If Mom were alive today, I’d make her this Asparagus Rice in a bowl with eggs and vegetables. It is a wholesome, healthy and easy-to-do recipe and mom would have relished it any day of the week.
My mom, Lulu Reyes Besa passed away in 1981 before I got married. When she was around, she was a strong influence in my life and nurtured my culinary skills. As soon as I could reach the kitchen counter, mom made me cook next to her.
Sitaw or long green beans were the first vegetables I learned to wash and snip at the edges. Refrigerator cakes and fruit salads were the first desserts I learned from her. Mashing boiled tamarinds for Sinigang were hard for me then but she insisted I learned it. Placing a lettuce leaf in the middle of a fresh vegetable lumpia was always my assignment thanks to mom. Wiping clean the silverware, plates and glasses for the family meal was how I learned from mom how to set a table properly. And of course, my sweetest memory was making mango jams in the summer with mom.
We never had Mother’s Day in the Philippines when I was growing up. It is not a Philippine holiday. Mother’s Day today is a glorified and commercialized event of the Philippine retail industry mimicking the American scene. Of course, I enjoy it when my grown sons come home to celebrate it with me, with gifts, flowers and brunch. Who wouldn’t?
But to me showing love and affection to your mom should not just be one day. You don’t love your mom only for one hour at brunch or during a brief phone call. I loved my mom all my life. Even after she died, she has been in my heart forever.
Mom was weak and sickly towards the last few months before March 1981. If I could turn back the clock, I would have cooked this healthy, hearty bowl of vegetables and rice for her. This was inspired by a recipe from the “Farm to Table Asian Secrets” Vegetarian Cookbook I recently received from its author.
If your mom or parents are at the age where they are more vigilant about what they eat, this all-in-one vegetable meal in a bowl is ideal. It’s a forgiving recipe because you can add or subtract vegetables in season or of your mom’s preference. So are the other recipes I found in this Asian vegetarian cookbook which features a couple of Filipino vegetable recipes.
Give mom the gift of love and wellness not just on Mother’s Day but all year round. Cook her a healthy, luscious dish like this vegetable bowl. After all, a mother’s love is forever.
The abundance of asparagus in the spring here in America motivates me to find different vegetable dishes to cook just like this Asparagus Rice with Eggs and Vegetables. This was so easy and quick to put together. No need to overthink this meal-in-a bowl. Simply have fresh asparagus and assorted vegetables ready. Boil the eggs for a few, quick minutes and have on hand day-old, refrigerated cooked rice. Put them together and you have a crowd pleaser not just for mom but the family, too. This was inspired by the original recipe “Spring Fried Rice with Asparagus and Cilantro” from the “Farm to Table Asian Secrets” Vegetarian Cookbook by Patricia Tanumihardja (Tuttle Publishing). Serves 2 to 4.
- eggs - 4 large pieces
- vegetable oil - 2 Tablespoons
- garlic - 2 cloves, minced
- onion - 1 large, chopped
- fish sauce or patis - 1 Tablespoon
- fresh asparagus - 12 oz. (340 g.), cut on the diagonal in 1-inch pieces, stems and tips separated
- green beans - 2 cups sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
- button or Chinese straw mushrooms - 1 cup (fresh or canned/drained)
- cooked white rice (jasmine or long grain) - 3 to 4 cups, at least a day old, refrigerated
- soy sauce - 1 Tablespoon
- sea salt - 1 teaspoon
- black pepper powder - 1 teaspoon
- fresh carrots - 3 to 4 Tablespoons grated
- scallions or green onions - 1 stalk, chopped, for garnish
- Pre-cook the hard-boiled eggs. Over medium high heat, in a deep, small stockpot, boil water. When the water is bubbling, add the eggs. Cook the eggs for 7 minutes in the boiling water. Then remove the eggs and place in a bowl filled with ice-cold water. The cold water stops the cooking and enables you to peel the eggs easier. When eggs have cooled, peel and set aside.
- Using a wok or large-sized skillet over medium high heat, add the vegetable oil. Saute the garlic and onions for one minute. Pour the patis or fish sauce and stir.
- Add the cut-up asparagus stems and tips to the skillet. Cook for about 4 minutes till soft.
- Add the green beans and mushrooms. Cook 1 to 2 minutes more. Then add the cooked rice. Sprinkle the soy sauce and mix ingredients well. Season with salt and black pepper powder.
- Arrange the rice with asparagus and green beans in individual bowls. Pile some more of the vegetables on top including the grated carrots. Place egg slices and scallions as garnish. Serve warm.
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