Well, I honestly never thought the day would come where I would find myself addicted to a salad. Hmm, it’s certainly a very strange feeling. Even when I went back for third and fourth helpings of this, I felt a bit shocked that I was enjoying a salad so much.
Of course, this isn’t the ‘typical’ kind of salad you would imagine, as I’m not one for anything too conventional. It’s a ‘salad’ that’s packed with brown rice, has no salad leaves, and a dressing that’s more like a curry sauce. But, it’s filled with vegetables, and you eat it (kind of) cold – so to me that’s classified as a salad. A salad with an exotic, spicy twist.
I’m utterly obsessed with Asian flavours, and one of my favourite things to make at home is a spicy peanut sauce. Usually, I make a curry from it or use it as a satay dip. However, as it’s still Summer at the moment, I decided now was the time to take it to the next level and use it as a salad dressing. It’s definitely this sauce that makes the salad so addictive. I really do love it. I like to make it from a classic combination of ingredients like peanut butter, coconut milk, curry powder, soy sauce, garlic, ginger and many other things. Then, I blend everything together and the flavours magically merge into a sauce that’s spicy, creamy and full of taste.
The secret ingredient to this sauce is the coconut syrup, which adds a subtle sweetness and helps to harmonise all of the flavours together. I use Coconut Merchant’s syrup, which is really delicious and easily available online and across the UK. However if you can’t get any coconut syrup where you live, then maple syrup or rice syrup should work well in its place too!
I recently partnered with the brand Coconut Merchant, where I was given a selection of all of their products to trial and create recipes with. This was my first recipe featuring their coconut syrup, and I can’t wait to continue making more recipes from their other products! They are the kindest company, and their products are amazing.
I hope you enjoy the recipe!
asian brown rice salad
serves about 4
for the salad:
1 large carrot
1 courgette (zucchini)
1 cup (190g) brown rice
1 tsp rice vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
for the dressing:
3 tbsp smooth peanut butter
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp rice vinegar
5 tbsp coconut cream
1 tbsp medium curry powder
1 tbsp tamari soy sauce
1/2 tsp chilli powder
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1-2 cm piece fresh root ginger, grated
1/4 tsp salt
1-2 packets of Taifun Smoked Tofu (or any other tofu product/side etc.)
1. Firstly, cook your rice. Fill a large pan with water about half way, and bring to a boil on a medium-high heat. Then, add in the rice and cook for around 20-25 minutes.
2. While the rice cooks, prepare the salad. In turn, grate the courgette, cucumber, apple and carrot lengthways into rough strips. Then, add them into a large mixing bowl and set aside somewhere cool.
3. Then, make the dressing. Add the peanut butter, sesame oil, rice vinegar, coconut syrup, coconut cream, curry powder, soy sauce, chilli powder, garlic, ginger and salt into a small blender (I used my NutriBullet), and blend together until smooth. Then, set aside.
4. When the rice has cooked, remove it from the heat, drain and allow to cool slightly for a couple of minutes. In the meantime, following any instructions on your packaging, prepare/cook your tofu or other accompanying ingredient.
5. Then, when the rice has cooled, add it in to the mixing bowl with the other salad ingredients, the rice vinegar, salt and some black pepper. Stir everything together until well mixed.
6. When the tofu has cooked, remove it from the oven and assemble the dish onto plates or bowls to serve. I do this by spooning the salad onto plates/bowls, topping with the tofu and then drizzling with the dressing to finish.