Tuesday, August 26, 2008

August 26th Bento & Rice Cooker Chicken Curry Rice Recipe

My computer caught a trojan virus last week. The trojan was then kind enough to download a bunch of other viruses to the point that my computer was unusable for about a week. But, now here we are about twenty virus scans and two hard drive reformats later and I am back up and running! So all's well that ends well. Mostly anyway. I lost all of my iTunes purchased songs, so I emailed Apple to see if they can let me download them again. *crosses fingers*

In other news, I am in love. Now I know that's a pretty strong word to use in reference to a rice cooker, but I mean it for realsies, no exaggeration. I picked up this rice cooker from The Shopping Channel (since Amazon.com won't ship appliances to Canada), and it finally arrived on Sunday. I used it for the first time last night and it's amazingly better than my four year old $30 Wal-Mart rice cooker I had been using up to this point.

To break it in, I made chicken curry rice (recipe below) for last night's supper (and there was enough left over for today's bento lunch). I used the keep warm function for three hours last night and put the rice back in the cooker to reheat this morning and even after all that, it didn't burn a single grain of rice. My old rice cooker always had a layer of burnt rice at the bottom, and I always felt wasteful throwing it out. Problem solved!

It has all kinds of features, like different settings for all different kinds of rice (brown rice, sweet rice, sushi rice, etc.) and delayed start so that you can set it the night before and have fresh rice in the morning when you get up to make bento. I shopped around a lot before picking this one up, and it seems to me that this particular model (Sanyo ECJ-D55S) is the best value out there if you don't want to fork out the price of a Zojirushi.

Also, just to explain something I found confusing. It's advertised as a 5.5 cup rice cooker. I thought that meant it had a 5.5 cup capacity, but its actually much larger. The 5.5 cup measurement is how much uncooked rice you can put in it, not how much cooked rice it can hold.

I definitely recommend this rice cooker to anyone in the market for a higher end computerized rice cooker. It's fabulous! (I'm not affiliated, by the way)

Ok! On to today's bento! It was slim pickin's in the fridge today because I was away all weekend and didn't get a chance to get groceries (I played outside a ton this weekend. If you ever have a chance to do Tree-Go, do it!!!).
On the left is chicken curry rice with onions, dates and tomato and an apple heart on top (I love apple with curry). On the right there are four pork shumai that have been steamed and then pan fried, pressing down with a spatula after every flip. There's a little cup of Asian cucumber pickles (flavoured with shiso and sesame rather than dill) on the bottom, and a boiled quail egg at the top. For veggies there is some steamed cauliflower sitting on top of carrot slices, broccoli, sugar snaps and green zucchini. For fruit there are tomato wedges, blueberries and watermelon slices. I prefer personal sized watermelons for bento because the rind is much thinner.

Here is the recipe for the curry rice. Note that this recipe makes a lot (around 4 to 5 cups), so you may want to scale it back if you're just making it for bento.

Recipe: Chicken Curry Rice made in a rice cooker


2 cups short grain white rice
2.5 cups water
1 large chicken breast or two small chicken breasts, cut into very small pieces (uncooked)
2 cloves garlic
1/4 inch section of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 shallot, peeled and roughly chopped
Red chili flakes to taste (two pinches is medium spicy)
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 tsp salt
1 white onion, sliced
1 tomato, cut into wedges
1/4 cup dates, chopped
1 small can coconut milk (5.6oz/165ml)
2 Tbsp honey

Combine yogurt, honey, curry powder, shallot, garlic, ginger, chili flakes and salt in a blender and blend until smooth.

Place curry mixture along with all of the other ingredients into the rice cooker and stir well. Let the rice cooker do its thing (Use 'mixed rice' setting if available on your rice cooker). Stir before serving.



Deb said...

Hi Jacki, Your Chicken Curry recipe looks delicious, however, I don't have a rice cooker. Do you think this recipe would turn out using my microwave on the "cook rice" setting? It does a very good job on plain rice.


Jacki said...

Hi Deb,

I think it would do better in a pot on the stove than in a microwave, just based on my experience that chicken and tomatoes don't turn out well in the microwave. Also, I'm not sure the cooking time would be long enough to soften the onion.

If you want to make use the microwave, I would suggest cooking the rice on it's own in the microwave and cooking the rest of the ingredients on the stove (add the dates and tomatoes about two minutes before removing from heat). Then just mix everything together.