As I mentioned in my newsletter yesterday, this weekend was a far cry from the detox I was envisioning when I touched down back in New York after 4 days of eating Airheads, gluten-free chocolate chip pancakes, and mystery meat tacos at Camp No Counselors. So as an antidote, I’m featuring some more of the healthy pantry recipes I created for The Vitamin Shoppe on the blog this week, including this vegetable-packed black rice recipe—a fiber-rich take on my favorite Chinese takeout dish.
Fried rice was one of the few ethnic dishes I did not inhale this weekend. For his 30th birthday, my friend Ed organized a dumpling tour of Flushing, Queens. For anyone who has yet to trek the hour and a half on the subway, picture Shanghai with slightly less smog. Ed lived in China for a year after college, so this was a deeply fun and nostalgic homecoming. He also got to showcase the insatiable appetite for small doughy pouches of pork and chives that he lovingly honed overseas.
While ordinary an outer borough food crawl would be my ideal birthday excursion, Chinese food does pose many problems for glutards. I kept myself entertained with plates of spicy cucumbers at Xian Foods and after a little MSG had gone to my head, I got a little risqué and even ate some of the fillings out of the dumpling wrappers. The crab soup dumplings at Nan Xiang Dumpling House, our fourth stop, were my favorite.
My gluten-free highlight was a weird rice roll I scavenged at the New World Mall food court. It was basically a massive ball of rice that they rolled out and stuffed seafood, veggies, and a tea-smoked egg in the middle of. Once it was repacked the end result kind of resembled a sushi burrito, and I embraced a similar technique for eating it.
With all the Szechuan peppercorns and hand pulled noodles, there was little time for pedestrian American favorites like fried rice. We stood out enough as dumb tourists in Flushing as is. But authentic or not, it still remains one of my favorite Chinese dishes. And in addition to being gluten-free friendly if you ask for no soy sauce, it’s also something that’s fairly easy to healthify at home.
I love starting with a more fiber-rich grain, like I did with this quinoa fried rice. I’ve made it with brown rice many times, but this time I wanted to experiment with brown’s even more nutritious cousin, black rice.
Because of its dark color, black rice contains a lot of the same antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that you’ll find in other vibrant foods like blueberries. If you “fry” it in coconut oil (I like this brand), season it with gluten-free essential liquid amino acids, and top it with hemp seeds, you have a dish jam-packed with nutrients—a far cry from what I might have sourced in a takeout container from the Flushing food courts.
I hope you all had an eventful weekend of eating. I’ll end my sign-off with this epic pic of the dumpling king and his disciples. On our way out of the park we noticed a sign that read: “no adults except in the company of a child.” Oops.
Black Fried Rice with Snap Peas and Scallions
- 2 tablespoons Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
- 2 medium carrots diced
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- 1 bunch scallions white and green parts separated, thinly sliced
- 1 cup thinly sliced snap peas
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 3 cups cooked black rice from 1 cup uncooked
- 3 tablespoons Liquid Aminos
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon sriracha
- 2 eggs beaten
- 1 tablespoon Organic Shelled Hemp Seed
- In a large wok or nonstick skillet heat the coconut oil. Sauté the carrot, onion, and white scallion over high heat until soft and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the snap peas, garlic, ginger, and green scallions and stir-fry until fragrant, another 2 minutes. Fold in the rice and stir-fry until well-coated in the vegetable mixture and beginning to toast, 2 minutes. Add the liquid aminos, sesame oil, and sriracha and stir to combine.
- Push the rice to the side of the pan to create a well. Pour the eggs into the center and cook, stirring gently, until nearly set. Toss the fried rice with the eggs and hemp seeds. Transfer the fried rice to bowls and serve right away.