Ash - Viva!'s talented ex-database and fundraising person but still one of the family - is also a bit of a whizz in the kitchen! Being a keen athlete, he is always thinking about food too...
He's very particular about rice and swears on his auntie's recipe for the perfect method! The secret is to steam-cook it in a pan with a well-fitting lid.
White basmati - 11-20 minutes
Brown longrain rice or brown basmati (healthier, especially for diabetics)- 25-30 minutes
Use ready-cooked rice (brown or rice) in a pouch plus a vegetable stir-fry pack!
Basmati Rice, 1½ mugs- or equivalent long grain brown rice (or see notes about rice in pouches)
Sesame seeds, 2 tbsp
Stir-fry ingredients (ignore veg components if using stir-fry pack)
1-2 tbsp sesame oil
2 medium onions, any colour, chopped quite small
3 large cloves garlic, crushed or chopped
2 tsp grated ginger - use the edge of a teaspoon to peel quickly}
150g mushrooms - any type or a mixture, eg chestnut, oyster, white... - sliced
1 red pepper - round or the long ramero type, chopped quite small
½ pack of beansprouts
1 head of pak choi (aka bok choi), chopped in half lengthways then chopped into smallish pieces
Cashews, 2-3 tbsp or more as liked
Coriander, 1 handful finely chopped
Soya sauce, preferably shoyu or tamari (GF), to taste
Chinese Five Spice Powder, 2 tsp - add right at the end of cooking the veg, stirring in well
Chill flakes, to taste
Protein extras, eg tofu pieces, edamame beans (fresh soya beans) or fried cubes of tempeh
1. If using brown rice, rinse in a sieve, place in a medium saucepan and cover with 3 mugs of cold water. Bring to boil with the lid on then reduce heat, Cook for 20-30 minutes with the lid on then remove from heat. Check it doesn't catch - drizzle in a little hot water and give it a stir if it does but don't swamp it.
2. Prepare all the vegetables and get the seasonings and everything ready to go.
3. If using white rice, rinse it in a sieve, place it in a medium pan and put it on to cook now in two cups of water – do the same as step 1, basically. It will take between 11 to 20 minutes, depending on how tender you like it. Test after 11.
4. Dry-fry the sesame seeds in a non-stick pan or wok for a few minutes, stirring constantly so they don’t burn. Remove from heat and set aside in a heatproof container.
5. Heat the sesame oil in a good non-stick wok or similar. Fry the onions until they start to soften then add the red peppers, then garlic, mushrooms, pak choi and beansprouts. If using Five Spice, add it now, stir in well and cook in for a few seconds.
6. Tip the cooked rice into the wok and mix in well with the cooked vegetables. Add in the cashews and coriander. Sprinkle in half the sesame seeds, mixing in well. Stir in soya sauce to taste then serve hot, with the remaining sesame seeds on top - and any extras from the list that you might be adding.