A sauce in honor of this beloved Cambridge spot in the heyday of its peak funkiness, when the menu was impossible to read, the wild line situation brought out hippies’ suppressed aggression, and every local had an annoyingly complicated order (no way, my order of the “Emperor bowl, with tofu, no cheese, add cashews, add avocado, and an extra side of sauce on the side” is completely reasonable).
Now the place looks more like a sweetgreen franchise than a place where you’re likely to encounter a flute and bongo concert in the basement (which may or may not have been sanctioned by the restaurant). But the sauce is still damn tasty. Long live Life Alive!
1/4 cup soy sauce / tamari / liquid aminos
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp roasted sesame oil
2 tbsp miso (dark or red miso is preferable to mellow light)
3 tbsp coconut sugar (or preferred sweetener)
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tbsp water
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until fully combined and emulsified.
What to do with the sauce, though?!
This sauce is great in any type of ‘buddha bowl’ situation, but if you want to recreate the beloved Emperor bowl, that is its ultimate form. This is a beast to assemble, but so darn worth it. You can pre-prep the components in batches and assemble bowls several times throughout the week to help bring down the work-to-bowl ratio.
Cook some brown rice, add small cubes of raw firm tofu so that they’re decently scattered throughout, mix to combine with enough sauce to lightly coat everything. Make a medium-sized mound of the rice mixture on a plate.
Lightly steam kale and place it into a circle around the rice mound.
Steam some corn kernels, shredded carrots, and rehydrated sun-dried tomato (not the oil-packed kind) and place this mixture all across the surface of the rice mound. It doesn’t need to be a super-thick layer, but you shouldn’t see much rice anymore.
Sprinkle some unroasted/unsalted cashews around on top of the circle of kale.
Slice a half avocado and add it on top of the rice mound.
Add a generous drizzle of sauce in a zig-zag over the whole plate.
Serve with lots of extra sauce on the side and a giant shaker of nooch!