Mixing sweet, juicy papaya into a savory brown rice bowl with gingery pork and fresh cilantro is one of the best things happening in my kitchen this summer. No oven required and only 30 to 40 minutes from start to finish, so this is obviously one of my favorite summer meals but I can actually make it happen with 4 kids clamoring for food. It’s good.
No, but seriously. Are you getting anything done this summer? I’m wondering only because I can’t figure it out. Our schedule this summer is pretty light and we are having a lot of fun, but at the end of every day I rewind a bit and wonder how it’s possible that I managed to feel so busy all day long without accomplishing anything.
I’m calling it Summer Syndrome – the unofficially official name for what happens when you have four kids home all day long and a million things to do and it’s hot and everyone wants to swim and make popsicles and play a hundred rounds of Sorry despite the fact that there are almost five hundred loads of laundry waiting to be washed at any given moment. Plus, everyone’s always hungry. Plus, I always want to go to the mountains or the river when it’s July. Plus, how does anyone keep their house clean with four kids? Summer Syndrome.
I haven’t found the antidote yet, but while we’re muddling through it, these easy Thai Pork and Papaya Bowls are at least treating some of the symptoms. At the very least, it’s a dinner I can get on the table with minimal effort and no oven, which is pretty important during the month of July in New Mexico.
And because they are quick, I have some time left to contemplate how we’ll manage to get a load of laundry done. It requires more strategizing than you might think. On second thought, maybe we’ll skip it and just plan a camping trip instead. I’d rather go camping than clean the house. Summer Syndrome.
A few recipe notes: I used Tamari in this recipe. After I discovered Tamari six or seven years ago, I quit using Soy Sauce and never missed it. You can of course substitute Soy Sauce in this recipe if that’s what you have, but you might want to give Tamari a try. Here’s a post from The Kitchn detailing the differences between the two. If you’re gluten free, Tamari is definitely the superior option. I just prefer the taste of Tamari.
Also, I have used the papaya seeds as a seasoning in this recipe. Eaten on their own, they have a pretty intense, almost spicy, mustardy flavor. Mixed into a rice bowl like this, they add a peppery, subtle flavor. Best of all, they are really good for you and can help aid digestion, support liver function, and help normalize the intestinal environment. I always scooped them out and threw them away until I found a recipe in a Clean Eating magazine that used them. If you haven’t already, give them a try.
- 1 cup long grain brown rice
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 3 teaspoons tamari, plus more for serving
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ lb pork tenderloin sliced into strips
- juice from 1 lime, plus more for serving
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 lb Papaya, peeled and cubed, reserve seeds
- In a medium saucepan, combine rice, 2 cups water, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer. Cook covered for about 30 minutes, or until rice is tender and fluffy and water has been absorbed completely.
- In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil. Add the pork and cook, turning often, until all sides are brown (about 3 minutes). Add the tamari, ginger, and garlic and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until pork is cooked through. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice and cilantro.
- Top cooked rice with the pork, skillet juices and papaya. Garnish with reserved papaya seeds (use about 1 tablespoon, or to your taste preferences). Serve with additional lime juice and tamari as needed.