Lately I have been having a bit of a foodie~blogging block. I had to delve a little deeper for this Meatless Monday. I know I have made my love of pasta dishes known, but wanted to make something a little different from my usual fare. Thinking over and over in my mind of all the fabulous food I have eaten over the past month or so led me to this dish. About a month ago my mom made a delicious fish stew from a recipe in a back issue of Saveur magazine that my bro in Cincinnati had given her. We had the blessing of being able to count on my parents while our bathroom was out of commission for a few days. It was during this time my mom went for the first run of this delicious recipe. Eric and I both loved it and were so happy to be her guinea pigs. She is always trying out a new recipe or challenging herself in the kitchen and once again we were the happy recipients! After a few weeks I realized I had not yet received a copy of this recipe which I had requested, and alas my mom could not remember where the magazine was or even exactly which magazine it was in. However I knew it had to be between Saveur and Food & Wine, the top two food magazines we peruse. Thanks to the internet! After a few searches I found the recipe I had been looking for.
The stew, actually called moqueca, is a Brazilian seafood stew made with any firm fleshed white fish and in this case shrimp. It is wonderful, made with coconut milk, fresh lime juice, garlic and a variety of vegetables. It had a distinct flavor and reminded me of those similar flavors found in Thai cuisine. In my mind I played with the idea of omitting the seafood, adding more vegetables including meaty mushrooms and some additional spice from Thai red curry. That is exactly what I did and it turned out wonderful, we did not even miss the seafood. Use whatever mushrooms are available in your local markets or grocers, we used baby portabella, but we both agreed oyster or shitake would have been great additions as well. I served this on a bed of white rice to soak up some of the delicious sauce and also garlic naan to mop up any bits of sauce left remaining. In reality this dinner ended up being a fusion of Brazilian, Thai, and Indian. We loved it and it even made for great leftovers the next day. It slightly thickened overnight and Eric ended up eating it as a stew. Try this one out and let me know what you think! Instead of diners asking “Where’s the Beef?” the question on their tongues will be “Where’s the Rice?” Happy cooking and experimenting in your own kitchen!
Thai Inspired Rice Bowl
- 1yellow onion minced
- 6garlic cloves minced
- 2cubanella peppers: 1 minced, 1 sliced
- 1-28ozcan diced tomatoes in juice
- 3-4 tbspfish sauce (omit if desired)
- 1 1/2 cupsvegetable stock
- 1- 14ozcan coconut milk
- 4 tspthai roasted red chili paste (adjust to taste)
- 1lime zested and juiced
- 8 ozbaby bella mushrooms
- 1can bamboo shoots
- 8scallions chopped
- 4mini sweet orange and red peppers sliced
- 1 bunchcilantro
- 1 bunchthai basil
- 1 tspsalt
- 1-2crushed piri-piri peppers
- 1-2 cupscooked white rice
- In Dutch oven heat olive oil over medium high heat.
- Add minced onions, minced garlic, minced cubanella pepper, and shallots sautéing until softened about 6-8 minutes.
- Add canned diced tomatoes with juice, coconut milk, vegetable stock, fish sauce, and thai roasted red chili paste. Stir to combine. Bring to a simmer. Once to a simmer continue to cook allowing broth to thicken about 8-10 minutes
- In the meantime sauté mushrooms in a hot pan until browned. Add to stew.
- Add sliced cubanella peppers, bamboo shoots, baby sweet peppers, and scallions to stew. Cook covered for 5-8 minutes. Season with salt (add additional salt if omitting fish sauce).
- Add lime zest and lime juice and stir to combine, a few minutes prior to serving.
- To serve place scoop of rice in center of bowl or deep plate and ladle stew over rice.
- Serve with crushed piri-piri peppers, fresh cilantro, thai basil, and garlic naan to each diners taste.
Cooks Note: I chose to add fish sauce to this, and I have read many comments this way and that way as to whether it is acceptable from a meatless standpoint. If there is an objection omit it, but make sure to add additional salt to season the dish. Soy sauce may be used as a substitute if desired but I have not tested it with this recipe. If soy sauce is used make sure to use a gluten-free version so the recipe remains gluten-free if desired. Leave me a comment letting me know how this turns out if this is the course taken.