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The Ultimate Guide to Making the Perfect Rice Bowl

    The Ultimate Guide to Making the Perfect Rice Bowl

    The Ultimate Guide to Making the Perfect Rice Bowl: Street carts are open carts on the street that millions of people pass daily, so I was afraid to eat from them. Not food trucks, and unsanitary. Plus, chicken and rice—how great? I caved after hearing him praise the food, flavors, and how much he knew I’d like it.

    My first meal

    My first street cart meal was a rice bowl. Due to late-night bar visits, the line for street cart meals was extremely long. Our friend, a frequent cart eater, helped us get to the front of the line. I saw some unfamiliar terms on the simple menu when we ordered. I was overwhelmed and confused immediately.

    This felt like the Seinfield episode with the Soup Guy where everyone speaks a secret code, like ordering a cheesesteak in Philly. I was confused about red and white sauces. White sauce contains what? How spicy is red sauce? Can I get it with some rice and mostly salad? Chicken or falafel? Could I have both?

    Finally, unable to decide, I advised less 3M to order and share his plate. He had a bowl with chicken, falafel, rice, and red and white sauce. When  Foods asked me to create a recipe using their products, I was immediately drawn to the falafel and knew I wanted to remake the New York street cart rice bowls.

    I buy falafel even when I’m not working with them on recipes because I love it. Both Original, Three Cheese, Garlic & Herb, and Turmeric (spicy) are available. Both are vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, and free of funky fillers like other falafels. Additionally, Austin-based Afia Foods began as a food truck on Burnet Road.

    3M and I purchase Foods falafel at HEB for snacking, salad toppings, and Za’atar Cauliflower Rice & Falafel Power Bowls. Their flavor was ideal for my Street-Cart Style Falafel & Rice Bowls.

    Ingredient for the rice

    1. 1 T avocado oil
    2. ½ tsp turmeric
    3. ½ tsp cumin
    4. 1½ cups basmati rice
    5. ½ tsp salt
    6. ½ tsp pepper
    7. 2½ cups chicken broth

    For the white sauce

    1. ¾ cup 2% greek yogurt
    2. 1 T lemon juice
    3. 1 T apple cider vinegar
    4. 1 T olive oil
    5. 2 T chicken broth
    6. ½ tsp salt
    7. ½ tsp white pepper

    To assemble

    1. 4 8-minute eggs
    2. 1 small head of romaine lettuce, roughly chopped
    3. ½ cup diced tomato
    4. ½ cup diced cucumber
    5. ¼ cup pickled radishes, using this method
    6. 12 Afia falafel, original or turmeric
    7. Sriracha or harissa

    Making Street-Cart-Style Falafel and Rice Bowls

    Before adding liquid, I toast the rice in avocado oil, cumin, and turmeric for my Street-Cart Style Falafel and Rice Bowls to develop flavor. I use chicken stock instead of water. This gives the rice a street-cart yellow color and makes it a flavorful and comforting base for falafel.

    A small side of romaine lettuce, cucumbers, green onions, tomatoes, and homemade quick-pickled radishes is served. I added a homemade white sauce made with Greek yogurt, apple cider vinegar, and lemon juice for tang, olive oil, salt, and white pepper (because I hate black pepper in white sauces).

    I substituted Yellowbird Blue Agave Sriracha, another Austin-based spicy red sauce. If you have harissa, use it instead of sriracha as your red sauce. Authenticity would increase. Finally, I added an 8-minute egg with a gooey yolk to the falafel and rice as my own twist. Because egg on top improves everything!


    1. Add oil to a large lidded saucepan and heat over medium-high for 1 minute to make rice. Stir in the cumin and turmeric and toast for 1-2 minutes. Stir in rice and toast for 4 minutes. Add salt and pepper to broth. Let the rice boil, then simmer covered. Cover and simmer rice for 15 minutes.
    2. After 15 minutes, remove the rice from the heat and let it rest for 15 more minutes to absorb the water and cook through. Keep warm until serving.
    3. While rice cooks, make 8-minute eggs. Boil 6 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Use a slotted spoon to gently add eggs to boiling water. Set an 8-minute timer and cook eggs in medium-boiling water. Place a large bowl of ice-filled water (~6 cups) next to the stove while the eggs cook.
    4. Use a slotted spoon to remove the eggs from the boiling water and place them in the ice water when the timer goes off. After cooling in ice water for 5 minutes, gently peel and cut the eggs in half.
    5. Cook falafel per package instructions.
    6. Before assembling, whisk together all the white sauce ingredients, adding chicken broth as needed to reach your desired drizzling consistency.
    7. Divide the rice into four bowls, top with warm falafel, and add the side salad (lettuce, onions, cucumber tomato, pickled radishes). Top with an 8-minute egg and white sauce or sriracha.

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