Chinese Food Addiction & Foolproof Brown Rice

I have a serious Chinese food addiction.  If I am too tired to cook and there aren’t enough leftovers for two, I will almost always suggest Chinese food.  It’s almost a shame how predictable I am.  This recipe was born of simple desperation.  The first time I made it, the hubs was out doing grad school stuff.  I had already started feeding the kid before I realized I didn’t have anything already ready to eat.  The kid was really little at the time and I was too tired to pack him up to go pick up Chinese and I didn’t have any cash on me so… no delivery.  I had Japanese eggplant in the house and that’s about it.  So, I figured I’d try and make my favorite Chinese food dish. If it didn’t work… no harm, no foul. No one had to know but me. BTW: This also works with any other kind of eggplant, just cut in pieces about 1.5″ x 1.5″ and if you are so inclined, peel the eggplant.

The rice is another story. I have searched the internet for directions on how to cook brown rice. I’ve tried just about every method I’ve seen. The rice has almost always been either underdone and crunchy or overdone and mushy. As it turns out, my dad’s foolproof method for making white rice works wonders on brown rice as long as you the change the rice:water ratio to work with brown rice.

Eggplant in Garlic Sauce w/ Foolproof Brown Rice

Brown Rice:
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp salt
2 cups brown rice
4-1/2 cups water

Heat 1-quart sauce pan over medium heat. When water droplets curl into a ball and skate over the surface of the pan, add the oil and the rice.  Toss the rice in the oil to coat.  Add the salt.  Add the water.  Let the water come to a boil. Let it keep boiling until the top of the water is about 1/8″ below the rice layer. Stir the rice once and put the cover on the pan. Turn off the heat under the rice and let it sit for at least 15 minutes.

2 tbsp olive oil
2 pounds Japanese eggplant (slice in half and cut in half moons)
3 large cloves garlic, minced or grated fine
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tbsp chinese five spice powder
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp sweet chili sauce
1 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste

In a medium hot skillet, add olive oil, eggplant, garlic, hoisin sauce, chinese five spice powder, soy sauce, black pepper, sweet chili sauce, and red pepper flakes. Move the eggplant around the pan until it is coated with hoisin sauce. After about 5-8 minutes or when the eggplant looks like it’s starting to wilt, cover the pan and turn the heat down to low. It will be ready when the rice is ready.

  • Cass says:

    OR, you can buy Trader Joe’s frozen organic brown rice. 3 mins in the nuker and voila, great brown rice. LOL

    The funny thing is, my Mom is a phenomenal cook. She raised 3 daughters who were all domestically challenged when we left the nest, because she always kicked us out of the kitchen saying we were in her way. My sisters are great cooks now because they have families. I am single and very lazy. I can cook, but don’t enjoy it. And if I see a recipe with more than 5 ingredients and 4 steps, I pass on it. But I must say that you are truly inspiring me. You have much less time on your hands than I do, what with taking care of 2 kids. LOL So, I’m promising myself to cook at least one REAL meal every week that requires chopping something and simmering something else. 😉 Keep the inspiration coming!

    • Monique says:

      Thanks, Cass. I’ve found that some of my long term favorites were made with little real effort or time. So, one meal a week is a great way to get started. When you have some time, I highly recommend giving one of the multi-step recipes a chance. The great thing about cooking when you’re single is that there is no one to witness the recipes that don’t work. And chances are, you picked up some things from your mom’s cooking that you didn’t realize. I know a lot of my cooking is influenced by my dad and the way his food tastes. Since I’m usually experimenting, the rule in our house is: If it didn’t work, there’s always pizza (or Chinese food). So, don’t worry about not being on your mom’s level. I don’t think I’ll ever be on my dad’s.

  • Debra says:

    So honestly I am a little jealous of the Chineese store because it is Andre’s absolute favorite when i dont cook. I be feeling like come on dont you want pizza or buffalo wings especially when i feel like the only thing you should keep running back to is me! LOL But anyway I think to make my own rendition just may be like Take That Chineese Store LMAO All the years that I have been cooking I never could get rice… Andre just within the last 3 or 4 years helped me get fluffy with it but BROWN RICE i stopped buying because i thought this crap just must be nasty by nature so I am going to attempt your system to see if I will allow it back in my home. Thank you for giving me something to look forward to in my work day.

    • Monique says:

      Deb, you’re too funny! I can definitely see you giving the Chinese takeout man a run for his money. I used to have the same problem with brown rice. I completely gave up on it and said it was just too much fuss and had a Sam I Am relationship with it (“I do not like it in this. I do not like it in that… “) I couldn’t figure out how it tasted like a completely different entity when I cooked it vs any restaurant I visited. Now, I make it all the time and generally have some in the fridge as an easy backup. And thanks for the support Deb!

  • Cass says:

    Great rule! Keep up the good work. 🙂

  • Omoro says:

    I just caught that Cass called me a kid! haha

Leave a Comment