By Martha Rose Shulman
This is inspired by a recipe in “Seductions of Rice,” by Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford. The traditional dressing is made with four times as much fish sauce, which I’ve revised here to keep the sodium levels more manageable. I find any amount of fish sauce makes a dish hard to resist.
4 cups cooked sprouted brown rice
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 1/2 cups tightly packed, coarsely chopped watercress leaves, baby spinach, arugula or a mix
1 1/2 cups edamame
1 sweet red bell pepper, cut in thin 2-inch-long strips
2 tablespoons finely chopped mint
1/4 cup tightly packed fresh Asian or sweet basil leaves, or tarragon, coarsely chopped
1 cup loosely packed chopped cilantro
1 shallot, cut in thin rings, soaked for five minutes in cold water, drained and rinsed; or 1/4 cup finely sliced scallion (optional)
1 teaspoon finely minced lemon grass from the tender inner part of the stalk
1 bird or serrano chili, minced
Leaf lettuce for serving
For the dressing:
2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon brown sugar, turbinado sugar or dark agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon minced lemon grass, from the tender inner part of the stalk
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried red chili
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Sprouted brown rice is a packaged product that you can find in natural foods stores with other packaged grains. The grains are sprouted, then dried. It looks and cooks like regular brown rice.
1. Combine all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Combine the fish sauce and water in a small saucepan. Add the sugar, lemon grass, garlic and chili flakes, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, and simmer for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Make sure the liquid does not boil down. Transfer to a bowl or measuring cup, and whisk in the canola oil and lime juice. Toss with the salad.
3. Line a platter with lettuce leaves, top with the salad and serve.
Yield: Serves six to eight.
Advance preparation: You can combine all of the salad ingredients several hours before serving and refrigerate. Toss with the dressing just before serving.