Every New Year, a lot of us resolve to lose weight. And every year, a lot of us fail. The problem? We go from eating too much food, much of it unhealthy, to eating very little of anything. But after starving ourselves for a while, many of us return to our old habits and regain the weight.
This recipe for a Korean Grain Bowl is built on healthy, filling ingredients — whole grains and vegetable protein — and some good fat. It's a middle ground between empty calories and self-starvation. In Korea, this traditional rice dish is called bibimbap. Usually it consists of white rice topped with meat, vegetables, a raw or cooked egg, a soy-based sauce and some chili paste — all of it tossed together right before eating. My version swaps in a few healthier ingredients and increases the amount of veggies.
Instead of white rice, use your favorite whole grain, such as brown rice, wheat berries or quinoa. Instead of meat, use tofu, a protein-rich bean curd that can be prepared to feature a satisfyingly "meaty" texture. Start with firm tofu, cut it into planks 1/3-inch thick, and weigh it down between paper towels for 20 minutes to remove excess moisture.
Miso sesame sauce, an all-purpose sauce for many items such as sauteed fish and raw vegetables, makes this dish even more substantial. I encourage you to prepare your own, but if you don't have time, just drizzle your bowl with low-sodium soy sauce.
The vegetables specified here — carrots, shiitakes and spinach — could be replaced with vegetables of your choice. Just be sure to pick from different-colored vegetable groups, which will deliver both nutritional and visual benefits.
But whatever else you might swap out or lose, don't abandon the lightly fried egg. Breaking the yolk and tossing it with the other ingredients adds a creamy coating to the grains. It's the perfect finishing touch.