Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Black Rice Salad with Mango and Peanuts

About three months ago, we made a wonderful Meatless Monday dinner with Forbidden Black Rice as the main ingredient. We enjoyed it so much that we wanted to find another way to use this unusual ingredient (and we still had the remains of the original package in the pantry - waste not, want not).  Searching for some inspiration over the weekend, Cyn found a recipe in this month's Bon Appetit magazine that featured the Forbidden Rice! Although she certainly was inspired by and used components of the recipe, she made significant enough modifications that I feel confident in calling the following her own.

We are well into Spring here in Northern Virginia and the weather has turned warm, making salad very appealing as a main course. But this week, Monday was raw and rainy, prompting Cyn to want to serve something warm and comforting as a first course. She settled on a simple miso soup. Miso, if you are unfamiliar, is a traditional Japanese seasoning made by fermenting rice and soybeans with salt and the fungus koji-kin. The result is a thick paste used in a myriad of ways in Japanese cooking. It's available in many grocery stores, particularly if you have a significant Asian community in your area. There is a wide variety of miso available, often differing from one another in the fermentation time. We like to blend two varieties to reach a flavor profile that suits our taste. This blend yields a very savory, slightly salty and satisfying broth.

Ingredients (miso soup)
  • 4 cups water
  • 3/8 cup white miso paste
  • 1/8 cup red miso paste
  • 2 sliced shitake mushrooms
  • 1 sliced green onion (green part only)

Preparation (miso soup)
  • Bring water to a boil in a sauce pan
  • Stir in miso pastes until fully dissolved
  • Reduce heat to simmer
  • Add mushrooms and green onions
  • Simmer 2-3 minutes additionally
  • Serve hot

Doesn't get any easier than that, huh?

We love salads - all kinds. It's easy to get caught up in the "traditional" lettuce, cucumber, pepper, carrot, (you get the picture), salad. We try to find ingredients that make our salads more interesting, flavorful and fun. So this one, with the black rice as a major component, was right up out alley. The inclusion of fruit is always appealing to us and the addition of the peanuts, for texture, was also. Cynthia wanted to add a little more protein to hers -- thus the fried egg. As you know if you're a regular reader, eggs are not my thing, although I'll admit it made a nice presentation.

Ingredients (salad)
  • One juice orange
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 2 3/4 cups water
  • 2 cups black rice (preferably Lotus Foods Forbidden Black Rice)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 just ripe mango, peeled pitted and cut into 1/4 inch dice
  • 1 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup unsalted, dry roasted peanuts
  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded, minced
  • 1 egg, fried

Preparation (salad)
With fried egg
  • Bring water with rice added to boil in a sauce pan
  • Lightly season with salt
  • Cover and reduce heat to simmer
  • cook until all liquid is absorbed (approx 25 mins)
  • Remove from heat and let stand (covered) for 10-15 minutes
  • Spread cooked rice on a baking pan, lightly salt and allow to cool

  • Remove orange sections, working over a bowl to catch the juices
  • Squeeze orange membranes to collect remaining juices
  • Remove pith from orange sections and reserve them
  • Combine orange juices and lime juice
  • Reserve
Without egg

  • Place mango, cooled rice, parsley, red onion, peanuts and jalapenos in a large bowl
  • Add citrus dressing
  • Toss lightly
  • Season to taste with salt and more lime juice if desired
  • Plate, garnish with orange sections and add fried egg on top (optional)
  • Serve at room temperature.

The salad was hearty without being heavy and the oranges and mangoes were perfected offset and complimented by the peanuts. The parsley can be traded out for cilantro if that is your preferred flavor. Chalk up another successful use for the "Emperor's Rice".


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