7 Tips To Build The Perfect Rice Bowl For Lunch
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Perhaps the most common type of rice bowls we’ve come across, have mostly been in the space of Asian flavours or elements; and while those are perfectly delicious and wholesome to eat, building a filling, nutritious but tasty rice bowl, is all about finding the right kinds of flavour matches and complimenting textures. Typically, unlike the poke bowls or grilled tofu vegan bowls that are spotted on the menus of wellness cafes, a rice bowl isn’t really that much work, when you get down to it. What really matters is how each detail is prepared carefully and making the most of ingredients that are available to you, affordable on the pocket and in-season.

Picking Rice

Like we mentioned before, the quintessential rice bowl uses a Japanese sticky rice or sushi rice as the foundation, since rice is one of the larger components of the meal. However, you could also switch it up with wild rice, basmati, jasmine rice or even brown rice, if you’re on a diet. It is important to cook the rice just enough and not go overboard with the cooking, to avoid turning it into mush. Seasoning the cooked rice with a pinch of salt is equally crucial.

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Limited Toppings

Having a quantitative ratio of how much topping a rice bowl needs might be greatly helpful in deciding the next step in building a meal. Consider this – there should be enough well-seasoned toppings to accompany each bite of rice, but not too much where the rice appears to be just another element in this mixture. Go with one protein (tofu, chicken, fish), two types of vegetables of your choice and some garnishes like fresh herbs, fried garlic, roasted peanuts, etc.

Chopping Matters

Whether you plan on enjoying your rice bowl with chopsticks, a fork or spoon, the toppings must be chopped evenly and trimmed to bite-sized pieces, so that cutting something into portions does not become a challenge. Chopping your ingredients also makes the rice bowl look and feel presentable, even if it is you eating on your own. It also helps that chopping your elements well, helps cook them faster, without taking away from their texture or flavour too much.

Also Read: 

White Rice vs Brown Rice: What Makes Them Different?

Have Variety

In both, flavour and texture, variety really matters when it comes to building a rice bowl. While they don’t always have to be Asian flavours – robust as they might be – adding some chickpeas, sabzis and a kachumber salad, makes for a solid Indian-inspired rice bowl. Feeling Mexican food vibes? Swap the chickpeas with chicken and throw in some fajita vegetables for colour and that Mexican flare. Go simple by sprinkling on some salad dressing into your rice and topping it off with some avocado, poached egg and crisp bacon for a breakfast twist.

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Balance Flavour

The perfect combination of umami, spicy, sweet and salty flavours can be incorporated into a rice bowl, if the sauce you plan on using is supreme. Be mindful of adding just enough to season the rice and toppings, but not too much that the rice bowl becomes soupy and sludgy. Ideally, choose a sauce that isn’t too thick or too runny, but just at the right consistency to coat the ingredients without taking away from their flavours too much.

Stock Up

If rice bowls were synonymous with something, it is the term quick-and-easy. Rice bowls are meant to be healthy meals that are fast to assemble with low effort, making them perfect to have on hectic work days. Meal prepping your ingredients as well as having a good stock of basic pantry sauces, pickles, canned vegetables and ingredients to whip up a dressing make the process easier than expected. Rice bowls are also a great way to use up leftover bits of protein or vegetables you have lying around in your refrigerator.

Conscious Construction

The true success of a rice bowl lies in the sequence in which you taste the ingredients when you first take a bite. Make sure to place the pungent ingredients like spicy peppers or pickled ginger as a small lump in the corner, and mix up ingredients like beans or herbs throughout, for even distribution of textural and flavour elements in each bite. Pile on the larger pieces of vegetables or protein right on top of everything else, for aesthetic appeal as well as to bite into, between mouthfuls of rice.