SouperChef Special | Chicken Broccoli Red Rice Stew
Chicken | Dairy-free | Egg-free
The inspiration for chicken broccoli with red rice stew comes from a frequently cooked dish during my University days: Stir fried broccoli with chicken, mushroom and tomatoes served over rice. It was a one-dish meal but it provided a lot of sustenance and comfort. Most importantly, it was fuss free and reminded me very much of home. I have very fond memories for this dish and I thought why not recreate it and make it into a hearty stew with a few minor touchups, upping the nutrient quotient using red unpolished rice and served with a salted herb pesto. My pride and joy!
Chinese Stir-fry and its History
Whenever people think of Chinese food, they naturally think of stir-fry. It’s like the equivalent of Chinese cooking, but I think there’s so much more to Chinese food. A lot of effort goes into the food, all the careful steaming to get everything done to perfection, the braising, the slow-cooking for tender and flavoursome food. According to Wiki, stir frying is a Chinese cooking technique in which ingredients are fried in a small amount of very hot oil while being stirred in a wok. The technique originated in China and in recent centuries, has spread into other parts of Asia and the West. Many claim that this quick, hot cooking seals in the flavours of the foods, as well as preserving their colour and texture.
Rice the Staple
Would you not like some rice along with your stir fry or chicken curry? Rice is comfort food for most of us in Asia, and not eating it for a while makes me miss it very much. But most of the time, we try to pacify your taste buds with just a few spoons of the humble staple. Why has eating rice been such a problem for those who are trying to lose weight or are on a strict calorie restricting diet? Actually, rice is not an enemy of the weight related goals. Not all rice are created equal. White rice is the highly refined version of raw rice, which is hulled and milled. The processing and milling takes away significant parts of the grain, the bran and germ which are rich in dietary fibre as well as nutrients that are beneficial for human health.
The healthier alternative today is red rice! Red rice is a special variety of rice that is red in colour because it contains anthocyanins. It has a nutty flavour and a high nutritional value as the germ of the rice is left intact. Anthocyanins are also found in deep purple or reddish fruits and vegetables. It is believed to have properties that can reduce inflammation, allergy, prevent risks of cancer and help in weight management. The manganese present helps in strengthening metabolism, while magnesium helps in migraine, lowers blood pressure as well as risks of heart attacks. Along with calcium, magnesium helps in maintaining healthy bones and teeth, and prevents risks of arthritis and osteoporosis. Selenium on the other hand protects the body against infections. Red rice is high in fibre content which aids in slowing down the rate at which carbs are converted into blood sugar and hence is low on the glycemic load. The perfect choice for me with all its health benefits!
Inspired by the Chinese stir fry with rice, the chicken broccoli with red rice stew is a mash-up of a chunky stew thickened with red rice, greenish puree of broccoli with chicken chunks, carrots, zucchini, leeks and button mushrooms. The addition of the salted herb pesto brings this Asian inspired stew to a new height. Tuck in and enjoy!
Ingredients: Chicken stock (water, chicken bones, stock), marinated chicken, broccoli, carrots, zucchini, red unpolished rice, leek, button mushrooms, celery, tarragon, tomatoes, garlic, onions
Condiment: Salted herb pesto (chives, parsley, coriander, spring onions, salt, olive oil)