Around here we are pretty much obsessed with all sorts of “bowl” meals. The Buddha Bowl craze seems to be sticking and while it seems that the true Buddha Bowls are vegetarian of vegan, they have inspired many home cooks and restaurants to take a bunch of something delicious that goes well together and put it in a bowl. Voila. Burrito bowls, Tex-Mex Bowls, Breakfast Bowls, Smoothie Bowls, basically anything can go in a bowl and it makes for a fuss free, casual presentation and a great excuse to put together lots of fresh, fun ingredients and call it dinner. Or art.
These Sticky Chicken Bowls with Cauliflower Rice are as easy as can be and ridiculously healthy. This really should be called the Redemption Bowl because I put it together the day after a dinner of fried chicken and two bite brownies. But those nights happen, right? Sometimes you have to go with the urge to splurge or just throw your hands up and order take out. For the nights where you’re feeling somewhat more invested in your health and meal planning this particular Bowl is easy to prep and cook and it’s filling but light with regular rice swapped out for super flavorful coconut-lime cauliflower “rice”. Add a quick slaw and any other veg you like and you’re on your way to dinner Nirvana.
The chicken in these Sticky Chicken Bowls with Cauliflower Rice benefits from a short marination which gives you the right amount of time to prep the rest of the meal and then the chicken cooks up hot and quick at the end. The marinade is intended for 1.5 lbs (700 grams) of boneless chicken thighs and becomes the sticky glaze on the cooked chicken. Let the meat swim in this pungent liquid for a half hour or so while you make the rice and prep the simple slaw.
Sticky Chicken Marinade
1/2 cup prepared peanut sauce
1 cup low sodium soy sauce
2 tsp Worschestershire Sauce
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Whisk together all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Add the chicken, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 1 hour.
While your chicken rests, make the root veggie slaw by combining:
2 grated carrots (about 1 cup)
1 grated medium beet (about 1 cup)
1 bunch of scallions, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
The secret ingredient to bumping up the flavor and nutrition in this slaw is a few tablespoons of Epicure’s Everything Bagel Seasoning. If you can’t find it, you can skip it altogether or substitute in a pinch of each: garlic powder, sesame seeds, poppy seeds and chia seeds. Set your slaw aside until it’s time to stack up your bowl.
The third and final element of our Sticky Chicken Bowls with Cauliflower Rice is the Coconut-Lime Cauliflower Rice itself. It’s dead simple with only 4 ingredients: cauliflower, a can of coconut milk, a lime and a hand full of chopped cilantro. Simply grate the cauliflower on the large holes of a box grater and add to a large skillet. Pour over the coconut milk and squeeze in the juice of the lime. I like to cook the “rice” with the 2 lime halves in the pan for extra zesty flavour. Cook the cauliflower over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly until the cauliflower is tender and most of the moisture is evaporated. It should resemble the texture of sticky rice. Add the cilantro and stir through.
Cook the marinated chicken in a second skillet over medium high heat for 12-14 minutes, turning only once. Don’t toss out the marinade. Once the first side is browned, turn the chicken and add the reserved marinade and simmer the chicken until fully cooked. The marinade will reduce and become a dark sticky glaze. Stir the chicken through the glaze to evenly coat it. Build your Sticky Chicken Bowls with Cauliflower Rice from the bottom up with the “rice”, then veg and chicken. If you want more veggies, I recommend steamed edamame or broccoli.