How to create a great bowl-based recipe
‘This autumn bowl is a collection of everything I want to eat at the moment,’ says Anna Jones. Photograph: Issy Croker for the Guardian
This week, I’ve been eating comforting stews and soups, out of deep, thick-rimmed bowls that are warm in the hand and satisfying to hold. There is something inviting about autumn and winter, its lengthened darkness, which makes eating feel cosier. A dinner curled up on the sofa feels just right.
Bowl food seems to be everywhere at the moment – more and more restaurants are serving dishes this way and the wellness blogs are full of them – and it’s easy to dismiss them as faddy. It’s a bit simplistic to refer to bowl food as a recipe, but it is a way of eating that’s different, and I love how gentle and nurturing it feels. A reminder, perhaps, of childhood meals spooned from a bowl – but it’s also unfussy, quick and adaptable. It requires food that’s sufficiently soft to tackle without a knife. Bowl food, as I see it, is a meal that’s built around a subtly flavoured grain or pulse. Food that is simultaneously soothing, bolstering, undemanding and sustaining. And it’s easy to tweak favourite combinations as the seasons change.
What really makes a good bowl is a killer dressing – and you should think about the texture of what you are going to eat. Start with one flavourful thing to build the bowl around – it might be a brilliant guacamole, some pickled seaweed, a spoon or two of harissa-spiked hummus. It’s important to give a little love and attention to each ingredient, be it kale, tomatoes or cucumber: remembering to season and dress each element will make every mouthful better.
I’ve built these bowls around a grain – rice and quinoa – but a gently warmed chickpea, some noodles or a slice of bread would work just as well. Both bowls are topped with an egg, as it’s a cheap, readily available protein (and I love to pop the yellow yolks). Some fried tofu or tempeh would balance things out nicely, too.
Turmeric and pickle bowl
I love the subtle curry tones of shiso leaves, which are available in most Asian supermarkets, but if you can’t get them, coriander – though a different flavour – will also work well.
If you have a jar of sauerkraut in your fridge, for a super-quick fix you can use this in place of the quick pickled cabbage. Photograph: Issy Croker for the Guardian
½ small white cabbage
Sea salt and black pepper
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp honey
1 tsp coriander seeds
A pinch of caraway seeds
1cm block of ginger, peeled
1 green chilli, sliced finely
200g quinoa (ie a mugful)
½ tsp turmeric
1 lemon, cut in half
1 ripe avocado, sliced
2 tbsp black sesame seeds, plus more for sprinkling
A handful of shiso or coriander leaves
1 Finely shred the white cabbage, then put it into a bowl with a good pinch of sea salt, the vinegar, honey, coriander and caraway seeds. Finely grate in the ginger. Add the green chilli. Scrunch it all together with your hands in the bowl to get the pickling process happening.
2 I like to start by dry-toasting my quinoa in the saucepan until it starts to make a popping sound – this adds a deeper, toasty flavour to the dish. Add the water, a good pinch of sea salt, the turmeric and the lemon halves, and cook for about 10-15 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed and the little curly grain has popped out. I keep the pan on the heat until I can just hear the popping sound again, to make sure that all the water has gone. Drain any excess water, then squeeze the lemon juice into the pan, reserving a little, then add a little olive oil, more salt, if needed, and a little twist of black pepper.
3 Meanwhile, boil your eggs for 6 minutes. Drain and run under cold water until they are cool. (If you are planning on making the soy marbled eggs in the panel, now is the time to do it.)
4 Chop the avocado into slices and squeeze over a little lemon juice. Once the eggs are cool enough to handle, peel them, then roll them in the sesame seeds and cut in half – your yolks should be just set, but still soft.
5 Put your quinoa into a bowl, top with the pickled cabbage, avocado, egg, herbs and some more sesame seeds.
A collection of everything I want to eat at the moment. I’m working on a fermented version of this chilli sauce, which I’ll share soon, but this is an instant version that is no less satisfying. There’s more than you need in this recipe, but it will keep in the fridge for a week or so.
150g brown rice (about a mugful)
Salt and black pepper
1 tsp coconut oil
A head of spring greens
Butter, for frying
A lemon, juiced and zested
A small bunch of basil, leaves picked
For the sauce
6 fresh red chillies
A pinch of sea salt
2 jarred roasted red peppers
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp honey
2 tsp light olive oil
Recipes for ricotta and romesco sandwiches and amazing veggie burgers
1 Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. First, cook your brown rice – put it into a saucepan with twice its volume of cold water, a good pinch of salt and the coconut oil. Turn the heat on to high and boil for 20–25 minutes. Keep an eye on the rice, making sure it doesn’t boil dry. You can add a bit more boiling water, if needed.
2 Cut your head of spring greens into wedges and toss them in a little olive oil. Season the greens with salt and pepper, then put into the oven to roast for around 25 minutes.
3 Meanwhile, make your chilli sauce. If you like things hot then keep your seeds in, otherwise, de-seed the chillies. Put the chillies and salt into a pestle and mortar or a blender and bash or blitz until you have a coarsely textured paste. Add the other ingredients and mix well.
4 Saute the mushrooms in a hot pan with a little butter until they are starting to crisp and caramelise on the edges. Once they are cooked perfectly, season with salt and pepper, squeeze in the juice of half the lemon and keep warm.
5 Fry your eggs to your liking, dress the rice with the zest and juice from the other half of the lemon, and a little olive oil. Add salt and pepper and pile all the elements into the bowl in the order you prefer – I like to keep things separate so I can make up each forkful as I choose.Read the full article here