Black Japonica rice salad

8 Jan

black japonica rice saladA short while ago, a friend gave me a packet of rice to try – black japonica, which is a blend of black and mahogany rice grown in California from Japanese seeds. It is a pretty dark colour, which leaches out into the water as it cooks, turning it a dark purple. The kitchen smells sweet as it cooks, a little like sticky rice dessert, but the taste is more nutty than sweet.

But what to do with it? A while ago I made Minnesota wild rice soup, despite the fact that it isn’t actually wild rice, but same idea, right – rice in the soup (so good!)? It was a delicious and warming meal that we ate with crusty bread and sour cream on top. And it was even better the next day.

Then last night in an effort to continue my (and therefore my husband’s) new year health kick I made a rice salad with baked tofu with salsa verde. The subtle garlic on the mushrooms and crunch of the toasted almonds and celery, with the orange juice sneaking through at the end made us eat 2 cups of cooked rice in one sitting! Yikes! Maybe we need a little portion control for our “health kick”, but it really was that moreish it was impossible to stop.

Ingredients

1 cup uncooked black japonica rice

1 tablespoon butter

EVOO

2 cups mushrooms, sliced

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

Freshly ground S&P

3 celery sticks sliced

1 cup almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped

1/3 cup dried cranberries

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon orange zest

40 mls freshly squeezed orange juice

1 teaspoon sugar

Method

Bring rice, butter and 2 cups of water to the boil in a pot with a tight fitting lid.

Give it one good stir, cover with the lid and simmer on low heat for 50 mins.

Remove from heat, but keep the lid on and let the rice sit for 10 mins.

Meanwhile, heat a splash of EVOO in a fry pan and add the mushrooms, garlic and S&P to taste. Cook until softened then spoon into a large bowl.

Add the celery, toasted almonds and dried cranberries to the mushrooms.

Fluff the rice and add to the mushroom mix and stir gently to combine.

Combine the white wine vinegar, orange zest, orange juice and sugar in a small bowl and stir until sugar is dissolved.

Pour over rice mixture and mix lightly before serving.

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