A white plate with salad and pink dishes with drinks and garnishes next to it.

Crispy Rice Salad With Smashed Cucumbers

Golden, crispy jasmine rice is the star of this meal salad.

Crisping up the cooked jasmine rice to a golden brown gives it the satisfying, toothsome bite that is the highlight of this recipe. A vinaigrette made using the pickling brine of the spicy pickled radishes gives this fresh salad a bright pop. Perfectly balanced with lots of herbs, vegetables and a good serving of protein from the peanuts and tofu.

A white plate with salad and pink dishes with drinks and garnishes next to it.

Crispy Rice Salad with Smashed Cucumbers

This delicious and easy meal salad recipe by Bri Beaudoin has crunchy toasted rice and plenty of fresh vegetables.
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Appetizer, lunch, Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Canadian
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

Jasmine Rice

  • 1⅓ cups jasmine rice
  • 1⅔ cups water

Spicy Pickled Radishes

  • cup boiling water
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • cup rice vinegar
  • 4 radishes thinly sliced
  • 2 fresh red bird’s eye chilies
  • thinly sliced

Rice Salad

  • 4 cups cooked jasmine rice
  • 4 tbsp grapeseed oil divided
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 3 mini cucumbers
  • 4 cups chopped baby bok choy see note #1
  • 2 tbsp tamari
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • cup lightly packed Thai basil leaves see note #2
  • cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 8 oz (225g) smoked tofu cubed (optional)
  • ½ cup dry-roasted peanuts

Instructions
 

Jasmine Rice

  • Rinse the rice in a sieve under cold running water, while swishing the rice with your fingertips, until the water runs mostly clear, about 1 minute. Shake the sieve to remove excess water (too much water will throw off your ratios, so drain well).
  • Add the rice and water to a Dutch oven or medium pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, immediately cover with the lid, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Tilt the pot and quickly peek under the lid to confirm the water has been absorbed (if not, continue to cook for 2 or 3 minutes more). Remove from the heat.
  • Keep the lid on the pot and let the rice steam for another 10 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork or rice paddle.

Salad

  • In a small heatproof bowl, whisk together the boiling water, sugar and salt until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Stir in the rice vinegar, radishes and chilies. Let sit for at least 10 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, toss the rice, 1 tbsp of the grapeseed oil, and salt to mix. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tbsp of the grapeseed oil over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, drop a couple of grains of rice into it. If it sizzles, it’s good to go; if it doesn’t, heat the oil longer. Scatter the rice into the pan (set aside the bowl) and cook, undisturbed, until golden brown on the bottom, 6 to 8 minutes. Using a flexible spatula, flip the rice in sections and cook, undisturbed, until the other side is golden brown, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  • Meanwhile, trim the ends off the cucumbers. Place the flat side of your knife over each cucumber and press down with the palm of your hand until the cucumber breaks open. Tear the cucumbers into bite size pieces and transfer to the large bowl (no need to wipe it clean). Add the bok choy.
  • Pour ⅓ cup of the pickling brine into a small bowl, using a fork to hold back the radishes and chilies. Stir in the tamari, lime juice, and the remaining 1 tbsp grapeseed oil.
  • Transfer the crispy rice to a large serving platter. Drizzle 2 tbsp of the dressing over the cucumbers and bok choy, toss to coat and scatter over the rice. Scoop the radish out of the pickling brine and scatter them over the dish. Top with the Thai basil, cilantro, smoked tofu (if using) and peanuts. Serve with lime wedges and a small bowl of the pickling brine and chilies for drizzling (if you like things spicy).

Notes

#1. Opt for Shanghai bok choy (pale green stalks) instead of regular bok choy (white stalks) if you have the choice. Either variety will work, but the Shanghai variety tends to have a milder, sweeter taste.
#2. Thai basil has purple stems and is not the same as sweet Italian basil. It can be found at well-stocked grocery stores and Asian grocery stores. If you can’t find Thai basil, double up on cilantro.

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Excerpted from Evergreen Kitchen: Weeknight Vegetarian Dinners for Everyone by Bri Beaudoin. Copyright © 2022 Bri Beaudoin. Photography by Anguel Dimov. Published by Penguin Canada, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.