By Aine Carlin | May 23, 2011

Photo: Aine Carlin

Rice is my comfort food. All I need is a bowlful, maybe a few veggies, a little seasoning and I’m a very happy girl. It’s the simple things in life that give me pleasure now and you can’t get simpler than a wholesome bowl of brown basmati; nutty, almost sweet and with a slight chew, it is by far my favorite grain. Quinoa comes a close second!

Photo: Aine Carlin

This stir-fried rice is so satisfying. I love the saltiness of the tamari combined the crunch of the vegetables and the moreish strands of cabbage – it all works. Alone, it is a complete meal but don’t be afraid to pair it with some baked tofu or lightly fried tempeh. I actually topped it with some leftover potato and cauliflower thai red curry and it was sensational.

Photo: Aine Carlin

I’ve made variations on this dish many times over, working with whatever I have to hand but this has been the most successful combination to date. I can honestly say I will use this as the blueprint for all my future stir-fried rice dishes – if it ain’t broke and all that. Of course, we often have to work with what’s in season so I’d have no qualms about interchanging the cabbage for kale, however, the carrot and pepper remain. Coupled with the pumpkin and sesame seeds this makes for a texture filled meal that I’m positive will please children and adults alike and makes for an uber-effortless Meat-Free Monday dish.

Photo: Aine Carlin

Make it rice. Make it brown. Make it stir fried. Make it tonight.

  • 1/2 cup brown basmati rice
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1/4 red pepper
  • 3 large cabbage leaves(or spring greens/kale)
  • 5/6 chestnut mushrooms
  • 2 spring onions
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • small handful of sesame seeds
  • 1 garlic clove
  • small thumbsize piece of ginger
  • 1/2 large red chilli
  • chilli flakes
  • fresh thyme
  • tamari(or soy sauce)
  • olive oil
  • sesame oil
  • umeboshi plum vinegar


1. Cook the rice - 1 1/2 cups of water to 1/2 cup rice. Cover the rice, bring to the boil and then simmer until all the water is absorbed - about 20-25mins. Don't be tempted to lift the lid. When cooked take off the heat and set aside.

2. Peel the carrot and cut into small cubes. Also cube the pepper. Heat a little olive oil in a pan, add the carrot and pepper, shake in a few chilli flakes, fresh thyme leaves, splash in some tamari and saute for several minutes.

3. Mince the garlic and ginger and finely slice the chilli. Add to the pan and lightly fry for a few minutes.

4. Wash and finely slice the cabbage, add to pan along with a splash of sesame oil. Let it cook right down - will take around 10mins. Roughly chop the chestnut mushrooms and add to pan. Let them cook for a couple of minutes.

5. Slice the spring onions and add to pan. Toss in the pumpkin and sesame seeds. Cook for a few more minutes before tumbling in the cooked brown rice. Splash in some ume vinegar, a little more tamari and stir fry the rice until it absorbs all the juices in the pan.


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