Friday, March 13, 2015

Lemon Chicken Teriyaki Rice Bowl

Last Year's Post: Sausage Rolls with Mustard Cheese Dipping Sauce
Two Years Ago:  Hibachi Shrimp, Chicken or Beef

Chinese takeout has the benefits of being fast, easy and good-tasting.  It also has the downsides of fat, calories, high sodium and potential additives such as MSG.  Making your own takeout has the benefit of being healthy at the same time as delicious, and you can control exactly what does or doesn't go into it.

This recipe tastes much like a popular dish from a chain restaurant, but it uses lower-sodium soy sauce, high-fiber brown rice, a light hand with the sauce and lots of veggies to amp up the healthy quotient.  Starting from scratch it takes a little under an hour to prepare, mostly because brown rice needs to cook for 45 minutes.  If you're going to be pressed for time, cook the rice in advance and just reheat it - then it will take 15-20 minutes to prepare the remaining ingredients.

As always, feel free to substitute any vegetable or combination of vegetables that you like for the broccolini - green beans, asparagus, carrots, edamame, pea pods or kale would all work well and add good nutrition.  Just throw them in boiling water briefly until crisp-tender (well, edamame never get crisp-tender but you get the idea).


Another secret is to use chicken cutlets instead of chicken breasts in this or any other recipe that calls for them.  Like everything else, chickens have grown in size to the point that it's very difficult to find anything other than very large chicken breasts which are too big for a reasonable individual serving.  Cutting them in half horizontally to make two thinner chicken cutlets does several good things - it cuts the calories in half, it shortens cooking time, and it stretches your shopping dollar.  Best of all, no one will know and they'll still be completely satisfied.  I used one chicken breast and cut it in half to serve two people; you can't tell from the pictures or the serving size, can you?  P.S. Chicken cutlets can be purchased at the store, but they're more expensive per pound than chicken breasts.  Buy the chicken breasts and cut them yourself.

Lemon Chicken Teriyaki Rice Bowl
Serves 4

1 cup brown rice, uncooked
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
½ teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
4 teaspoons mirin (sweet rice wine)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
12 ounces broccolini, cut into 2” pieces
4 lemon wedges, for garnish
Toasted sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
Extra soy sauce

Preheat the oven to 400d.

Cook the brown rice according to package directions.  While the rice is cooking, prepare the sauce and cook the chicken and broccolini.  To prepare the sauce, combine the soy sauce and cornstarch in a small saucepan, stirring with a whisk.  Add the dark brown sugar, mirin and lemon juice; bring to a boil.  Cook 1 minute or until thickened.  Set aside.

Cut each chicken breast into two thin cutlets to make four total.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Heat a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat, then add the canola oil to the pan and swirl to coat.  Add the chicken to the pan and cook 4 minutes, until golden on the bottom.  Flip the chicken and drizzle 1 tablespoon of the sauce mixture on top.  Place the pan in the oven and bake for 4-5 minutes until done.  Place the chicken on a cutting board and let stand 5 minutes.  Cut chicken into slices.

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil; add the broccolini and cook for 3 minutes.  Drain.

To assemble, divide the rice between four bowls, top with the broccolini and chicken pieces.  Drizzle with the remaining sauce.  Garnish with lemon wedges and toasted sesame seeds.

Serve, passing soy sauce on the side for those who might want extra.

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