Monday, January 12, 2009

Cold Indian Rice Salad

My mother in law is a great cook. Such an inspiration to my culinary adventures. This is a salad that I am addicted to and I can always count on this to be at any BBQ or summer party she is at. A very easy recipe which can also be made in a rice cooker streamline things, has a great combination of spices that are center stage in this salad. It is my all time favorite!

Cold Indian Rice Salad

1 cup brown rice
1 tsp. curry powder
2 whole cinn sticks, broken3 or 4 whole cardamom pods, slightly crushed
2 cups chicken broth (or H2O)
2 TBSP oil
1/2 C raisins
1/2 Cup chopped almonds=toasted is best
1 10 oz. pkg froz peas
1 Cup mayo mixed w/1 or 2 tsp. curry powder (I go for the 2)

A neat trick: To make life easier in hunting down the cardom pods, I take a needle and double thread and sew them together into a ring. I like to make two of them each with half the pods.
Simmer rice & spices in broth w/oil till broth is absorbed, covered, approx 40 min. (I do this in my rice maker, Again use the approriate amount of liquid according to your rice maker.)

Cool and remove cinn sticks & pods (if you can fine them!-I usually end up dumping in big bowl to cool better and search for pods &  sticks.)

When cool, add thawed peas, raisins, & almonds

Mix in mayo mixed w/curry powder. Chill & enjoy!

Wild Rice Salad

 This is one of my other favorite bring a dish dishes. A few summers ago I was introduced to this salad by our friend Meg in Boston who was super sensitive to my new celiac needs at the time. I have fond memories of sitting on her deck inebriated, freshly engaged, with a bottle of Sailor Jerry rum, DH, and our friend Mike raving about this salad, eating about my 10th serving. It was just that good. 
I also find that with this salad there is a lot of winging it to be had. I really just use this as a guide, no apples use a pear, no walnuts (not a fan) pecans work well. I really do use whatever. I also keep a jar with the "scrap" rice in it for this. You know, when you have that little amount left and dont want to cook it, it goes in the "scrap rice jar". Also this makes great leftovers and is good hot or cold. You really cannot go wrong with it. 

Wild Rice Salad with Apples and Walnuts

1 c wild rice
2 c water
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 tsp salt
1 c coarsely chopped walnuts
1 celery rib
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 c raisins
1 medium red apple (not Delicious), cored and diced
grated rind of 1 lemon

3 tbsp fresh lemon juice (Sometimes I use the bottled juice if I have lemons, and leave out the zest)
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/3 c olive oil

Put the wild rice in a strainer and rinse under cold water. Place it in a medium saucepan along with the water, oil and salt. Cover, bring to a boil, and reduce the heat to simmer. Cook 50 minutes, or until the rice is tender and all the water has been absorbed. (When wild rice is done, it has a tender yet nubby texture.)

Meanwhile, combine the walnuts, celery, scallions, raisins, apple and lemon rind in a large bowl. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil and shake vigorously. Pour half of this dressing on the apple mixture and toss well.
When the rice is done, let it cool until just warm. Combine with the fruit mixture and pour on the remaining dressing. Let sit at least 1 hour before serving at room temperature.

Notes: I usually use 1/2 wild rice and 1/2 Brown rice. (you can use anything really) I also usually do this in the rice maker. When I do it in the rice maker I put the water (use and amount according to your rice maker!!) oil, rice and salt in the rice maker. I despise baby sitting rice on the stove and Love my rice maker deeply! I reccommend that you get/use one! I also vary this recipe according to what I have on hand (fruit, nuts and dried fruit wise) , really anything goes. I always make this salad in a double batch for parties and BBQ's and everyone loves it!