Rice bowls for dinner inspired by TikTok
I’ve always done a huge eye roll when it comes to TikTok. I just hear the dialogue coming from my children’s phones and want to put my head in the oven. But I did love the hilarity they used to get from the dances. Recently, there has been less of the high-drama Reddit stories and more genuinely useful information. Gardening tips, puppy-training videos, cleaning hacks, storage solutions … we have actually used a lot of it and, as much as I hate to admit it, have been better for it.
On our recent escape to London, we wound up in Borough Market, hunting down the most incredible English strawberries (healthy!) run under a tap of melting chocolate (um, not healthy, but amazing), all thanks to a viral video. We also found ourselves in a Korean skincare store sourcing everything from cleansing oil to glow serum. I’d love to say I’m responsible for their radiant complexions, but no, TikTok did it.
Most recently, back on the rock, they have started sending me tonnes of healthy recipes and videos. I received a WhatsApp shopping list for kale, apples, ginger and spinach as they were making green smoothies, or “glow juice” as it is now called. I wanted to say that I helped to kick off the green smoothie trend in Bermuda when we launched the Nutrifit smoothie at Down to Earth all those years ago, but I managed to hold it in. It’s so funny that you can be standing right there in front of your kids role-modelling, yet it actually takes TikTok to give them momentum. Ah well, I will take it!
One of the recent recipes ended up being a big hit in our house for my daughter Belle’s birthday. It was a rice bowl with basmati rice, grilled salmon, steamed broccoli and spring onions … you then drizzled it with sesame oil, a little Japanese mayo, sriracha and tamari. The next step was to mix it all together and then spoon it onto mini seaweed sheets, eating it like you would tacos. They are super messy but fun! Obviously, you would want to go light on the oil and mayo and you can also chill your rice first to make it healthy.
If you have forgotten why chilling the rice is helpful, let me remind you. When you cool rice and then chill it (for at least 20 minutes in the fridge), you significantly increase the resistant starch content. Resistant starch works like fibre in the body, helping to steady glucose release from the carbs that you eat.
Steady, slow release is key as this provides energy as and when you need it, rather than spiking sugar levels and triggering excess sugar to be stored as (ultimately) fat in the body. You still need to stick with a moderate portion and it always helps to eat veggies/protein before your carbs too (both also help to steady release) but the chilling process is key. It is totally fine to reheat the rice afterwards if you want it hot, just remember to heat it well and not to keep rice for longer than two days in the fridge.
After testing out the recipe for Belle’s birthday, we have since used the concept of rice bowls for dinner a few times over. The nice thing about this idea is that, again, a little like tacos, you can lay out all the ingredients and then each person can assemble their own. This means that you don’t have to be frustrated or limited by fussy eaters, and it’s easy to make a healthy version if your family or friends are more inclined to be less healthy. We call this “deconstructed dinner” and I use this a lot when helping families with small children prepare one meal that is experienced differently (for example, parents can have a tossed Niçoise salad and toddlers can have tuna, a boiled egg, green beans and salad veggies separately.)
If you would like to test out this idea, here are some tips for dinner rice bowls:
Carb — Basmati rice (white or brown), cooled and chilled for 20 minutes.
Protein — grilled salmon or chicken, strips of grass-fed steak, baked tofu or a combination of beans for vegan protein such as edamame, chick peas, or black beans.
Veggies — spring onions, steamed broccoli, sautéed bell peppers.
Toppers — Sesame oil, tamari/soy sauce or coconut aminos, sriracha, or you could go rogue and use something completely different like Jamaican Jerk seasoning or pesto.
1, Cook your rice, cool and then chill for at least 20 minutes.
2, Prep your protein and veggies.
3, Lay out all topping options and set your table.
4, Heat up your rice, lay everything out and then have everyone assemble their own.
5, Ask someone else to clear up. The chef never clears.