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Asian Rice Bowl Buffet

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Asian Rice Bowl Buffet

Asian Rice Bowl Buffet

Jessica Braider
Rice bowls are one of my favorite ways to get picky eaters to try new foods. All of the components to the meal are put on the table in serving bowls and then everyone gets to make their meal the way they like it. This approach helps to take away some of pressure that some picky eaters feels, which then opens them up to trying new things. This version, the Asian Rice Bowl Buffet, is inspired by Mollie Katzen’s Polka Dot Rice recipe from her excellent kids cookbook, Pretend Soup.
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Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Asian
Servings 6 servings


  • 2 cups cups brown or white rice or use 1 cup of each
  • 16 oz. extra-firm tofu or diced chicken breast drained, wrapped in a clean dishtowel to remove excess moisture, and diced, if using tofu
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut or vegetable oil
  • 3 Tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce or teriyaki sauce (use wheat/gluten-free, if needed)
  • 16 oz. mixed diced vegetables fresh or frozen
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sesame oil


  • Cook the rice according to the package directions.
  • Meanwhile, drain and cube the tofu and wrap it in a clean dry cloth for 10 minutes to absorb extra water. (If using chicken, simply dice the chicken into 1-inch pieces before cooking it.)
  • Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the tofu (or chicken) to the pan, and cook it for 10 – 15 minutes (or until it is just cooked through, for chicken), turning it occasionally, until it is golden brown.
  • Drizzle 1 Tbsp. soy sauce over the tofu (or chicken) and toss it for a minute over the heat to let it absorb the flavor. Transfer the tofu (or chicken) to a serving bowl.
  • Steam the vegetables on the stovetop or defrost them in the microwave (cook them just until they are just tender, but not mushy) and transfer them to a serving bowl.
  • To serve, put about 1 cup of rice in each bowl and let each family member top it with vegetables, tofu (or chicken), about 1 tsp. of soy sauce (or other Asian sauce), and ¼ tsp. of sesame oil.


Do Ahead or Delegate: Cook the rice, drain and dice the tofu and refrigerate if using, dice and refrigerate the chicken if using, steam the vegetables.
Scramble Flavor Booster: Add some minced garlic to the pan when cooking the tofu and/or sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds on top of the finished dish.
Tip: Once you’ve opened a bag of frozen vegetables, pour out whatever amount you need as opposed to reaching in with your hand.  This will keep you from introducing any bacteria that you may have on your hands to the vegetables.
Video: Watch Jessica make these on Facebook Live!
Keyword 30 Minutes (or less) Meals, Dairy-Free, Dinner, Fall, Gluten-Free, Kid-Friendly, Kosher, Main Dish, Make-Ahead, Nut-Free, Spring, Summer, Vegan, Vegetarian, Winter
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