A few years ago I was on a mission to find the perfect wok. I had sworn off non-stick cookware, and the carbon steel wok I had gotten to replace my non-stick wok was just too flimsy to be of any use. It didn’t hold heat well, and it felt like it was going to crumple with the slightest bang. I wanted a cast iron wok, which was near impossible to find locally back then.
During our vacation to Cape Cod that summer, we visited Snow’s, a charming local home and garden store in Orleans, Ma. While my husband was checking out the model train display with the kids, I wandered through the cookware section, where I found this snuggled in among the cast iron skillets. It was love at first sight. I ran through the store holding the 14 pound wok lovingly in my arms hollering “I found one! I found one!” to my bemused family and confused fellow shoppers.
From that day on my cast iron wok has been my favorite cooking tool and constant kitchen companion. I use it for not only stir-fries, but also to steam and saute veggies, prepare toppings for pasta, and for dishes like last night’s Kitchen Sink Rice. I make a version of Kitchen Sink Rice at least once a month, when I reach the end of the week and need to use up assorted odds and ends in the fridge. It is rarely the same twice, though the family does like it best if it contains seitan sausage of some sort, and I try to make sure there’s a good range of colors to make it visually appealing. My husband describes it as a “Western Fried Rice,” which I guess is a fair assessment. I had planned to serve this on a bed of kale, but then I ran out of gas and opted for the easier to prepare steamed broccoli and carrots with lemon juice and persian lime olive oil.
Kitchen Sink Rice
serves an army
- 2 cups brown basmati rice (or any other whole grain rice. Heck, you could quinoa, too)
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic
- 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 2 pints grape tomato
- 2 cups diced seitan sausage
- 2 cups chickpeas, drained
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1 cup veggie broth
- 1 tsp tomato paste
- 3-4 big handfuls of baby spinach
- 2 tbs soy sauce
- sea salt and pepper
- Ahead of time, cook the rice in the 4 cups of broth. It is best if it is cooled to room temperature or even chilled in the fridge.
- Heat a large wok over medium heat. Add oil, and then onions. Cook onions, stirring constantly, until soft and starting to brown. Add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add shiitake mushrooms, and continue to cook, stirring for 2 minutes (or until mushrooms start to soften). Add thyme, chickpeas and seitan, and cook for another 5 minutes or so, stirring frequently.
- Add grape tomatoes and wine to pan, and cook, stirring frequently, until tomatoes start to burst. This will take several minutes. Add broth, tomato paste, and spinach. When spinach has wilted, add rice and soy sauce, stirring well to mix. Cook until heated through. Salt and pepper to taste.