For a flavor-charged salad that is low in calories and high in healthful carbohydrates, modern American cooks could get some inspiration from the islands of Indonesia.
"Rijsttafel" (RY-stah-fuhl), taken from the Dutch word for "rice table," is the national dish of Indonesia. The original meal consists of plenty of cooked rice accompanied by fruits, nuts, vegetables and some well-seasoned condiments to create a filling, but light meal.
This cool Indonesian Rice Salad is inspired by the original hot Indonesian meal. It is lightly spicy, delicately sweet and filled with a variety of vegetables, legumes, fresh herbs, raisins and peanuts. It is low in fat yet rich and exotic in flavor. The salad is an ideal accompaniment to grilled chicken, turkey or fish.
The recipe makes a large batch, so it's also an eye-catching dish to carry to potluck parties.
Indonesian Rice Salad
Makes 20 1/2 -cup servings
4 cups water
2 cups raw, long-grain white rice, preferably basmati
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups frozen mixed diced vegetables, thawed (combination carrots, peas, corn and green beans)
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup canned garbanzo beans, drained
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
4 green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons canola or safflower oil
2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup apple juice
In a large kettle or saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Stir in the rice, chopped onion and salt. Cover and reduce heat to low and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed. Turn off heat and allow rice to "steam" covered for 12 to 15 minutes.
(If using basmati rice, follow this cooking procedure: Place the rice in a colander and rinse thoroughly under cold running water. Pour the water over the rice and soak for 30 minutes. Drain the water into the kettle or saucepan. Add the onion and salt and JTC bring to a boil. Stir in the rice and return to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 10 minutes, or until water has been absorbed. Turn off heat and allow rice to "steam" covered for 12 to 15 minutes. Proceed with rest of recipe.)
Dump the rice into a large bowl to cool or spread it evenly on a jelly roll pan. Allow it to cool for at least 30 minutes.
When the rice is cool, combine the thawed mixed, diced vegetables, chopped parsley, garbanzo beans, raisins, peanuts and green onions in a large bowl. Stir to combine. Add the rice and toss to mix all ingredients well.
In a separate container, mix together the curry powder, cumin, oil, mustard, vinegar, sugar and apple juice. Beat with a fork to blend the spices evenly.
Pour the dressing over the rice and stir well to mix evenly. Allow salad to stand at least 1 hour or overnight to allow flavors to mellow before serving. The salad tastes best the day after it is made.
Per serving: calories, 104; protein, 2.7 grams; carbohydrate, 18 grams; fat, 2.6 grams (22 percent of calories from fat); cholesterol, 0 milligrams; 153 milligrams.