I took a chance on ordering Allen Lim’s book The Feed Zone Cookbook from Amazon sight unseen. It did not appear to be particularly veg friendly, but I took a chance on it because of Allen Lim’s experience with pro cycling teams. I figured that I could probably find some recipe ideas, and even if I had to modify them. I also got the impression that the stories of feeding pro cyclists during long training days and stage races could be informative as well as entertaining.
But what really attracted me to the book is the myth of Allen Lim’s famous rice cakes. Lim had experience with what the pros call “gut rot” or GI distress coming from an over reliance on sweet sports nutrition, and his solution was savory whole foods. Being of Chinese descent, Lim was partial to white rice, but he found that this low fiber, high carbohydrate food to be very beneficial for athletes. His story of traveling Europe searching for the right kind of rice and rice cookers is almost worth the price of the book.
Enter the Rice Cake
The original recipe combines cooked medium grain calrose rice (sticky like sushi rice) bacon, eggs, and sweet and savory seasonings. Definitely not vegan, and my first reaction was Ewww! I cannot picture eating bacon and eggs on the bike and surviving. But then I thought about the salty, savory taste, and noticed that the bacon and eggs were more for flavoring. So I set out to veganize it while keeping the flavor intact. I substituted a tofu scramble and tempeh bacon strips for the bacon and eggs, and eased up on the seasoning since the tempeh strips were very seasoned.
1 cup calrose rice
1 lb firm tofu
8 strips tempeh bacon strips
2 T nutritional yeast
1 t mustard
1 t onion powder
1 t garlic powder
1/2 t turmeric
1/2 t cumin
Cook the rice
While the rice cooks, saute the tempeh strips until done. Refer to package instructions. Set aside. Scramble and cook tofu with remaining ingredients until done. In a large mixing bowl, combine rice, diced tempeh strips and tofu scramble. Mix well so that flavors are evenly distributed. Spread mixture into a rectangular casserole dish, cover and refrigerate until cool.
Cut rice cakes into single servings, and wrap in aluminum foil, or parchment paper then foil.
Stuff ’em in your pockets and go!