Bol renversé – egg, chicken and pak choi rice bowl

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This bol renversé recipe by Selina Periampillai sees layers of chicken, vegetables and rice packed into a bowl to form a dome, which is then topped with a perfectly oozing fried egg. The Island Kitchen by Selina Periampillai (Bloomsbury, £26.00) is out now. Photography by Yuki Sugiura, 2019.

First published in 2019

The Creole bol renversé translates (unsurprisingly) as ‘upside-down bowl’. It’s a theatrical Sino-Mauritian dish that is found on Chinese restaurant menus and in cafés dotted across the island.

The surprise is in the unveiling of the perfect dome of rice, topped with chicken and vegetables in a soy and oyster sauce. It is then crowned with a fried egg, which I take great pleasure in piercing so the golden yolk trickles down the sides.





Soak the rice for 30 minutes in cold water (or wash a few times until the water runs clear). Drain well. Cook the basmati rice according to the packet instructions
Place all the prepared vegetables and the chicken on a large plate, so everything is ready to add to the wok
Place a large wok over a high heat and add the vegetable oil. Once the oil is hot add in the onion, garlic and ginger and, using a metal spoon or spatula, keep stirring the ingredients in the pan to avoid burning. Fry for 1–2 minutes
Tip in the carrot, mushrooms, corn and chicken strips, give that all a good mix together and cook for 2 minutes while stirring. Next goes in the pak choi, which will wilt down eventually
Create the base of the sauce by adding the soy, oyster and fish sauces into the wok and give them a good stir. Pour in the cornflour water mixture – this will thicken it all up and result in a glossy, light brown liquid
Turn the heat down to a medium simmer, cover and gently cook for 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked throughout and the corn and carrots are softened, but still retain a slight crunch. Set aside
In the meantime, fry the eggs. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan on a medium-high heat and crack in the eggs, one at a time. Cook for around 4 minutes, taking care not to break the yolks, then turn off the heat and let them sit for 1 minute
Take four medium-sized bowls, one per person, and begin to layer up your magic bowl. First divide the chicken and vegetable mixture into each bowl, then divide the rice equally and gently press down so you can’t see any of the chicken mixture
Take a dinner plate and get ready to invert the bowl (this is the trick). Place the plate over the bowl and, holding the plate securely, flip it over (so the bowl is upside down on the plate). Gently lift up the bowl to unveil the bol renversé, and carefully place an egg on the top. Scatter with chives and serve

Selina Periampillai is a British-born Mauritian food pioneer, self-taught chef and author of The Island Kitchen.

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