Thursday, March 22, 2012

Rice and Black Bean Salad with Cumin Dressing

After Arborio, brown basmati, and jasmine rice, tonight I'm featuring parboiled rice.  Not to be confused with instant rice, the starch in parboiled rice has simply been treated in such a way that the grains won't stick together during cooking - the opposite, essentially, of what you'd want for sticky rice in Asian dishes.  The separate grains work perfectly in this salad.  The most common brand to look for is Uncle Ben's, and I prefer the brown over the white for its higher nutritional value.

For the rice:
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 and 1/2 cups uncooked long-grain parboiled brown rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 and 1/3 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped, seeded, and peeled cucumber
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon minced and seeded jalapeno pepper
  • 1 (15-ounce) rinsed and drained can black beans
For the dressing:
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 6 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 minced garlic clove
For the topping:
  • 2 cups thin wedges plum tomato
  • 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarse salt
1. To prepare the rice, heat 1 teaspoon canola oil in a large skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Add the rice and cook for 1 minute; stir in the turmeric and 1/2 teaspoon cumin.  Add 3 and 1/3 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt; bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, until the liquid is all absorbed.

2. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.  Stir in the corn, cucumber, red bell pepper, green onions, cilantro, jalapeno, and black beans.

3. To prepare the dressing, heat the remaining 1 teaspoon cumin in a small skillet over low heat for 30 seconds, until it smells fragrant.  Remove from heat and add 6 tablespoons lime juice, 3 tablespoons canola oil, 2 tablespoons water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the garlic.  Add the dressing to the rice mixture.

4. To prepare the topping, combine the plum tomato in a bowl with the final tablespoon lime juice and 1/8 teaspoon salt.  Spoon the rice salad onto a platter, and top with the tomato topping. 

Nutrition Info:
6 servings (1 and 1/3 cups), Calories 365

Tasting Notes:
A nice blend of flavors: great fresh lime, and tasty black beans, cilantro, and tomato.  I'd leave the seeds in the jalapeno for a bit more heat, not something I normally say.  Although tasty on its own, the dish felt a little... limp.  I'd wrap it in flour tortillas or spoon into hard taco shells next time, to make it a main dish meal.  Although visually interesting, I'm not sure the tomato topping was worth the extra preparation; I'd chop the plum tomato and add to the salad with the corn and other veggies next time.


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