I usually have a container of cooked rice in the fridge. I always make sure to cook enough to have extra on hand. Last week I had both brown and white rice in the fridge, and I was at a loss for what to do with the brown rice. I knew the white rice would be kimchi fried rice. But the brown rice? I eat so much brown rice that I think I had fallen into a rut with it. I hit the cookbooks for ideas. A brown rice casserole is always nice, a pie crust using brown rice is also clever. How about a cooked grain cake? Then I stumbled upon a cooked grain pancake from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything. It was a revelation, a moment where you are like: of course! The perfect Meatless Monday dish. Easy to quickly put together, if you have your rice cooked already. I served it with a salad and a little spicy tomato jam. I think this would be great at any time though—a savory breakfast item par exellence.
Brown Rice Pancakes
1.5 cups of cooked rice (white or brown)
½ cup milk
½ cup parmesan cheese
½ cup all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
I put the ingredients in this order because I like seeing all the ½ cups—it makes it easy to remember so you don’t have to look at a recipe. It’s a common sense recipe—whisk up the eggs and milk, add the rice and cheese, then stir in the flour and baking powder. Use a good amount of shimmering hot oil to cook them up in. Use about a ½ cup of mixture for each cake. You will see in the edges puff up and lose moisture, you can peek at the underside to see how brown it is. I find these easier to cook than regular pancakes.
Other food notes for this week:
My favorite episode of Chef’s Table (on Netflix) so far has been the one on Jeong Kwan. Her devotion struck me deeply. The idea of temple food also hit a chord. Food made daily with utmost respect for its nourishment and love. I think this is why people are so in love with “grandma” cooking. Because it’s cooking that is devotional, meditative, done every day with love. It has years of practice behind it, and that practice imbues the food with a certain kind of goodness that can’t be replicated any other way. Practice is like prayer. It’s what I aspire to in my cooking. I think I’ll watch it again.