Recently I’ve been watching videos of this chef organizing her food into bento boxes and have been finding the videos very calming to watch. I’m kind of like those people who enjoy watching Youtube videos of Koreans eating, though that part I’m not into. One thing I’ve noticed about the bento boxes it that they always contain majority vegetables, something acidic, a very small portion of protein (about the size of the palm of your hand), some gluten-free grains, and something probiotic. I was inspired by the bento boxes when I came up with this recipe: Asian chicken meatballs with broccolini, maitake mushrooms, brown rice, and microgreens with lime. I bought a premade dressing for the microgreens consisting of a variety of probiotics (pickle brine, sauerkraut brine, etc), but you could also add pickled vegetables or kimchi to the meal to include your probiotic component. Though this meal takes about 45 minutes to cook, it is a fairly easy recipe even for beginner cooks, and most of these ingredients should be staples in your pantry.
For the Sauce:
-1/2 cup Teriyaki sauce or hoisin
-1/2 cup tamari or soy sauce
-1 tsp. or more of sriracha depending on how hot you like it
-1 tbsp. honey
For the Meatballs:
-1lb. organic ground chicken
-1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
-3 scallions, sliced thinly and white bottoms separated from green tops
-1 tbsp. minced fresh ginger or ginger powder
-3 minced garlic cloves or 2 tbsp. garlic powder
-salt and pepper
For the Rice:
-1 cup brown rice
-2 cups water
-2 pinches salt
-1 tbsp. ghee, or preferred fat (oil, butter)
-1 lime + zest
For the Salad:
Note- Allow the rice to soak overnight or for some time before cooking (I soaked my rice this time for 40 minutes). This will reduce cook time, release nutritional enzymes, and make the rice more digestible.
- Fill a medium-sized pot with water, rice, fat, and salt. Bring the water to boil then cover and reduce heat to simmer for 45 minutes. Remove from heat leaving the lid on. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Add lime zest and fluff rice with a fork.
- Wash and prep your vegetables while the rice cooks. In a small bowl, make the sauce. Zest the lime in a small bowl using a microplane then quarter the lime and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the ground chicken, egg, breadcrumbs, white bottoms of the scallions, garlic, ginger, half of the sauce, and the salt and pepper. Allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes so it’ll be easier to form the meatballs.
- While the meatballs rest, heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Add some oil (sesame oil preferred), then add the garlic, ginger, and white bottoms of the scallions (the aromatics). Lightly salt and pepper and stir frequently, 30 seconds or until fragrant. Remove and add to the bowl of meatball mix. Wipe the pan.
- Reheat the pan to medium-hot and add enough oil to evenly coat the bottom of the pan. Add the broccolini and mushrooms and toast in the oil. Let cook without touching while you make the meatballs. Mix the aromatics together with the meatball mix and roll in your hands to form small balls. Place on a plate.
- Flip the broccolini and mushrooms and brown the other sides. Get two large bowls ready so you can divide the vegetables between the bowls when they’ve finished browning. Wipe out the pan.
- Reheat the pan over medium-high heat and add enough oil to form a thin layer on the bottom of the pan. Add the meatballs, cooking 4-6 minutes per side. You’ll know when the meatball is ready to turn when it’s no longer sticking to the pan. Once cooked, add 1/4 cup water and the remaining sauce to the pan. Toss the meatballs in the sauce to evenly coat and scrape up any remaining fond in the pan. When the sauce has reduced, remove from the heat.
- In the bowls containing the vegetables, add brown rice, the salad, lime, and the meatballs. Dress the salad with the lime, garnish with the green tops of the scallions, and sprinkle sesame seeds. Enjoy!