Chad’s martial arts sensei, Miyako Tanaka, was a very special and distinctive woman. Her proficiency in Naginata, a Japanese spear art originally practiced by women, brought her to the United States, and here she established an excellent dojo and an entire generations of students who adored and respected her. She was a fierce woman, and at the same time, a kind one, with an abiding love for Japanese tradition, a quiet sense of humor, and innate nobility.
We lost Tanaka Sensei a few years ago and we miss her very much. One of the many ways in which we remember her is by cooking Sukoyaka Genmai, which is a short-grain, lightly milled brown rice she favored. She is the one who told us about it, saying it was “the very best brown rice,” and, indeed, it is delicious! I like eating it simply steamed in water, but today I made a special version that enriches it with fiber and nutrients from lovely greens. This is a slightly healthier version of the classic Mexican arroz verde, and you can serve it with a bean or lentil dish or with tortillas.
2 cups kale, chopped
1 cup parsley, chopped
1 cup cilantro, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper
2 garlic cloves
2 cups short-grain brown rice
water or vegetable broth (2.5 cups if cooking in a pressure cooker, 4 cups for stovetop cooking)
juice from 2 lemons
salt to taste
Place the kale, parsley, cilantro, jalapeño, and garlic in a food processor and process until very finely chopped.
Transfer the green mixture to a pot or a pressure cooker, add rice and water, mix well, and cook rice until tender.
Fluff rice with fork, add lemon juice and salt and fluff again.