There are some dishes that make an impression on you because they include a number of impressionable ingredients. This is a salad made of rice and vegetables. That’s all really. Actually, it’s more than that. It’s a salad made of rice and vegetables and truly authentic Thai ingredients that mesh in a colorful, filling, spicy, crunchy meal. One of the main ingredients in this dish is coconut oil. We received a free sample of Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil to review, and honestly, as is the case, it took a while to actually get around to it. In truth, the coconut oil was used a good bit, but all of the applications were haphazard as it was the first time cooking with the alternative oil. A little here to saute shrimp and scallions, a bit there to pan fry potatoes with garam masala, a drizzle over toast. It was a good addition to those dishes, and it proved to be great in this simple rice salad as well. When you combine several special, unique ingredients in one meal, the end result is going to hold its own.
Coconut oil has been an excellent moisturizer for skin and hair, which is truthfully the only way it’s been used in one of our households. How funny that it’s never been in a dish. Well, this was the time. The coconut oil added a subtle and welcomed supple texture to the rice and vegetables, while of course acting as a conduit of flavor introduction. Coconut oil’s fairly mid-range smoke point makes it a great choice for cooking in the medium to medium high heat range, which is perfect for everyday cooking. It would’ve been nice to really stir fry the veggies at a super high heat to cook them hard and fast, but it’s no big deal. In the end, the mix of the coconut oil and sesame oil added great levels of flavor to the fresh, bright greens. Cilantro’s probably not a new addition to you, but Chinese chives and Thai basil may be unknown. Chinese chives are long, broad and flat with a faint hint of garlic to the tongue. Purple-stemmed Thai basil is a sweet basil with a very slight anise flavor. The green papaya, which is just an unripe papaya, adds a crunchy element to the entire salad. You can find Chinese chives, Thai basil, Thai chilies, fish sauce and green papaya at just about any Asian or Thai market, so keep an eye out for them. Then make this salad.
Thai Black Rice Salad – Serves 4
2 cups black rice, cooked
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
2 Thai chilies, minced*
1 tablespoon fish sauce**
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons fresh Thai basil, roughly chopped
1/2 cup Chinese chives, roughly chopped
1 cup green papaya, shredded
Kosher salt, to taste
1. Melt the coconut and sesame oils over medium high in a wide saute pan. Once hot, add the bell peppers, carrots and red onion. Cook until they onions begin to turn translucent, approximately 3-5 minutes.
2. Add the ginger, garlic and chilies, reduce the heat to medium and cook another 5-7 minutes or until the carrots have softened but are not mushy.
3. Scrape all of the cooked vegetables into a large bowl. Stir in the black rice, cilantro, Thai basil and Thai chives. Finally, fold in the green papaya. Season to taste with more fish sauce or salt, if desired.
*Thai chilies can be very, very spicy. It’s a good idea to taste the tiniest tidbit first before you add them all. You may find that one chili is good enough for you. Or maybe you’re the kind of person who can take three or four. And that’s just fine!
**Fish sauce is an important component in this dish, but if you cannot find it, use soy sauce or tamari.
Of course we received this product for free, but we could have easily not mentioned it in any way. We’re never required to perform a review, and if we do, it does not have to be positive. These thoughts are our own. Keep that in mind FTC folks!
Click HERE for the printable recipe.
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