There is something both exhilarating and liberating about putting everything you need for a well-rounded meal into a single serving vessel. No wonder eating breakfast, lunch and dinner from a bowl is one of the hottest food trends of 2016.
Lukas Volger’s new book, Bowl: Vegetarian Recipes for Ramen, Pho, Bibimbap, Dumplings, and Other One-Dish Meals ($25), is the perfect way to get inspired.
Volger’s bowls are light, clean and seasonally focused. His black rice burrito bowl is equally suited for balancing on the edge of the couch during a Netflix binge as it is for gracing the table at a dinner party.
The book is packed with simple techniques to help you take your bowl game to the next level, like roasting shiitake mushrooms to add a savory, juicy component or sprouting lentils for a base that is also a nutrient powerhouse.
We especially love Volger’s idea for a deconstructed vegetarian sushi bowl (recipe below) filled with contrasting flavors and textures. A dream team of sweet potatoes, creamy avocado, crisp cucumber and bitter daikon radish are all arranged on top of a pile of sticky sushi rice.
Not only does serving sushi this way simplify it immensely, but unlike at a sushi bar, it gives you complete control over what you get.
We’re loving this trend already.
Sushi Bowl with Glazed Sweet Potatoes, Daikon and Avocado
1 medium sweet potato, peeled if desired (10 to 12 ounces)
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon soy sauce, plus more for serving
1 tablespoon neutral-tasting oil
One 4-inch length daikon radish
1 small cucumber
Four 2-inch squares toasted nori
1 tablespoon rice or brown rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
5 cups freshly cooked short-grain white or brown rice
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
2 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced on the bias, for garnish
Wasabi paste, for serving
Pickled ginger, for serving
Slice the sweet potato into rounds about 3/4 inch thick. Fill a saucepan fitted with a steamer unit with about 1/2 inch of water and bring to a simmer. Add the sweet potato to the steamer basket, cover, and cook until just tender, 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate or bowl to cool until safe to handle.
In a small bowl, whisk together the honey and soy sauce. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and, when it shimmers, arrange the potato in a single layer in the pan. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until it just begins to color and get crisp. Flip and repeat on the other side. Pour in the honey-soy mixture and cook until the sauce thickens and the potato is glazed, turning it frequently to ensure that it’s well coated, 1 to 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat.
Peel the daikon and cut it into matchsticks about 1/4 inch thick and 2 inches long. Do the same with the cucumber. Peel the avocado and slice it into thin slabs.
Just before serving, wave the nori squares over the flame of a gas burner a few times until the corners curl and they turn crisp, or roast under a broiler, flipping periodically. Slice into thin strips with a chef’s knife, or crumble with your fingers.
Stir the rice vinegar, salt, and sugar together until the solids dissolve. Drizzle over the hot cooked rice, add the sesame seeds, and stir gently to combine. Taste and add a few more sprinkles of vinegar if desired.
Divide the rice among four bowls. Arrange the glazed potato slices, daikon, cucumber, and avocado on top of the rice in each bowl. Sprinkle the nori over the top of each serving and garnish with the scallions. Serve with individual dishes for the additional soy sauce, the wasabi, and pickled ginger at the table.
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