Just before Gothamist was shut down (boo!), I saw a post about a lunch spot in Downtown Brooklyn that serves something that had me drooling instantly: Grain bowls made with (very green) scallion rice. The author practically gushed over the scallion rice. I wanted to try it. Being me, I decided to try making it myself, without ever tasting the original. 😛
The original scallion rice was actually a scallion fried rice. However, I decided to make a non-fried version to cut down on the fat content. I was fairly certain that the fragrances of the scallion, ginger and a small dash of sesame oil would be enough to elevate a plain bowl of jasmine rice to a next level–and I was right!
I wanted a quick but well-balanced, DASH-compatible dinner with a couple of different flavors going on, so I went with a grain bowl format. Aside from the teriyaki chicken and roasted pumpkin, this easy bowl gets a bright vinegar boost from a quick and crunchy cucumber pickle, and toasty goodness from a (also quick) carrot salad with sesame seeds. Don’t be scared by the long-looking ingredient list. As long as you have roasted pumpkin ready to go, this teriyaki chicken bowl with scallion rice comes together in about 20 minutes. I say it’s a pretty good DASH diet dinner for weeknights!
Teriyaki Chicken Bowl with Scallion Rice & Roasted Pumpkin
DASH diet considerations: The teriyaki chicken bowl with scallion rice and roasted pumpkin is a quick one-bowl meal that's well balanced on both flavor and nutrition departments. Just a small drizzle of sesame oil in the scallion rice gives it a nice nutty fragrance without weighing it down. Teriyaki chicken is sweet and savory; the two salads bring brightness and crunch, and roasted pumpkin adds a starchy texture and natural sweetness.
Mix the soy sauce, honey, sake and garlic in a small bowl. Add the chicken thighs and let sit to marinate.
Cook the jasmine rice in a small pot.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the chicken pieces and cook, flipping occasionally to get a nice browning going. When the chicken is cooked through, pour the marinade into the skillet. Cook it down until it thickens and coats the chicken nicely. Transfer to a plate and keep in a warm place.
While the chicken cooks, sprinkle the cucumber and carrot with a small pinch of salt in separate bowls. Toss to combine and let sit for a few minutes. This will draw out the moisture from the veggies, preventing them from getting soggy later.
Squeeze out as much moisture as you can from the cucumber and carrot.
Add the sushi vinegar to the cucumber and toss to combine.
Add the sesame oil and sesame seeds to the carrot. Toss to combine.
When the rice is cooked, fluff, and mix in the ginger, scallion, sesame oil and a small pinch of salt.
Divide the scallion rice between two serving bowls. Arrange the teriyaki chicken, roasted pumpkin and two salads on top.
We sprinkled some shichimi, a Japanese spice mix, over top. The citrusy, fragrant spice mix adds another dimension to the teriyaki chicken bowl, but it’s not a necessity. Sambal oelek, sriracha or other spicy sauce might be a fun addition on the side, too.
Soups and chowders often taste better after sitting in the fridge for a day or two, but sometimes I don’t want to eat the same thing twice within a span of a few days. Adding curry powder to creamy chowders is a trick I use often to liven up a leftover in those cases. Here, I added a generous amount of Jamaican curry powder to the milk-based cod and cauliflower chowder from a few days ago, and served it as a soupy curry with basmati rice. It was warm, aromatic, savory and filling; just what I needed on a cold winter night after a day of work!
I also made a quick vinegar-based coleslaw and sliced up some tomatoes (not in the recipe below) to up the vegetable intake. The cool, crunchy vegetables were definitely a nice contrast to the warm, tender veggies in the curry soup.
DASH Menu: Jamaican Curry Soup with Cod and Cauliflower
DASH benefit: The same benefits as those for the original cauliflower cod chowder applies here: The curry gives you loads of vegetables and lean protein in an aromatic Jamaican curry sauce without the fat of heavy cream. Many recipes for basmati rice call for salt, but it really isn't necessary here, either, as it soaks up the tasty curry sauce in the bowl.
Rinse the basmati rice in a few changes of water. Add the rice and water in a small saucepan. Cover the pan and bring to a boil on high. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and let it bubble and simmer until all the liquid is gone, about 10-12 minutes.
While the rice cooks, toss the shredded cabbage with a pinch of salt. Let it marinate for a few minutes.
Squeeze out the moisture from the cabbage. Add the scallion, cilantro, olive oil, vinegar and freshly ground black pepper to the cabbage. Toss to combine.
Reheat the cauliflower cod chowder on medium low. Once heated through, add the Jamaican curry powder. Stir to combine thoroughly. Taste, and add more curry powder if needed.
Fluff the rice. Divide between two bowls and top with the curry.
*My favorite brand of Jamaican curry powder is Blue Mountain, which seems to be available at some chain grocery stores and Caribbean markets around here. I use the mild version in a yellow jar, not the hot one in a red jar. Other types of curry powder might also work (Japanese, Vietnamese, Indian, etc.), but I think the garlic-thyme combo in the original cod chowder works best with the Jamaican flavors.
For a quick weeknight dinner, I coupled a skirt steak wrap with a hearty and nutrient-packed roasted carrot and arugula salad, and made an earthy yet refreshingly bright lemon tahini dressing to complete the vaguely Middle Eastern feel of the menu. The hummus works so well as a sandwich or wrap spread–this wrap is otherwise pretty bland, but the cumin kick and creamy body of the hummus really make it into a satisfying meal.
Two regrets: I would have added toasted cumin to the lemon tahini dressing, if cumin wasn’t in the hummus-skirt steak wrap. Sprinkling the skirt steak with za’atar or sumac might have made the wrap even more interesting, with their floral zing. Next time!
Skirt Steak Wrap with Cumin Hummus & Roasted Carrot Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing
DASH considerations: This skirt steak wrap and roasted carrot salad combo violates a few DASH meal guidelines. First, I used skirt steak, because that’s what I had on hand, but it’s not one of the leaner meat options. You could easily substitute it with grilled chicken breast to make the protein part leaner. Second, it has a higher fat/oil content than many DASH recipes on this site, about half the daily limit for that category. You can probably skip the extra virgin olive oil in the lemon tahini dressing and rely entirely on the sesame oil contained in the tahini paste. This would cut down the fat & oil amount a bit (by about 0.25 serving). Or, you could opt for lower-fat meals for the other meals of the day.