This week’s Food Matters Project host is Small Kitchen College, who chose Crisp Rice Cakes with Stir-Fried Vegetables and Chicken. I had short-grain brown rice pre-cooked in the freezer so I planned on using that up. Unfortunately, it did not work as planned at all — the defrosted rice didn’t stick together anymore. Back to the drawing board! I made the rice again from scratch, which only takes 45 minutes or so.
But the extra effort was certainly worth it! These crispy rice cakes make a yummy base for stir-fry and add more interest than plain brown rice. I stirred a handful of fresh chopped cilantro into the rice when it finished cooking, so mine became cilantro rice cakes.
Cilantro rice cakes, adapted from The Food Matters Cookbook
1 cup brown rice
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup cilantro, washed and chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Bring the water to a boil, then add the rice, lower the heat and cover. Cook them until the grains get very soft and burst, adding water as needed. At the end of their cooking time, stir in the chopped cilantro. Give the rice a vigorous stir and you’ll start to tell when it’s all sticking together that it’s ready to be shaped into cakes.
Fledgling tip: Shape the rice cakes easily by pressing the cilantro rice into a quarter cup measure and tapping the bottom of it so they fall out in the right shape. Heat the vegetable oil over medium heat and cook them in batches. Fry them for just a few minutes on each side, until golden brown.
For the stir fry, I used carrots, red and green peppers, hot peppers, onion and broccoli. I cooked them in vegetable oil and garlic until they were cooked down slightly but still crispy, then added some leftover cooked chicken. For the sauce, I used a teaspoon of hoisin and a tablespoon or so of soy sauce, plus a bit of water. It just needed a minute or two of stirring after the sauce was added to coat everything evenly — the whole thing was done in about 10 minutes since I had pre-chopped the vegetables.