mango and coconut rice salad with Thai basil
On account of a 'hairy' mango smoothie that Eden was offered (and obliged to drink) one day in Mexico - way back when - she believed for a very long time that she hated mangos. Can't say I blame her but what a shame. Happily she has overcome that prejudice and one of the reasons is... mango in salad. Put a mango in a salad and it is - all of a sudden - a happy, sunny affair. This salad may just be the queen of mango salads. Mangos, black rice, brown jasmine rice, coconut, mint, basil, cilantro, lemon zest.... hey! wipe your chin! It is wonderfully fresh. Actually, just wonderful.
I used a couple of Ataulfo mangos - the pretty little yellow ones from the Philippines. So very much the best mango around in my opinion. Sweet, silky flesh - and lots of it - with no nasty hairiness. The season for them is short - or at least too short - so don't wait. If not for this recipe, just to eat out of hand.
Don't be put off by the rice-cooking-in-two-pots thing, it is not nearly as much of a fuss as you might think and well worth washing two little pots. (Since I cook rice pretty much 99.9% of the time in my rice cooker I was almost deterred.) The rice cooks while you are busy chopping the greens and dicing the mango. It all comes together very quickly.
I shared some of the next day salad (which kept very well, by the way) with Eden. She whole heartedly endorsed my enthusiasm and asked me to share.
coconut and mango rice salad with Thai basil
(adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi)
2/3 cup brown jasmine rice
1 tsp virgin coconut oil
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cup water
1 cup loosely packed Thai basil
1 cup black rice
1/2 long English cucumber, cubed
2 Tbsp mint leaves, roughly chopped
2/3 cup cilantro, stems and leaves roughly chopped
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 Ataulfo mangos, diced
1/2 cup roasted, salted cashews, roughly chopped
2/3 cup flaked coconut
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp grey sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
First, cook the rice. Combine the brown jasmine rice, coconut oil, pinch of salt, water, and half the Thai basil in a small saucepan. Add half the Thai basil (keeping the leaves attached to the stem), bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes. Remove and discard the basil. Put the rice in a colander and rinse with cold water to cool. At the same time cook the black rice in plenty of boiling water (as you would pasta) for 20 minutes or until it is tender. Drain and rinse with cold water to cool.
Pick the remaining basil leaves off the stem and chop roughly. Put them (along with the remaining ingredients) into a large bowl. Add the rices and stir just to mix, being careful not to mangle the mango.
Serves 4 - generously.
Note: you can dial up the heat by increasing the cayenne pepper if you choose. I wanted just a suggestion not an overwhelming blast. But you may like it better hot.