BROWN RICE, WILD MUSHROOMS AND HAZELNUT
Serves 4 (plus leftovers)
For me, working full time but wanting to remain as healthy and focused as I can all comes down to the way I nourish my body through food. Food is my main source of joy, in every sense of the word. However, I can’t be my happiest unless I am feeling my healthiest. That’s why I love this simple dish of brown rice, wild mushrooms and hazelnuts. I guess a perk of being a chef is being able to “throw together” meals that just happen to turn out. That’s how this one came about. It’s balanced - including greens, seeds, nuts and whole grains. It’s easy to make, it’s inexpensive and it really is quick once you’ve made it once or twice! My favourite thing however, is how easy it is to share. My friends and family often think I’m crazy for being so “healthy” and vegan all the time. I love feeding them meals like this to show them how tasty healthy food can be!
50g black sesame
2 cups brown rice
2 cups red quinoa
½ bunch thyme, picked
400g tin of chickpeas, drained
4 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp ground cumin
2 cloves garlic
150ml lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
150ml olive oil (and extra for cooking)
200g enoki mushrooms
200g button mushrooms
200g oyster mushrooms
1 bunch of kale, stems removed and cut chiffonade
salt and pepper
Snow pea tendrils and red vein sorrel, optional for garnish
Start by dry roasting the black sesame and hazelnuts at 160 degree for about 6 minutes. Roast them on separate trays. (To remove the husks from the hazelnuts, place them all in a clean tea towel, bunch up the top to make a little basket and rub all the hazelnuts against each other. The friction will make the husks come off! If they’re not coming off they haven’t been roasted quite long enough.)
While the nuts are roasting, boil your rice and quinoa in separate pots. A rice cooker is the fool proof plan for the brown rice and my go-to for quinoa is nine minutes in boiling water and then strained.
To make the hazelnut crumb, blitz the roasted hazelnuts and the picked thyme in a food processor until powdered but chunky. Remove from the food processor and stir through the black sesame, and salt and pepper to taste. This crumb will store air-tight in the cupboard for weeks and makes a great topper for salads and pasta if you wanted to make extra or don’t use it all up!
For the hummus, in a food processor place the drained chickpeas, tahini, ground cumin, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper. Blitz on high until a smooth consistency is achieved.
Adjust the seasoning to taste.
For the brown rice, quinoa and wild mushrooms, gently tear up the oyster and enoki mushrooms and cut the button mushrooms into quarters. Heat up a large pan to medium/high heat with some olive oil. Once the pan is nice and hot, throw in the mushrooms, some salt and some pepper. Saute these until they are golden. (Mushrooms throw out a lot of water, so try not to stir them when you first put them in will allow more colour to occur.) Once golden, remove the mushrooms and sit them aside.
Re-heat the pan again with olive oil and throw in the kale. The kale should pop and sizzle when it hits the pan. Next in is the rice and quinoa you cooked earlier. Season again with salt and pepper and mix it around until its evenly distributed and coated lightly in oil.
I like to plate this one up individually. To serve , cover the bottom of a bowl with a thin layer of hummus, followed by generous serve of the rice and kale mixture. I then place the wild mushrooms on top followed by a snow pea tendrils, lightly dressed in olive oil. Then a nice helping of the hazelnut crumb and some red vein sorrel to garnish.
This dish can also be served as a share meal by serving all the components in the middle of the table for guests or family to help them selves
Sarah is a chef currently working at wholefoods cafe Belle Central in Ballina. You can follow her on Instagram @bulbfields