Monday, June 15, 2009

All-Color Wild Rice Salad

I like to bring cold side dishes to the table for Shabbat lunch, to serve along with my legendary sweet and spicy cholent. This rice salad is fun and different, and the longer it sits in the refrigerator, the better the flavor has time to bloom. Tip: For a main course meal on a weeknight, mix in some sliced, cooked chicken breast and a little more sauce.

1 package quick-cooking long grain wild rice (I use Lundberg, newly certified by the O-U!)
2 to 3 cups water (according to package directions)
10-20 mini-carrots, sliced into dimes
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 half red onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 large handful grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1 to 11/2 cups low sodium soy sauce
1 to 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
I half cup smooth peanut butter (I use reduced fat)
cayenne pepper
chopped peanuts for garnish

Prepare the rice according to package directions, except don't add any salt and err on the side of undercooking (usually about 30-40 minutes simmering). You want the wild rice to not have fully bloomed when you turn off the heat.

Par-boil (blanch) your veggies, except for the tomatoes and red onion, separately in another pot of water, cooking them your chopped celery, pepper and carrots for about 5 minutes. If you throw them in a bowl with ice after they're cooked, they will maintain their color for days!

While the rice and vegetables are cooking, prep you sauce. Put a half cup of peanut butter in a large bowl and start stirring in the soy sauce. Add enough soy sauce, usually about 1 cup, until you have a dark, smooth mixture, with no lumps. Throw in your tablespoon or two of toasted sesame oil and keep stirring until it's all smooth. Add one or two pinches of cayenne, according to taste.

When the rice is done, tip it all into your bowl of peanut sauce and mix thoroughly. After the rice has cooled a little, add your raw chopped red onions and halved grape tomatoes. Chill in the fridge until you're ready to serve. Garnish with chopped peanuts.

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