In all honesty, I wouldn’t exactly consider this an “Oriental” dish in any sense of the word, other than the fact that it contains a few ingredients common to Oriental cuisine: soy sauce, water chestnuts, and mushrooms. The only reason I’m going along with this, in my opinion at least, strange naming convention is that I feel like it could become more “Oriental” by possibly upping the amounts of soy sauce and water chestnuts, and maybe by adding some lovely fresh sliced scallions as a garnish at the end. Regardless of whether or not a recipe of this kind would ever end up in an Oriental household, it’s a truly delicious dish. Rice by itself can be bland, and sometimes an authentic helping of good old fried rice is greasy, bursting with calories and fat, and sometimes just nothing to write home to mom about. This baked version, on the other hand, is absolutely amazing. I love that the recipe calls for wild rice instead of plain brown or white, becomes it adds a fabulous bit of texture to the dish. With that, and the crunch from the almonds, this rice is almost yummy enough to have as a main course. The recipe listed below makes a huge amount, and it was served in our family as part of Christmas Eve dinner. If you’re looking to make this for fewer people, I suggest halving the recipe; I wouldn’t go any lower than that because it’s still yummy as a leftover for up to 3 days. Enjoy – and please share if you make this any more “Oriental” in your own way!
3 cups long-grain wild rice, cooked [600 calories]
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
2 tablespoons salted butter [200 calories]
2 tablespoons soy sauce [30 calories]
1 8 ounce can sliced water chestnuts [220 calories]
1 can sliced mushrooms [50 calories]
1/3 cup sliced almonds [225 calories]
1 tablespoon olive oil [120 calories]
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease/use cooking spray a large casserole dish.
While vegetables are cooking, warm a small pan over medium heat. Add the oil, swirl to coat the pan, and toss in the almonds. Toast the almonds, shaking the pan or stirring frequently until nicely browned, about 2-3 minutes. Be careful, as they can easily burn.
Bake the casserole for 20-30 minutes, or until warmed through and crunchy on top. Serve with anything, or toss in some cooked chicken or pork to make a complete meal.
My mother had this hidden in her enormous recipe box on Christmas Eve, so there’s no telling where it originated from…