Gluten-Free Grains: Sorghum

It’s been a while since I focused on a gluten-free grain, and I need to remedy that. Particularly since I’ve been enjoying so many great ones lately. And since sorghum is a grain that Americans don’t eat that often, I thought it was time to introduce it here.

I bought a bag of sorghum at my local 99 Ranch Market (a great resource for Asian ingredients), and, typically, put it in the pantry for, well, about a year. I simply didn’t know what I wanted to do with it. Then, as I was looking on the shelves for a grain to prepare for a week’s meals, I spotted the sorghum. Continue reading “Gluten-Free Grains: Sorghum”

Filipino Garlic Fried Rice with Vinegar Sauce (Sinangag-Style)

First off, this is not an authentic Sinangag. When I discovered this fried rice dish, I also discovered that every household in the Philippines has its own spin on the traditional breakfast dish. Some use garlic and rice only. Some add soy sauce.

Many serve the vinegar sauce on the side only. As I played with variations on the recipe, I felt the rice needed a bit liquid while stir frying. I hit upon this approach after misreading a recipe in Saveur (http://www.saveur.com/article/recipes/filipino-garlic-fried-rice-with-vinegar-sauce-sinangag). Adding the sauce to the stir fried rice mellows the vinegar and garlic a bit, while incorporating heat from the red chile flakes.

If you prefer, omit the sauce while stir frying. You’ll still need a good amount of garlic, remembering to reserve some for a crunch topping. It will be delicious either way.

Risotto Milanese

Our first meal in Milan was this delicious, beautiful rice dish. While it is technically a first course or served with Osso Bucco, my husband and I devoured a huge serving of Risotto Milanese and declared ourselves happy. I will confess to eating this dish a, um, few more times over the next week.

And, of course, making it the moment we got home. Risotto is a perfect gluten-free dish — elegant and delicious.

Risotto has a reputation for being challenging and time-consuming. This is only sort of true. Yes, you need to keep on eye on the pan while the rice is absorbing liquid, but this generally happens in about thirty to forty minutes. Constant stirring is important, but you can also find time to do other tasks, including drinking a glass of wine!

Chicken Adobo

This classic Filipino dish is also a classic chicken dish: chicken, vinegar, rice (and a few other things). A friend who detests vinegar makes an exception for chicken adobo — it reminds him of home.

Traditionally, this recipe is made with bone-in chicken, but I will confess that I’ve used boneless chicken breasts or thighs. This has the effect of making the sauce less rich — the effect of cutting the bone-in chicken into smaller pieces is the release of marrow, the stuff that makes this dish more delicious.

The large amount of vinegar in this recipe creates a tangy sauce. Adjust as necessary (remembering that it’s the vinegar that makes this adobo!) or substitute a mellower vinegar for the white vinegar. Cooking reduces the harsh edges of vinegar, just leaving the tanginess.

Sushi Rice

I’ll admit it: I don’t have the patience to make sushi at home (though I hold out high hopes that someday I will!). I do love serving sushi rice — a slightly sweetened rice — with certain meals, particularly seared albacore.

Making the rice is amazingly simple; it’s even easier if you have a rice cooker that does the bulk of the work for you. The recipe below assumes you’re cooking your rice on the stovetop, so if you do use a rice cooker, follow the directions for your machine (some have a sushi rice setting, which is really nice).

One key thing to remember before cooking your rice is to wash it several times to remove the outer starches — I generally cover the rice in a bowl with water, swish a bit, then drain using a fine mesh strainer. You will notice the water is very cloudy the first couple of rinses, but will get clearer as the starches are removed.

Chicken Fried Rice

Fried rice is one of my favorite go-to dishes during the week because I always have leftover rice in the refrigerator — I make a big batch every week because it’s great for lunches and dinners. Taking a few minutes to mix up a sauce, shred some chicken, pull out some veggies, and, if I have one handy, crack an egg makes ordinary rice more interesting.

The recipe below assumes you’re working with pre-cooked chicken and frozen vegetables. If you choose to cook your chicken, make sure it’s cut into very small bite-sized pieces. Saute the chicken until nearly cooked through and set aside. Do the same for the vegetables.

Fish sauce is a key ingredient here. It adds flavor that soy sauce alone can’t create. Also, this is a lightly sauced fried rice because the fish sauce adds to much flavor. If you like more sauce, add at the end to make sure your flavors are balanced.