Many of my favorite ingredients from Thai cuisine combine in this stunning salad. Only, because I'm a Southern gal--southern U.S. that is--I include a peach where someone else might include a more authentic papaya or mango. The colors alone are intoxicating. But the flavor? It will transport you right to the tiny island nation. If you're thinking this sounds like a carb fest, don't fret! I tend to shy away from dishes with too much rice or pasta. So, I kept adding vegetables and fruit until I felt I had created a nice ratio. But the rice is definitely needed for color contrast, an appealingly nutty flavor, and a slightly chewy texture, not to mention a bit of protein.
Bangkok Black Rice Salad With Fresh Peach [Vegan]
- 1 cup Thai black rice, simmered gently in 1 3/4 cups water over medium heat, covered, for about 35 minutes--watch closely and add more water or reduce heat if necessary--then cooled
- 1 large peach, pitted, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1 small cucumber (about 6 inches), cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1/2 cup diced red onion
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup lightly salted and roasted cashew halves and pieces
- 2 to 3 tablespoons each fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped mint preferably not spearmint), and finely chopped Thai or Vietnamese basil
- 2 to 3 tablespoons vegan fish sauce (it is sold as "vegetarian" in Asian markets)
- Zest and juice of 1/2 of a large lime
- 2 to 3 teaspoons natural sugar
- 1 small medium-hot chili, stemmed, cored, seeds removed, and minced
- Pinch of sea salt or to taste
- In a medium bowl, combine all salad ingredients.
- In a small cup or bowl whisk together all dressing ingredients, and check for flavor balance, adding more of any ingredient if you choose.
- Pour the dressing over the salad, and toss with a fork to combine.
- Check for salt and adjust if necessary.
- Serve at room temperature or chilled.
If you can't find black rice--our local Kroger carries it in the International foods aisle--perhaps substitute a wild rice combined with a Jasmine rice, and cook them according to package directions. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.