Red Rice Salad with Avocado and Grilled Corn

I have a list. Well, I have many lists, but in particular, I have a list for which recipes to post and when.

All bloggers have a list like that, right??

Well, the problem I find is that I cook way, way, WAY more than I post. Now because of this, my precious list is in constant flux. Seasonal dishes have to move down the list, waiting for their time to come around again because I just didn’t get to them.

And for that, I blame the Internet.

There are just too many recipes out there to try, and when you throw in all the cookbooks, magazines and trying to recreate meals you’ve had at restraints, it becomes a hell of a feat to create the weekly menu. We’ve spoken about this before.
Red Rice Salad with Avocado and Grilled Corn

That’s exactly what happened this week. I was supposed to post a yummy, go-to lentil salad that actually makes lentils look pretty, but Yotam struck again with his weekly column in The Guardian and I just had to try this red rice salad with grilled corn and other goodies. And then, once I had tried it, I had to post it. Immediately.

It. Was. That. Good.
Red Rice Salad with Avocado and Grilled Corn

This red rice salad is nothing short of amazing. It is perfectly balanced in both flavour and texture, and is great both warm for dinner and cold the next day for lunch – if you are lucky enough to have leftovers. And the dressing… Just yum.

I’m sharing this salad with the happy revellers at Fiesta Friday #89 and this week’s co-hosts, Angie @The Novice Gardener, Mila @Milk and Bun and Kaila @GF Life 24/7. There will be extra dressing for all who link up to the party!

Red Rice Salad with Avocado and Grilled Corn

  • Servings: serves 4 to 6
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Red Rice Salad with Avocado and Grilled Corn

Ingredients

  • 150g Camargue red rice
  • 1 large red onion (peeled, quartered and the individual layers separated)
  • 1 tablespoon groundnut oil
  • Salt
  • 2 corn cobs (peeled if in husks, trimmed and cleaned)
  • 6-7 spring onions (trimmed)
  • 150g edamame beans (blanched for 30 seconds and drained)
  • 80g snow peas (cut diagonally)
  • 2 medium avocados (peeled and stoned just before serving, then cut into 2cm dice)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (toasted, to serve)
  • 15g coriander leaves (optional)
  • 1 lime (cut into wedges, to serve)

For the dressing

  • 1½ tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ¾ teaspoon caster sugar
  • ½ teaspoon flaked chilli
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
  • 3 tablespoon groundnut oil
  • ¾ teaspoon sesame oil

Method

  1. Fill a medium saucepan with plenty of water and place on a high heat. Once boiling, add the rice and cook for 25 minutes, until soft but still retaining a bite. Drain, refresh under cold water, set aside in a colander to dry, then transfer to a large bowl.
  2. While the rice is cooking, use a freestanding or hand-blender to blitz all the dressing ingredients with a quarter teaspoon of salt until smooth and thick, then set aside.
  3. Put a ridged griddle pan on a high heat and ventilate your kitchen. In a medium bowl, mix the onion with the oil and a quarter teaspoon of salt. When the pan starts to smoke, add the onion and cook for four minutes, turning over every 30 seconds, until the individual leaves are soft and charred all over, then transfer to the rice bowl.
  4. Lay the corn cobs on the griddle and cook for six minutes, turning them every minute or so, until charred on all sides. Remove from the heat and, once cool enough to handle, hold each cob upright on a board and use a sharp knife to shave off the kernels in clumps. Add these to the rice bowl.
  5. Lay the spring onions in the griddle and cook for six minutes, turning them over often, until charred and smoky all over. Remove from the heat, chop into 5cm-long pieces and add to the bowl.
  6. When you’re ready to serve, add the snow peas and avocados to the bowl, pour over the dressing and toss Serve in individual portions, sprinkling each with sesame seeds and picked coriander, if you like, with a lime wedge on the side.

Note: Yotam tosses the salad very gently; preferring to not have the ingredients completely evenly distributed. Apparently I need to work on this… Otherwise, toss the whole thing into one mixed salad and serve.

Recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi’s column in The Guardian.

Paneer Palak with Cumin Rice – A Bright Green Dish for a Colourful Celebration

Indian food and I have only recently become friends.

I am probably very much in the minority here, but I simply do not see the appeal of butter chicken, or its paneer variation.

Indian food and I have a much cosier relationship now because of two discoveries; dal is like a thick version of a lentil soup and paneer is actually nothing like un-pressed and unappealing cottage cheese.

Paneer Palak with Cumin Rice

In honour of today’s Indian celebration, Holi, I set out to make my first, real (I hope!) Indian curry. Paneer Palak is a bright green curry of spinach leaves, vibrant spices and paneer that is mellow enough to be enjoyed by all.

I know that the festival of colours is traditionally held to welcome spring. But for the rest of us on the other side of the world, I like to think that it can also say hello to autumn, where a completely different range of colours are slowly seeping into the landscape.

But location doesn’t really matter when we can celebrate Holi with all the other Fiesta Friday-loving folk over at The Novice Gardener, where Angie is this week joined by co-hosts Caroline @Caroline’s Cooking and Elaine @foodbod.

Happy Holi and Fiesta Friday #58, everyone!

Paneer Palak with Cumin Rice

Paneer Palak with Cumin Rice

Ingredients

  • 1 long green chilli (chopped)
  • 2 cm piece of ginger (chopped)
  • 2 garlic cloves (chopped)
  • 1 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 bunches English spinach (roughly chopped)
  • 120ml water (divided)
  • 2 tablespoons ghee (divided)
  • 200g paneer (cut into 3cm cubes)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 cups of basmati rice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 ½ cups water
  • 1 large onion (finely chopped)
  • 3 tomatoes (chopped)
  • 125 ml pouring cream

Method

  1. Process chilli, ginger, garlic, coriander, garam masala, cumin, half the spinach and half the water (60ml) in a food processor to a rough paste; add more water to loosen if necessary.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of ghee in a large, deep frying pan over high heat. Add paneer and cook, turning occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes or until golden on all sides. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel covered plate to drain. Set aside.
  3. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of ghee in the same pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes or until softened. Add the spinach paste and cook for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add the tomatoes, cream, the remainder 60ml of water and the paneer, and cook for 3 minutes or until the tomatoes are starting to soften. Add remaining bunch of spinach and cook for 3 minutes or until just wilted. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and cook until fragrant. Add the rice and salt and stir to coat. Add the water, stir briefly, cover with a tight-fitting lid. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the rice for 15 to 20 minutes* and the water has been absorbed.  Cover the saucepan with a tea towel, put the lid back on and allow to stand for five minutes. Serve the cumin rice topped with paneer palak.

* Rice should not be cooked for longer than 20 minutes – any longer it will start to turn gluggy.

Recipe by adapted from SBS Food.

Rice Bowl with Roasted Vegetables, Tofu and Pine Nuts

So what happens when, in the same month, you: buy concert tickets, go to two gallery exhibitions, spend a small fortune in a new spice store, buy a Versace scarf for your niece’s 21st birthday (on sale!), and buy a new food processor?

You say oops and cook cheaper, but tasty, meals until pay day!

Image

Rice Bowl with Roasted Vegetables, Tofu and Pine Nuts

Inspired by the Super Food Ideas Magazine.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups long-grain rice
  • 1 large sweet potato (peeled, cut into 2cm pieces)
  • 2 corn cobs (unhusked)
  • 1 head of broccoli (cut into small florets)
  • 200g packet honey-soy tofu (cut into 2cm cubes)
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil (or vegetable or olive oil)
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • Sweet chilli sauce (to serve, optional)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
  2. Place the sweet potato and broccoli florets on a baking tray in a single layer. Drizzle over two tablespoons of the sesame oil and add the spices. Bake for 30 minutes, tossing half way through, or until tender and golden brown (or slightly charred for the broccoli).
  3. Place the unhusked corn cobs on a separate baking tray and bake for 20 minutes. Remove and allow to cool slightly.
  4. Cook the rice as per your favourite cooking method. (For tips on cooking rice via the absorption method, visit this post.)
  5. Dry roast the pine nuts in a small frying pan over medium-low heat. When they become fragrant and begin to colour, remove them immediately from the pan and into a small bowl. Set aside.
  6. Add the remaining tablespoon of sesame oil to the same frying pan over medium-high heat and cook the tofu until it just barely begins to crisp along the edges, stirring frequently, about five minutes.
  7. When the corn cobs are cool enough to handle, strip back the husks and, using a sharp knife, carefully cut the kernels from the cob.
  8. Combine the rice, roasted vegetables, tofu and pine nuts. Drizzle with sweet chilli sauce and serve.

Perfect Rice and Vegetarian Four-Bean Chilli… Of Sorts – Lessons from my Sister

My kitchen is pretty well stocked. For an apartment, I’m lucky to have quite a big kitchen, and it took me no time at all to go shopping for kitchen implements to fill my cupboards with. Sure, some of my toys are not used regularly, but hey, they are always there ready and waiting for when I do decide to use them!

One thing I don’t have is a rice cooker. And you know what? I don’t want one! Nor do I have the room for one now.

I learnt how to make perfect rice when I was quite young. My mum cooked pretty good rice when I was a kid, but mum is a cook of her generation, which means she does not measure anything! She just throws everything into a pot and it somehow always comes together. I know this style of cooking used to drive my sister insane, as she could never replicate what mum had made. I remember watching them both in the kitchen one day, my mum just doing her thing with my sister trailing behind, measuring cups in hand, recording the recipes.

It was my sister who taught me how to cook rice using the absorption method, shortly after I successfully cooked my first pumpkin soup as a kid. By then she had built on the foundations my mum had shown her, incorporating little cooking and seasoning tricks from one of our aunts and a friend of hers.

Over the years, I have also come to learn that the method a person uses to cook rice is quite personal. Those that cook rice by using the boiling method will adamantly refuse to cook rice by the absorption method and vice versa. All I know is that the method described below produces perfect fluffy rice every time, so all I need to do is focus on what is going to go on top of my rice… Like a vegetarian four-bean chilli of sorts… with avocado… and sour cream!

Perfect Rice and Vegetarian Four-Bean Chilli

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Serves 4

Ingredients for Perfect Rice

  • 2 cups uncooked long-grain rice
  • 10g butter (2 tablespoons of oil can be substituted)
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 3 cups of hot water
  • 2 teaspoons seasoning of your choice (I use Vegetta vegetable stock powder, but you could use a variety of spices depending on what you are pairing the rice with)

Ingredients for Vegetarian Four-Bean Chilli

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion (peeled, finely chopped)
  • 1 small red chilli (seeded, chopped)
  • 1 red capsicum (chopped)
  • 1/4 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 420g can mixed beans (drained, rinsed)
  • 425g can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 avocados
  • 4 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 cups cooked rice

Method for Perfect Rice

  1. Choose a large, heavy-based saucepan with a tight fitting lid.
  2. Over medium-high heat, melt the butter and add the seasoning and uncooked rice. Stir to coat.
  3. Add the stock and water. Stir once more.
  4. Lower the heat to medium-low and cover. If you are not using a heavy-based saucepan, or if you are using a stainless steel saucepan, lower the heat to low.
  5. Set a timer to 15 minutes and do not remove the lid during that time.
  6. After 15 minutes, lift the lid and see how much liquid is left. If there is still some liquid that needs to be absorbed, turn up the heat to medium-low and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Never cook rice for more than 20 minutes.
  7. Once the heat has been turned off, place a clean dish towel over the pot and then add the lid over the dish towel – it should fit tightly. Allow to stand for five minutes.
  8. Remove the lid and dish towel and fluff the cooked rice with a fork. Serve.

Method for Vegetarian Four-Bean Chilli

  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat add the olive oil, onions, garlic, fresh chilli and capsicum. Cook until softened.
  2. Add the chilli flakes, cinnamon, cumin and thyme and cook for a further minute or two, or until the herbs start to smell flavourful
  3. Add the rinsed beans, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir to combine.
  4. Cover and allow to simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Remove the lid and cook for a further 5 minutes to allow the chilli to thicken slightly.
  6. Serve over rice with an avocado half and sour cream.

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