If you had asked me two weeks ago about the best way to cook (flavorful) veggies, my unwavering answer would have been: roast them. I’m a sucker for all things roasty, toasty, caramelized, slightly crisp and even a tad bit charred… the simple steamed veggie is just a bit, well, simple for me. That is, until now…
Our oven went kaput a few weeks ago and I was forced to get a little creative. (Although, thank you Thermador for coming to the rescue!). My little oven haitus seemed miserable at first, but it’s in fact incidents like these that force me to think outside of the box. (Or in my case, outside of the oven).
Enter: the bamboo steamer. You don’t necessarily need a bamboo steamer to steam veggies, but I just love the subtle woody flavor it imparts. That bamboo-ey aroma brought me right back to Kyoto, where simplicity is celebrated. I made this bowl a meal with some black rice, tofu, and a bright, tangy sauce.
(I have this mini-bamboo steamer – which is the perfect size for veggies for the 2 of us).
- ½ cup forbidden rice (uncooked)
- 1 small sweet potato, cubed
- A few scallions (optional)
- 1 bunch of broccolini
- 2 small carrots, peeled into ribbons
- A few slabs of tofu
- ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
- Handful of sprouts
- Sprinkle of sesame seeds
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Sea salt & pepper, as needed
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce or tamari
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon sambal chili paste or sriracha
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- Cook the rice according to the instructions on your rice cooker. (You can use the white rice setting for the black forbidden rice).
- Steam veggies in a bamboo steamer (ideally). Use a shallow skillet where the steamer fits just inside the outer edge, so that 1 inch of water can simmer underneath. Place the sweet potatoes and broccolini in separate steamer trays. Add the scallions on top and a few pinches of salt & pepper. Start the sweet potatoes first (they'll take longer). Cover and let them steam, checking around the 20 minute mark. Once they're almost tender, add the broccolini tray and steam both for an additional 10 or so minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the dressing, set aside.
- (optional) Toss carrot ribbons with a splash of rice vinegar and a few pinches of salt. Let marinate until ready to use.
- (optional) Pan sear your tofu slabs. Press the water out with paper towels, drizzle with a bit of soy sauce. Heat oil in a skillet, add the tofu, and cook for a few minutes per side. Remove and chop into cubes.
- Assemble bowls with rice & toppings. Drizzle with the dressing and serve extra on the side.