Tuesday, October 18, 2011

5-Colors Bowl and Vegan Furikake

This bowl is inspired by my recent trip to Portland, OR.  I was brought to Cafe Yum by my friends Yongkie and Pokie.   The bowl that I ate at Cafe Yum, Jazzy bowl, was good but I thought the sauce was kind of too rich.   Then, Yongkie offered to make similar bowl at his home and he made Miso Ginger sauce instead of the rich sauce at Cafe Yum.  I like the bowl he served me.  The sauce was lighter and sweeter than what I had in Cafe Yum.  He served brown rice topped with black beans, chopped tomatoes, black olives, avocado, onion, and cilantro. It was yummy! Of course, later on I visited Native Bowl and ate more bowls of goodness (Couch Bowl and Mississippi Bowl).   I love 'the bowl' concept and was first introduced to it by visiting Native Foods where I tried Soul Bowl, Gandhi Bowl, Hollywood Bowl, etc.

The concept of a bowl is to have some kind of grain, protein, vegetables, seeds/nuts, other savory toppings, and sauce in one bowl.  The grain can be brown rice, quinoa, bulghur, millets, coucous, or any other grain.  The protein can be tofu, tempeh, all kind of beans,  and seitan.  You can use your imagination what kind of vegetables to put in your bowl, there are plenty.  The vegetables can be raw, steamed or roasted.   Any kind of roasted or raw seed /nuts can be added into the bowl.   Now, the secret is in the SAUCE!

5-Colors ingredients.
 I came up with this 5-colors bowl because I think that when we eat, we start with our eyes.  If the food is colorful, it is appetizing.  This bowl is colorful, fresh, and healthy.  The 5 colors are yellow, red, green, black, and brown.   I also think that this is an Asian Fusion dish which means that there are some Asian elements in it such as Adzuki beans, Sticky brown rice, Miso ginger sauce and Furikake.  Asian dish usually doesn't incorporate avocado, chopped tomatoes, and black olives such as a Mexican dish.  I can say that this is Japanese Mexican dish? Below is my own Miso Ginger Sauce recipe to go with the colorful bowl.

Miso Ginger Sauce

2 tsp. canola oil
1Tbsp.  fresh grated ginger
1/4 water
1/4 rice vinegar
1/4 white miso
      Note:  I use South River Organic Chickpea Miso
2 Tbsp. Hon Mirin
1 Tbsp. Agave Nectar
1 tsp. sesame oil
Optional: to thicken the sauce mix 2 tsp Mochiko Sweet Rice Flour with 1 tbsp water, add the to sauce, simmer for 1 minute.

  1. Heat oil in a small sauce pan, then, add the fresh grated ginger.  Saute for a few minutes until fragant.
  2. Add water, rice vinegar, and white miso.  Using a whisk, mix it together until miso is breaking down and sauce is simmering.  Simmer for 2 minutes.  If a thicker sauce is preferred, you can add the rice flour and water mixture to thicken it.
  3. Take it off heat, add mirin, agave nectar, and sesame oil.  Note: Since my miso is not smooth, I use a hand blender (stick blender) to mix the sauce together into a smooth light brown sauce.  Some miso is already smooth and this step is not necessary.
5-Colors Bowl (makes 4 bowls)

3-4 cups steamed brown rice ( I use My Perfect Brown Rice for this recipe)
2 cups steamed Butternut Squash (cubed)
           Note:  I bought cubed and peeled butternut squash from Trader Joe's as a shortcut. 
1 can 15 oz. cooked Adzuki Beans
1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
1 avocado, peeled, sliced/chopped, about 1 cup
   Note:  I happen to buy an organic Reed Avocado (pictured above)
1 small 8 oz.  sliced black olives
3 green onions/scallions, chopped
Miso Ginger Sauce (recipe above)
Vegan Furikake (recipe below), optional 
   Note: if you don't like seaweed, you can add toasted sesame seeds only, brown or black.

    Drizzle the Miso Ginger Sauce on top of rice.
  1. Scoop about 1 cup of steamed rice onto a bowl and drizzle with Miso Ginger sauce.
  2. Add 1/4 cup cubed steamed butternut squash, adzuki beans, chopped tomatoes, sliced/chopped avocado, and sliced black olives.
  3. Drizzle with more sauce.
  4. Top with chopped scallions and vegan furikake(optional).
  5. 5-Colors Bowl with Miso Ginger Sauce, all mixed together.

This bowl has all kind of flavors: sweet, tangy, hearty, fresh, and salty.  The furikake adds 'seafoody' flavor to it, too.

Furikake  (Japanese rice seasonings) usually contains shaved bonito (fish flakes) if you buy it commercially at a Japanese market.  It also may contain MSG (monosodium glutamate).  I make it myself at home to avoid these ingredients.  If you like seaweed and sushi, usually, you'll like furikake.  Below is my vegan furikake recipe:

Vegan Furikake
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 Tbsp. Vegetarian Seasoning (Mushroom Seasoning, pictured below)
 Note: Mushroom seasoning can be bought at Asian markets.  Nowadays,  it is hard to find one that has no MSG in it.  I particularly like this brand which contains no MSG, not too salty,  and also vegan.  If you cannot find mushroom seasoning, you can use nutritional yeast or your favorite dry vegan broth powder.

2 Tbsp.  Toasted Sesame Seeds (or more if you like)
3-4  large Toasted Seaweed (seaweed sheet for making sushi) or Seasoned Seaweed Lavers (Korean seaweed snacks, cut into large pieces
Salt to taste
Note: Some mushroom seasoning or broth powder has a lot of salt.  You may want to taste first before adding salt.

  1. Combine sugar, veg. broth powder, sesame seeds, seaweed pieces in a DRY food processor.
  2. Pulse or run food processor until seaweed is broken into tiny pieces.  The mixture should be dry(pictured below).  Store in a dry and tight container such as a glass jar, a tight tupperware, or a dry spice jar for an easy sprinkle.

I often have a snack of seaweed laver, topped with steamed brown rice,  steamed veggie (in this case it was some butternut squash) and sprinkled with my vegan furikake.  Roll it up like a sushi!