Skip to content

day 13 – the secret is in the sauce

November 13, 2008

rice bowl

Folks, I’m about to share a big secret with you.  I’ve been carrying this secret around with me since I left Nelson, BC in 2002.  It has traveled from coast to coast, been tucked between pages of old books, tossed in drawers, forgotten, remembered, dripped on, spilled over, crumpled and wrinkled.  A friend passed it on to me when I left the mountains and I’ve kept it close to my heart ever since, but today I feel like sharing it with you… my secret recipe.

When I was living in Nelson, one of my absolute favorite restaurants was the Rice Bowl, which has since changed owners and been renamed the Rice Bistro (just doesn’t have the same ring to it… somehow rice & bistro are like beer & ice cream… ya just don’t mix ’em together).  But back then, it was the Rice Bowl and they served (you guessed it) big bowls of steaming organic brown rice garnished with a wide variety of toppings and sauces.  Thus began my love affair with the tahini rice bowl (rice, baked tamari-ginger tofu, local veggies and tahini sauce).  I’m convinced this dish is featured on heaven’s menu!

Given that I didn’t have much money back then, I couldn’t afford to have a Rice Bowl addiction so I tried, Lord knows I tried so many times, to replicate the sauce at home.  I knew there was tahini and soy sauce in there, without a doubt, but I couldn’t identify the je ne sais quoi that took the sauce to another level.

When I left Nelson, the best going-away gift I received was a piece of parchment paper rolled tightly and tied with a little ribbon… it was the long sought-after tahini sauce recipe.  My friend knew the owner of the restaurant and the owner spilled the beans (or sauce as it were) and my friend figured it could do no harm to share it seeing as I was getting the hell outta Dodge… and I’ve been making rice bowls ever since.

I figure the whole “sworn to secrecy” thing must have an expiration date and good things should be shared in this life and so I present to you the secret sauce that pulls it all together, the pièce de résistance, the flavor that creates a little party in your mouth… ladies and gentlemen… the Rice Bowl Tahini Sauce.

Rice Bowl Tahini Sauce

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1.5 oz Ume-Su Red Plum Vinegar (this was the special ingredient all along)
  • 1.5 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Tahini to desired consistency (usually a good cup, then I add from there to taste)
  • Sometimes, if I’m feeling adventurous, I’ll add a clove of garleek-garleek (I met a guy from England in Hawaii years ago and he was convinced that us Frenchies pronounced garlic “garleek” and I was all, no silly, we have our own French word for garlic, it’s “ail”… but of course I ALWAYS say garleek garleek now – damn you Steve!)

Blend all ingredients except for tahini.   Once evenly mixed, add tahini using a food processor or blender, and blend until the sauce reaches your desired consistency.  Sometimes… often… okay always, I just put everything in a mason jar and shake it up.  That way, I don’t get the food processor dirty and the sauce is already in a sealed container and ready for the fridge!  Will keep in the fridge in sealed container for up to 2 weeks.  This makes about 2.5 cups of sauce.

Do you have a secret recipe that everyone always asks about?

Bon appétit everyone!

8 Comments leave one →
  1. November 14, 2008 2:47 am

    Wow!!! I’m going to copy this one down. I loved the rice bowl. But alas, was not the same when the owners changed and it has since changed hands again and has absolutely nothing to do with rice now. It’s now called Fusion. The food is good, but definitely not the Rice Bowl.

  2. November 14, 2008 6:35 am

    Can’t wait to try this! Thank you for sharing.

  3. November 14, 2008 9:34 am

    I’m definitely going to be trying this out – thank you so much!
    My fall back is buying the Naam’s gravy from a local health store…it’s like a little dash of Vancouver in whatever I eat.

  4. November 19, 2008 6:47 am

    My 10 year old Nell and I tried this last night with the sesame ginger baked tofu, brown rice and snow peas. Yum!!!! We had as much fun cooking together as eating everything for dinner. Thanks J, we loved it!

  5. November 19, 2013 9:38 pm

    Holy SHIT! Almost 15 years later I’m still going on about how much I loved the rice bowl! I was just whining to my partner here in Ontario about how much I wanted it. . . And I decided to google it and see if I would happen to come across any delectable food porn and BAM. The Recipe!!!!!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!! Mmmmm!

  6. Anonymous permalink
    October 14, 2016 12:57 am

    Thank you! The rice bowl blew me away, I actually felt healthier after eating there and have been looking for recipes ever since. Cheers!!!


  1. Tantric Tahini Dressing - Service Poem
  2. Memories of Rice Bowl, Nelson, BC - Service Poem

Penny for your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: