I used to eat this for lunch once a week. Now I eat it slightly less, largely because by the time I want it the broccoli has either been eaten or melted into a puddle of broccoli-oriented goo. If you are not so careless with your produce, however, I think things will turn out just fine for you.

This fine food takes about a half hour to prepare: fine if you have an hour lunch, and are able to get home. Make sure to start the rice RIGHT AWAY though in case anything takes longer than expected. I will not be held responsible for lateness.

It's basically rice with broccoli and thick peanut-soy sauce. It's cheap, substantial, and easy. Oh, and did I mention it's vegan?

Ok. You need:

  • 2 1/4 cups water.
  • 1 cup rice. I use really awful generic white rice for budget purposes, but a fat sticky rice such as arborio would be nice if you have it. Brown rice is also good. Alter water amounts for your adaptations!
  • About 2 cups broccoli florets. Just hack all the heads off a couple stems.
  • Shoyu or teriyaki sauce, or any other stir-fry sauce you like. I like this Szechuan spicy stuff we get, but use whatever floats your boat.
  • 2-3 good heaping spoonfuls of smooth peanut butter.
  • Spices. Here I am using garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and ginger. You could also go for an entirely different flavor sensation and use curry powder and cumin instead.
  • 1 2-quart saucepan with lid.
  • Fork or other stirring/fluffing utensil.

What to do:

First, keep in mind that I never measure anything in this recipe but the water and rice. You are going to be adding ingredients to taste; if your taste and mine are different, go ahead and cater to yours. This is the variation I use most often, however.

Ok. Start the rice as if you were making regular plain rice: put the water on to boil in the pot, then add the rice. You may note that I use a bit more water than plain rice requires; this is because you are going to end up steaming the broccoli, so you need just a tad more than usual.

Add the shoyu or teriyaki sauce and spices, and stir to mix. I will usually add about 1/4 cup of sauce, six or eight good shakes of both garlic powder and ginger, and maybe two shakes of cayenne. Use your judgement here; if you like spicy foods, put in a lot of cayenne. If you like sweet, put in a lot of ginger. If you don't like the spice so much, only put in a little. As the rice cooks, you can always add more.

Put the lid on the pot, reduce the heat to low, and let it cook for about ten minutes. In the meantime, cut the broccoli off the stem and into bits. You want it in bite-sized pieces, so go ahead and split bigger florets down the middle. Use as much as you want. I will usually chop up some of the stem as well.

Check on the rice periodically, but do not stir: this is rice, you want it to be fairly stable. When it's about 2/3 done (i.e. there is still a good amount of water in, but you can see the rice as opposed to lots of soy-colored bubbles), add your peanut butter. Again, use your judgment; how sticky do you want the finished product to be? I personally don't want to be drinking water to clear out my mouth every three minutes, so I only use about two large tablespoons. Do not stir the mixture yet: you don't want to be scraping burnt peanut butter off the bottom of the pan. Put the lid back on and let it simmer for another 2-3 minutes. The peanut butter will start to melt, adding a schmancy protein element to your sauce.

When the peanut butter is at least half melted, and the rice is starting to look done, add the broccoli. Again, do not stir, just dump it on top of the rice and re-cover. You want the broccoli to be steamed, not smothered. After another 2-3 minutes, check and see how everything is doing. If the rice is done, and the broccoli is a lovely bright steamed green, you are done.

Take the pan off the heat and stir to mix everything. Dump as much as you want into a bowl: voila, a thick and filling lunch. This amount should feed two people, although it depends on your appetite. Or you can dump the leftovers in the refrigerator, and you don't even have to cook lunch tomorrow. Yay!

P.S. John has taken to substituting chopped green pepper and yellow onion for the broccoli. This works really well, since the onions stay raw enough that they maintain their sharpness in nice contrast to the sweet pepper.

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