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DIY or customisable dinners – things like tacos where you put it together completely yourself, or pizza or laksa where you can customise the toppings – are vital when you have a variety of food preferences in a family. They are also, perhaps excluding making pizza bases, some of the quickest meals we make.

As you can see from the ‘recipe’ below, this meal is little more than shredding or chopping a few raw ingredients, and microwaving a couple of others. If you’re making this on a weeknight, I would recommend making the sauce and radishes ahead of time so on the night it becomes entirely about cooking rice and frying a few eggs – you can even buy shredded veg and tofu cubes, or simply choose some of the options that need less preparing. Mr GP (as this is one of his recipes) finds this comes together in the time it takes the rice to cook – making it, I think, officially faster than takeway (certainly on a Friday night!)

In terms of the options, you can see some of the variation above – the top bowl has tofu, egg, cabbage, carrot, edamame, radish and ginger; the next has broccoli instead of cabbage, and spring onion instead of ginger. Raw enoki mushrooms are also lovely, and look great, and thinly sliced cucumber, particularly with ginger and salmon. We usually make these bowls vegetarian, and sometimes vegan, but cha siu (Chinese BBQ pork) is also great, and if you had more time, baking some salmon brushed with the sauce (use before adding cornflour and heating in that case) would also be fabulous. I hope you’re getting the idea that this is really more of a concept than a recipe, so whatever you have leftover or that your family loves would probably be great!

But, and I’m sorry to be bossy here, the one area you shouldn’t compromise is the sauce. I’m sure there are great bought teriyaki sauces out there, and I’m not even saying this is an original or definitive recipe. All I’m saying is don’t buy a bottle from the supermarket and glug it over the top, because we tried, and it wasn’t great! If you don’t have the ingredients for the sauce, or the rice is almost ready and you haven’t made it yet!, a different but still nice option is thinned down hoisin sauce with a bit of soy sauce and sesame oil added.

So, question time, what favourite ingredients would you add to this rice bowl?

Teriyaki rice bowls

  • brown rice to serve 4 (we use 4 of the rice cooker cups)
  • 400-500g firm tofu
  • 1 Tbs rice bran oil
  • 1/4 small cabbage
  • 1-2 carrots
  • 100g edamame
  • 1/2 serve radishes in chilli oil sauce (or just thinly sliced)
  • 2 spring onions
  • 4 eggs

Other options

  • Gari (sushi ginger)
  • sauteed shiitake mushrooms
  • steamed broccoli
  • enoki mushrooms
  • thinly sliced cucumber (can also be lightly pickled in rice vinegar and salt)
  • (Cha siu and smoked or baked salmon fillet are great meat options if you like)

Cook the rice in a rice cooker, otherwise cover with 2cm of water in a medium saucepan, bring to boil, then cover, reduce heat to very low, and simmer until cooked. Remove from heat and leave to steam until ready to serve.

While the rice is cooking, prepare toppings. Dice tofu, and fry over medium high heat, tossing regularly until browned. Shred cabbage and carrot very finely. I recommend a mandolin, but you can also grate the carrot and very finely slice the cabbage. Steam edamame according to packet directions. Finely slice spring onions. Once rice is cooked, fry eggs according to your preference.

To serve, divide rice between bowls, and top with piles of each ingredient as pictured above. Drizzle with teriyaki sauce.

Serves 4

For sauce

Adapted very slightly from this Daring Gourmet recipe

  • 120 ml tamari or soy sauce
  • 50 g brown sugar
  • 2 cm piece fresh ginger
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 3 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 3 tsp cornflour

Combine three tablespoons of water with the cornflour in a small saucepan and stir until smooth. Add soy sauce, sugar, finely chopped or grated ginger, crushed garlic, honey, sesame oil and mirin, and heat on low heat, stirring frequently, until thickened and glossy, just a few minutes. You will probably have sauce remaining, but it will keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge.