I’m back! With party food! Well, a rice-y salad – but it’s much better than the Martha salad I made the other week. This last week has been insanely hot, 30c and really clammy. Hate it. I thought that making a salad would be the ultimate rain-dance. It wasn’t, it was still hot and I was covered in pineapple (I obviously wasn’t sticky enough), and the rain that tried to fall in my corner of London came down as steam… but at least I had salad; and it’s the salad I’m bringing along to Fiesta Friday! It’s been a while!
When I was young my gran would always make a rice dish at family parties – it was yellow with bits of tinned orange and peas in it, and I thought this was an update of that recipe (I’d make the actual recipe but every time I ask my gran she says it’s a secret, which either means she makes it up as she goes along, or has been secretly buying it frozen since 1964).
This recipe is in the Hairy Bikers diet book, and like all the recipes – it uses a lot of ingredients, but I had all the spices and just had to buy in the rice and fruit/veg. That would never have happened when I started the new recipe night project. This week the ingredient that had never before darkened my kitchen was wholegrain rice – I’d had it at friends’ houses, but never cooked it myself. I don’t know why I left it so long – it didn’t take as long to cook as I thought it would, and I’ve been getting a bit bored of bismati rice.
This recipe serves 4 as a lunch, or 6 as an accompaniment, or maybe more in a bowl at a barbeque, and is roughly 800 calories for the whole dish. You will need 125g easy-cook wholegrain rice, olive oil, half a medium red onion, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp ground coriander, half a tsp ground turmeric, a small un-waxed lemon, 1 small pineapple (200g prepared weight), half a cucumber, 100g red grapes, handful of chopped up coriander.
Tip 125g of rice into a half full pan of boiling water, stir the rice then bring to the boil. The recipe says to cook for 10 minutes, but this depends on how easy-cook your rice is, and if it’s not easy cook then follow the instructions on the packet.
Once the rice is on, finely chop the onion, half the grapes, cut the cucumber into into 1.5cm chunks and the pineapple into 2cm chunks. I think I’d cut the cucumber up smaller next time, the chunks were too big – and I’d use prepared pineapple.
Heat 2tsp of olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and soften the onion in it for about 4 minutes. Add the cumin, ground coriander and turmeric and cook for about 30 seconds before adding 2 tablespoons of cold water.
Cook for about 2 minutes – stirring continuously – until the the water has evaporated, then remove from the heat and add the zest and juice of the lemon. Stir and leave to cool.
Mix the cucumber, grapes and pineapple in a party-proof serving bowl. When the rice is cooked drain it in a sieve/strainer and then run it under the cold tap until the rice is cool, then tip it into the onion pan and stir it around until the rice is fully coated in the onions and spice mix. Stir the rice mix into the fruit in the serving bowl, scatter it with chopped coriander and serve to your adoring guests.
HA the ultimate serving suggestion! I should have added some more cocktail umbrellas but I can’t remember where I put them.
Would I make it again? Yes and no… I would make the rice and stir it into the onion and spice, maybe with some sultanas, but I don’t think I’d go the whole hog with the bits of pineapple. The second night we had it I served it with some barbeque chicken I got from the deli counter and it was much nicer than eating it on its own.
The Hairy Dieters by Dave Myers and Si King (Weidenfield & Nicholson/Orion 2012 ISBN: 978 0 297 86905 4)