This fragrant rice makes for a satisfying and easy weeknight meal. As long as you have your mise en place before you start, the end is as comforting as a good risotto, though without all the stirring. As strange as it might sound, this is equally delicious and different with a can of sardines stirred into the finished rice in place of the pork. If you use sardines, serve with Korean seaweed (gim) and make bite sized hand rolls. —gingerroot
Test Kitchen Notes
WHO: Gingerroot is a Hawaii-based art educator and mom of two.
WHAT: A fragrant, almost one-pot meal with just the right amount of sweet and salty.
HOW: Make like you’re preparing risotto, but ditch the constant stirring.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Because of the pork and the coconut milk, you might think this dish is rich. But it's not -- it’s lightly perfumed from the coconut milk, not too heavy, and so satisfying. We'd eat it as a savory breakfast, too. —The Editors
large scallions, thoroughly washed, trimmed just above root
canola oil, divided
good quality fish sauce (like Red Boat or Three Crabs)
plus 1 teaspoon minced ginger
plus 1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/4 cups
medium grain Calrose rice
1 1/4 cups
coconut milk (shake can before opening)
head of baby bok choy (optional), end trimmed, leaves separated, washed, and sliced crosswise
wedge of lime, for finishing
In This Recipe
Prep scallions by slicing 1/3 cup of white and light green parts. Thinly slice dark green part of scallions for 3/4 cup, divided into 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup. Set aside.
Heat 1/2 tablespoon of canola oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven or similar pot. Add ground pork, 1 tablespoon of minced garlic and 1 tablespoon of minced ginger and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon. When meat is no longer pink, add fish sauce and cook for another minute or two, stirring. Transfer meat to a bowl and cover with foil.
Add 1/2 tablespoon canola oil to pot, followed by remaining 1 teaspoon of garlic, 1 teaspoon of ginger and 1/3 cup of sliced white and light green scallions. Cook, combining with wooden spoon, until fragrant, about a minute. Add rice and stir to coat, until rice is shiny. Add stock and coconut milk, stir to combine and cover. When rice begins to bubble, turn heat down to simmer. Set your timer for 20 minutes.
While rice is cooking, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a small skillet over medium heat. When oil shimmers, add 1/2 cup of sliced dark green scallions. Crisp up scallions by stirring frequently, remembering that they will go from crisp to burned in a second. Since they are dark, you won’t have as obvious a visual clue as with onions or shallots; I usually rely on smell. Once they start to smell dark and smoky I start to look for golden brown charred edges and begin to remove onions by the forkful to a paper towel lined plate until they are all done. It’s not the most delicate maneuver but they are delicious and worth it.
If you are using the baby bok choy, add it to the still hot skillet once you’ve removed the crispy scallions. Cook in scallion oil until leaves are wilted and stem begins to soften, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
When timer goes off, remove lid from rice pot and give mixture a stir. Rice should be perfectly cooked, plump, and almost risotto like, though without the extra liquid. Stir in reserved pork, crisped scallions, remaining 1/4 cup sliced dark green scallions, and bok choy if using. Finish with a squeeze from a lime wedge. Serve immediately and enjoy.
My most vivid childhood memories have to do with family and food. As a kid, I had the good fortune of having a mom who always encouraged trying new things, and two grandmothers who invited me into their kitchens at a young age. I enjoy cooking for the joy it brings me - sharing food with loved ones - and as a stress release. I turn to it equally during good times and bad. Now that I have two young children, I try to be conscientious about what we cook and eat. Right about the time I joined food52, I planted my first raised bed garden and joined a CSA; between the two I try to cook as sustainably and organically as I can. Although I'm usually cooking alone, my children are my favorite kitchen companions and I love cooking with them. I hope when they are grown they will look back fondly at our time spent in the kitchen, as they teach their loved ones about food-love.
Best of all, after years on the mainland for college and graduate school, I get to eat and cook and raise my children in my hometown of Honolulu, HI. When I'm not cooking, I am helping others grow their own organic food or teaching schoolchildren about art.