Mr. Pea and I have begun to eat vegetarian a lot more often lately. It’s partly because I tend to consume fewer calories this way (tracking on the food diary–down 3.5 pounds thus far) and partly because I just don’t feel like cooking meat that often. It’s more fun to have meat on the grill but just using the stovetop and the oven? Meh! Once or twice a week will do. It’s an added plus that eating vegetarian is nicer to the planet (you can check out Mark Bittman’s book to this end) and it’s cheaper! This spicy rice is a great example of a delicious vegetarian meal that’s filling, relatively low-cal, and inexpensive. It’s a modified version of a recipe in this month’s Everyday Foods.
You start by making rice. I made brown rice in the rice cooker I got for Christmas. You’ll need three cups, cooked. I like to make a lot and stick some in the freezer for impromptu fried rices during the week (I’ve had a lot of lazy days of takeout lately, though. Such a slacker).
Then you slice up 14 oz of mushrooms. I used one of those 10-oz cartons of white button and 4 oz of cremini–it would be even better with shiitake. Yum. Slice them pretty thinly. Then cut up an onion, two cloves of garlic, and grate two carrots on a box grater. Ready? Good. Now you can mix your sauce. You’ll need 2 T of chili sauce (I used chili garlic sauce–I love this stuff), 1 T of soy sauce, and a quarter-teaspoon of sesame oil. Stir and set aside.
Add a tablespoon of canola oil to a nonstick skillet. Add onions for a few minutes, then garlic. Let it cook a few minutes and add mushrooms and a little salt. Stir frequently until the mushrooms are softened and have shrunken some. It’ll take about 8 minutes.
Add your carrots and rice. Add sauce, tossing about until it’s all warmed through and well-mixed. Then begin to press the rice down in the skillet. The idea is to get a brown, crispy coating on the edge against the pan. This didn’t happen for me–I started to get a little over-browning of the carrots (their sugars caramelizing) and a bit of smoke, so I just tossed it all into a bowl. Then you use your skillet to fry up some sunny-side up eggs (unless you’re me–then you inevitably get an egg that’s cooked through). Divide up the rice and place an egg on each. Deeeelicious.