I have a confession to make. I spend twice as much time and effort on Sam’s vegetarian meals than I do with our normal omnivorous meals. In fact, I’m almost obsessing. Why? It’s a bit complicated.
Sam has lost weight. Probably not surprising. No one can jump from a highly carnivorous diet to vegetarianism without visible and very obvious results. Weight loss was never a goal for her but that’s what happened. I know too that since she turned vegetarian, she had been having problems sourcing meals when she’s not at home. What can I say? Vegetarianism in the Philippines today is more an object of curiosity, something new to try, rather than a mainstream thing.
So, when Sam’s at home, I make every effort to prepare meals that she will like and eat with gusto. Sort of an attempt to offset (what I think must have been) a lot of hungry days she spent at the condo on schooldays.
This rice meal, for instance.
The rice was seasoned sushi-style, the eggplants were cooked teriyaki-style, I threw in a scrambled egg for protein and then I served everything as a terrine to allow the rice to absorb the flavors of the buttery eggs and the teriyaki sauce in which the eggplants had been cooked.
For additional color, texture, aroma and a little crunch, some scallions and black sesame seeds.
- 1 cup newly cooked rice (see notes after the recipe)
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- a few drops of sesame seed oil
- a pinch of sugar
- a generous pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small eggplant thinly sliced
- 1 to 2 tablespoons light soy sauce and an equal amount of mirin
- 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds toasted
- scallions snipped
While the rice is hot, fluff with a fork. Stir in the rice vinegar, sesame seed oil, sugar and salt then lay out on a small tray or plate. Leave to cool while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
Heat the butter in a frying pan. Pour in the egg, season with a bit of salt and pepper (you may also optionally add some herbs), and lightly scramble (see how to cook scrambled eggs). Remove from the pan and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in the pan. Add the eggplants in a single layer. Pour in the soy sauce and mirin. Cook the eggplants just until soft but not mushy.
Stir the sesame seeds with the rice.
Take a single-serve bowl and line the inside with a large sheet of cling film.
Press a third of the rice at the bottom of the bowl. Top with the scrambled egg. Sprinkle with some snipped scallions.
Press another third of the rice into the bowl on top of the egg.
Arrange the eggplant slices on top of the rice.
Press the remaining rice into the bowl on top of the eggplants.
Gather the edges of the cling film and cover the rice. Press down lightly to make everything compact.
Unwrap the contents of the bowl and invert on a plate. Peel off the cling film. Sprinkle with more scallions and serve.
I used half glutinous rice and half regular rice because we’re out of Japanese rice.