Since shifting my family’s meals to healthier whole foods, I’ve become a big fan of the stir-fry. It is versatile, and you can make a big pan-ful of goodness that can become lunch for the kids or for you to pack for work over the next day or two.
Of course I have several varieties…I love mixing different veggies with different seasonings and different whole grains. I’ve made many using Asian flavors, many that have brighter flavors using Italian herbs and other ingredients, etc. I even have one inspired by Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS list.
This recipe, with its wonderful flavors can be made with chicken, or without for a delicious and filling vegan entrée. It’s called Chicken, Veggie, and Black Rice Mix Mosh.
What’s a mix mosh?
Last year in my younger daughter’s preschool teachers taught her the idea of making a “mish-mosh” out of the food on their plates since so many kids love the protein and carbs but often leave out the veggies. This way, they can eat it with a large spoon and get bits of all the good stuff in every bite. Well my daughter came home and told me I had to make a mix mosh for dinner and I had no idea what she was talking about. So I made a regular dinner…I think it was chicken, brown rice, and peas that night.
Well I got reprimanded by my feisty little then three-year old, saying that I did not follow directions and did not make a mix mosh as I was instructed to. She then took her fork and mixed everything together on her plate (here’s a tip that I wish I knew then: serve dinner in a large BOWL if there is any chance there will be a mix mosh taking place…it would have saved lots of time picking rice and peas out of the grout on my tile floor) and adamantly said “That’s a mix mosh.” And she ate everything on her plate. So needless to say, I began serving a LOT of mix moshes from that point on.
Why Black Rice?
I first found black rice (it’s actually a deep purple) at my local health food store and just thought it looked intriguing. After all, when something is referred to as “forbidden”, doesn’t it make us want to try it more? So I picked up a pack of Organic Forbidden Rice from Lotus Foods.
Black rice is not just a gimmick. It actually has some nutrients that regular, brown, and even certain wild rices, don’t have. According to Lotus Foods’ website, black rice…
• Cooks in only 30 minutes (as opposed to the usual 45)
• 100% certified organic
• Whole grain and heart healthy
• High in anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants reputed to prevent cancer and many other diseases
• High in iron
• Gluten and wheat free
The “anthocyanin” group of antioxidants is the one that is unique to dark blue/purple colored foods like blueberries and açaí berries. This particular group has been studied extensively for its protective and preventative health benefits. Black rice delivers these anthocyanins alongside the other benefits of whole grains without the higher amount of naturally occurring sugars that you get from the fruits. Plus, each serving costs less than a proportionate serving of the berries. It is available from various sources online, and keeps for a very long time in a dry, closed container since it is a dry good not a perishable fruit.
Let’s not forget the fact that it just looks cool on the plate. It is so much more visually appealing than regular brown rice, which matters when you are feeding children (or other picky eaters) and are encouraging them to “eat their colors”.
• About a pound of boneless chicken (I used thighs here but you can feel free to use breasts)
• 1 tbs extra virgin coconut oil
• 1/3 cup chicken or vegetable broth
• 1 cup of dry black (also called “forbidden”) rice, rinsed and cooked
• ½ an onion, finely chopped
• 1 large garlic clove, minced
• 3 scallions, thinly sliced
• 1 small package of crimini (AKA baby bella) mushrooms, sliced thin
• A good sized head of broccoli, stems cut into thin medallions and the florets
• 5 spears of asparagus, cut into smaller pieces on a diagonal
• 2 stalks of celery, thinly sliced
• 3 stalks of baby bok choy, thinly sliced, leafy part cut into thin ribbons (chiffonade)
• ¼ cup low sodium tamari
• ¼ cup dry red wine
• A dash of sesame oil
• A sprinkle of seaweed gomasio (if you have it…plain sea salt or pink Himalayan salt is OK too but I happen to love the gomasio which is a blend of sea salt, dried seaweed, and sesame seeds)
• 1 tbs of fresh Italian basil, sliced again into thin ribbons
• Freshly ground black pepper to taste
• A pinch (about 1/8 tsp) each of ground ginger, cardamom seed, and turmeric
A quick word about the ingredients:
Many people see a list of ingredients in a recipe and freak out if they don’t have them all on hand or can’t find a certain one at the store; sometimes there will be an ingredient on the list that they don’t happen to care for. Don’t let this stop you from trying the recipe! For vegetables, feel free to just use similar proportions of what you have. Same goes for the seasonings…you might change the flavor profile a little bit but if it’s good, who cares! Just use what you have, what you can find at the store, and what you like so you come up with a healthy dish of food that you actually want to eat.
The only exception is certain oils…I am a stickler for cooking with oils that are minimally processed, natural, organic, and non-GMO. Not all oils are appropriate for cooking with at all temperatures either so if you can’t find coconut oil, make sure you substitute with another natural oil that is meant for medium-to-high temperatures.
1. Preheat your pan and heat your coconut oil as you season your chicken with the gomasio or salt and black pepper. Start cooking your rice if you don’t have it precooked…but I highly suggest precooking it. Sauté the chicken over medium-to-high heat until it turns golden and is cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. Add your mushrooms to the pan and cook until they start to brown. If the bottom gets sticky add a splash of broth to keep things from burning.
3. Add your onions, garlic, and scallions. Sauté together until onions are translucent.
4. Add the rest of the veggies, the tamari and the wine. Reduce to half and make sure the alcohol is cooked off (you can usually tell this by smell).
5. Add the broth and again reduce to half. Reduce your flame to low, add your rice and cooked chicken (thinly sliced), cover, and let simmer for about 2 minutes.
6. Mix it up and serve in bowls.
Enjoy your mix mosh! I’m sure the kids will love it too.