a lot of coconut milk, but haven't found a good butter sub. Does the Earth's Balance really work well for baking? (I think it's responsible for ruining my pie crusts)

Valerie Fauver said...

It's great to hear from you, Courtney!

Jordan and I love Earth Balance spread! (You're not confusing it with Smart Balance, right? That brand does NOT taste good to me.) But Earth Balance is wonderful! I can't say I've made a pie crust with it, but we use it in cookies and such. If it's cold from the fridge, we usually let it soften to room temperature or give it 15 seconds in a microwave before we toss it in the mix. Would using too cold or too soft of "butter" ruin a crust? I don't know...

My mom recently bought Earth Balance in its stick form, like a stick of butter, and strangely, it didn't taste good like it does from the container. I don't know if they formulate their recipes different for their tubs vs. sticks, but there was a huge flavor gap between them in my estimation. So I'd steer clear of their spread sticks. In over two years of buying Earth Balance (tub) spread, I've never had any problems with it.

Well, I talk a lot! But maybe something I said could be of benefit to you! From the look of your blogs, you appear to be a far superior cook than I. I should be the one asking you the questions! I am flattered that you think my recipes look delicious. I like the taste of them myself, although they are nothing fancy. Plus, it's cool that you are using coconut milk! Yummy! And being wheat free seems to have a lot of benefits. Sometimes I buy quinoa flour at the store instead of whole-wheat. It's good to give our bodies a break from certain things, isn't it.

Thanks again for writing, Courtney! It feels like we could be good friends! Love you! :)

Raw Oz Gal said...

Your recipes look delicious! Especially this sweet and sour rice. I'm going to try and "raw-ify" your recipe and I'll let you know how it goes! Thanks for your kind words on my blog... and btw, if you are interested in raw, remember it can take people a long time (years, even) to move from a cooked vegan to a raw vegan diet. I'm not there yet either, but I always stay vegan. Peace!

Vegan Valerie said...

Dear Raw Oz Gal,

Thanks for leaving ME such a nice comment! It's great to hear back from you!

I'm also excited to know that you are going to try and fix my Sweet and Sour Rice recipe raw-style! That's cool! Do let me know how it goes! :)

Thanks, too, for your encouragement about my transition into raw food. Sometimes I put a little too much pressure on myself to do everything right, right now... I just need to be patient with myself. At least we're both strong vegans, huh!

Receiving your comment really made my day, so thank you again! Talk to you soon... :)