If you are looking for a easy-to-make and delicious meal, then rice salad is the answer. It is not only filling and refreshing, but also an excellent food to keep your body healthy and energised. Its bright colour also makes it the perfect side dish for anything grilled. Follow this recipe for the best ever rice salad.

Ingredients:

(Serves four)

  • 250g cooked basmati rice
  • 2 sundried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp. oil from a jar of sundried tomatoes
  • 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 red onion, peeled, quartered and deseeded
  • 1 yellow pepper, quartered and deseeded
  • 1 red pepper, quartered and deseeded 1⁄2 cucumber, peeled and diced 6 ripe plum tomatoes cut into wedges 1 fennel bulb, halved and thinly sliced Fresh basil leaves, to garnish

Cooking method:

First whisk the sundried tomatoes, garlic, oil and vinegars together in a small bowl or jug. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Next put the red onion in a large bowl; pour over the dressing and leave it for a few minutes to allow the flavours to develop.

Then put the peppers (skin-side up) on a grill rack and cook under a preheated hot grill for five to six minutes, or until blackened and charred. Remove and place in a plastic bag.

When cool enough to handle, peel off the skins and slice the peppers.

Next, add the peppers, cucumber, tomatoes, fennel and rice to the onions and mix gently together to coat in the dressing.

Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to allow the flavours to mingle.

Finally remove the salad from the refrigerator and leave to stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and serve.

Kitchen tip:

Substitution is a friendly part of cooking. If you don’t have some of the ingredients mentioned in a recipe, you can always replace with other foodstuff or omit and the difference might not be so much. For instance, you can swop vinegar with lemon juice in this recipe and it will still work. For basil, it can be substituted with dhania while the sundried tomato oil can be replaced with olive oil. The fennel can be omitted or replaced with a fruit like diced pineapple. Cooking is about experimenting, taking recipes and owning them by adding or subtracting flavours, textures and colour.

Kitchen safety:

It is important that the selection of equipment used in the preparation of any dish is thoroughly cleaned before and after use. The potential of cross contamination is high with the type and styles used, so first-rate hygiene must be observed at all times.

Have a great and prosperous 2016 and continue enjoying eating at home with Parents.

Published in January 2015