Posts Tagged ‘brown rice’

Brown Sugar Cafe & “Paradise Garden”

Yesterday night, I went out to dinner, and I chose Brown Sugar Cafe mostly because I had a hunkering for Thai food and I hadn’t gone out for something other than the occasional sandwich from Subway in quite a while.  If you haven’t been to Brown Sugar Cafe yet, you really need to make it out there. They’ve got plenty of meat-filled options, so take anyone there. Because, they’ve also got plenty of vegetarian options.

What I love about asian restaurants is that anything can be made vegetarian (i.e. the meat can be left out).

Looking through their extensive menu, I spent way too much time trying to make a choice. I chose Vegetarian Thai Spring Rolls for our appetizer; it came in 6 pieces with the house turnip sauce.  For my entree, I ended up narrowing my choices down to Red Curry, Pad Thai, Vegetable Fried Rice, Vegetarian Curry (extra vegetables and red curry with coconut milk), and this intriguing dish from the “Vegetarian Corner” section of the menu called Paradise Garden.

Paradise Garden won.

So what is Paradise Garden?  It is sauteed zucchini, bamboo strips, summer squash, Thai eggplant, cauliflower, snow peas, broccoli, carrots, celery, green beans, baby corn, green & red peppers and sweet basil leaves in mild red curry sauce. I had them make it spicy, because I love my red curry spicy, and I substituted brown rice for the white rice (because I love brown rice with Southeast Asian cuisine.

I’m pretty sure this dish won because it guaranteed a high and varied vegetable content,  and I love vegetables. Especially in curry. Also, this dish did not have tofu or eggs.  I have never been able to find a tofu dish I like (and I will try everyone’s dish at least once).  Now that I’ve tried tofu a solid dozen times, I do not ever want to eat more tofu.  Eggs, I love, hard-boiled, scrambled, as omelettes, but never in my rice or noodles.

This is Paradise Garden. It was Paradise. It was a Garden of Delicious.

paradise garden

Classic Stir-Fry & Green Tea Brown Rice

Summer before last, while I was interning in Boston, and my friend Karen was living in Boston (because that’s where she’s from), we fell into a routine, which somewhere along the way got named Kitchen Cooking Chem Lab. Said name came about due to our tendency to run around Shaws, buy an assortment of things, bring them back to either of our kitchens and proceed to make magic food out of it.

And sometimes there were explosions.

Last night we made dinner, and we did something magical yet again, but so simple that anyone (like you!) can take these same ingredients and turn them into delicious, healthy, nutrient-rich vegetarian food.

Classic Stir-Fry

  • Yellow Squash


  • Red & Orange Peppers
  • Sugar Snap Peas

peppers and snap peas

  • Olive Oil
  • 1 cup Long Grain Brown Rice
  • 2 Green Tea Tea-Bags (not pictured)
  • Almond Slivers
  • Chili Powder (not pictured)


  1. Heat 2 cups water in medium-sized saucepan & put tea bags in the water. After 5 minutes, remove tea bags from water and add rice. Stir frequently to keep rice from sticking. Allow rice to cook normally. Once cooked, add almond slivers (1/2 cup, or however much you like).
  2. rice

  3. While rice is cooking, heat olive oil on a pan on medium heat.
  4. When oil is hot, add the yellow squash.
  5. When squash starts to brown slightly, add the peppers and snap peas, stirring to keep squash slices on top of the peppers.
  6. Be liberal with the oil, make sure there is oil on the pan as well as on the vegetables, but don’t drown them.
  7. veggiesonpan

  8. When the peppers are cooked (they’ve started to go limp), add chili powder.  I just shook chili powder lightly over the veggies, mixed them and covered them lightly again. The point of the chili powder isn’t to make the dish spicy, but to bring out the flavors of the vegetables.
  9. Serve veggies either over or on the side of the rice.

Enjoy with your drinks of choice! Ours just happened to be Harpoon Celtic. 🙂

Pan-Asian Food at Noodle Street

If any of you have ever been to Noodle Street on Commonwealth Avenue, you know that the menu might as well be a Choose Your Own Adventure novel.  When you open the menu, you first choose what type of dish you’re looking for – an entrée, a noodle dish, a rice dish, or a curry-based dish.  You can create any combination of noodles or rice, eggs, tofu, and veggies, and style of cooking.

Personally, I’m attached to the Drunken Noodle entrée, which is a noodle dish based in a spicy, basil sauce.  Because I’m picky, and I don’t like eggs in my asian food,  and nor do I like tofu (despite the number of chances I’ve given it, I can’t get past the texture), I usually get the Drunken Noodle with rice noodles, vegetables and extra vegetables.  I realize that sounds redundant to those of you unfamiliar with Noodle St.’s menu, but “vegetables & tofu” (I ask for no tofu) and “extra vegetables,” are distinct menu options.

My second favorite option here is the red curry, even though it isn’t the spiciest of the curry options.  The flavor and weight of the red curry complements my usual option of vegetables and extra vegetables, and a side of brown rice brings a nutty flavor to the food that white rice can’t compete with.  If your spice tolerance isn’t at the level mine is, the brown rice also takes some of the edge off the red curry, allowing you to devour even more in each sitting.

Finally, my third favorite option is the pad thai.  Pad thai is based on a peanut sauce, so it’s actually very mild.  It doesn’t lack for flavor though: the vegetables don’t overpower the peanut flavor of the pad thai.  It is in a completely different category from the spicy red curry or the spicy basil infused drunken noodle, and if I find myself at Noodle Street often, I welcome the change.  I like this dish with the wide noodle, even though the wide noodle itself is a type of rice noodle.

I have found that if I emphasize the “extra vegetables” part, I end up with a better ratio of vegetables to noodles than one part vegetables, 3 parts noodles. The vegetables included are fresh basil, red bell peppers, green chilis, snow peas, crinkle-cut carrots, onions, green beans and broccoli.   The combination mixes well and all of the vegetables are always cooked just right.

That being said, Noodle St. is notorious for its exceptionally cursory service.  While I’ve never received something I did not order, and I have never found anything wrong with my food, I have had to physically flag down waitresses to have my water refilled, I have had parts of my order forgotten, yet they still appeared on my bill.  The final positive side to Noodle St. is that most entrées cost around $10-$15, so it’s a completely viable restaurant dinner option for college students.

  • What’s your favorite dish at Noodle Street?
  • How do you feel about pan-Asian food in general?
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