Uncategorized · Vegetarian

Small Touches Make a Difference

Thai Black Rice Salad-The Duo DishesThere are some dishes that make an impression on you because they include a number of impressionable ingredients. This is a salad made of rice and vegetables. That’s all really. Actually, it’s more than that. It’s a salad made of rice and vegetables and truly authentic Thai ingredients that mesh in a colorful, filling, spicy, crunchy meal. One of the main ingredients in this dish is coconut oil. We received a free sample of Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil to review, and honestly, as is the case, it took a while to actually get around to it. In truth, the coconut oil was used a good bit, but all of the applications were haphazard as it was the first time cooking with the alternative oil. A little here to saute shrimp and scallions, a bit there to pan fry potatoes with garam masala, a drizzle over toast. It was a good addition to those dishes, and it proved to be great in this simple rice salad as well. When you combine several special, unique ingredients in one meal, the end result is going to hold its own.

Coconut oil has been an excellent moisturizer for skin and hair, which is truthfully the only way it’s been used in one of our households. How funny that it’s never been in a dish. Well, this was the time. The coconut oil added a subtle and welcomed supple texture to the rice and vegetables, while of course acting as a conduit of flavor introduction. Coconut oil’s fairly mid-range smoke point makes it a great choice for cooking in the medium to medium high heat range, which is perfect for everyday cooking. It would’ve been nice to really stir fry the veggies at a super high heat to cook them hard and fast, but it’s no big deal. In the end, the mix of the coconut oil and sesame oil added great levels of flavor to the fresh, bright greens. Cilantro’s probably not a new addition to you, but Chinese chives and Thai basil may be unknown. Chinese chives are long, broad and flat with a faint hint of garlic to the tongue. Purple-stemmed Thai basil is a sweet basil with a very slight anise flavor. The green papaya, which is just an unripe papaya, adds a crunchy element to the entire salad. You can find Chinese chives, Thai basil, Thai chilies, fish sauce and green papaya at just about any Asian or Thai market, so keep an eye out for them. Then make this salad.

Thai Black Rice Salad – Serves 4
2 cups black rice, cooked
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
2 Thai chilies, minced*
1 tablespoon fish sauce**
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons fresh Thai basil, roughly chopped
1/2 cup Chinese chives, roughly chopped
1 cup green papaya, shredded
Kosher salt, to taste

1. Melt the coconut and sesame oils over medium high in a wide saute pan. Once hot, add the bell peppers, carrots and red onion. Cook until they onions begin to turn translucent, approximately 3-5 minutes.

2. Add the ginger, garlic and chilies, reduce the heat to medium and cook another 5-7 minutes or until the carrots have softened but are not mushy.

3. Scrape all of the cooked vegetables into a large bowl. Stir in the black rice, cilantro, Thai basil and Thai chives. Finally, fold in the green papaya. Season to taste with more fish sauce or salt, if desired.

*Thai chilies can be very, very spicy. It’s a good idea to taste the tiniest tidbit first before you add them all. You may find that one chili is good enough for you. Or maybe you’re the kind of person who can take three or four. And that’s just fine!

**Fish sauce is an important component in this dish, but if you cannot find it, use soy sauce or tamari.

Of course we received this product for free, but we could have easily not mentioned it in any way. We’re never required to perform a review, and if we do, it does not have to be positive. These thoughts are our own. Keep that in mind FTC folks!

Click HERE for the printable recipe.


14 thoughts on “Small Touches Make a Difference

  1. LOVE black rice!! I just made up my own recipe the other day… thought I would share 🙂

    1 c forbidden black rice
    2 c water
    1/2 yellow onion, chopped
    1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 2″ cubes
    1 bunch baby beets (that’s what I had left from my farm share but you could use 1 or 2 regular beets too), cleaned and prepared for roasting (cut off greens and the long skinny tip)
    Fresh basil
    1/4 c dried cherries, chopped
    1/4 c slivered almonds
    Olive oil
    Sesame oil
    Tarragon vinegar (or red wine vinegar or apple cider vinergar, whatever you got)
    Toasted sesame seeds
    Salt, pepper

    Place whole beets, diced sweet potatoes, and several leaves of basil on a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle salt to lightly coat the vegetables. Broil for approx. 30 minutes, turning sweet potatoes once, until the potatoes are soft and the beet skin peels off easily. Discard roasted basil leaves.

    Cover the rice with 2 c water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover; simmer for ~20 minutes.

    Sautee onion in olive oil until golden brown. Once cool, peel beets and chop coarsely. Put the beets in a separate bowl and drizzle about 2 tsp vinegar over beets. Let them marinate for a few minutes, and then add the beets, sweet potato, onion, dried cherries, almonds, and some chopped fresh basil (about 3 large leaves) to the rice. Lightly drizzle sesame oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Can also add extra vinegar or some chili oil if you prefer. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on top and mix well.


  2. mmm this rice salad looks so colorful — love the combo of flavors in it, and another great use of that jar of coconut oil I’ve got in the fridge. Can’t wait to try this!

  3. What a beautiful salad! That’s funny that you mentioned coconut oil as a moisturizer, someone mentioned that to me at the store and I almost didn’t believe them, lol! I have had a jar in my pantry for quite some time. I need to use it!

  4. This looks so good! I’ve only had black rice once – at a restaurant – and it was really good but I never thought to make it at home. I like how this recipe could be used with any type of grain — but the black rice adds a nice exotic element to it 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  5. This sounds great. I have to admit I’ve heard coconut oil touted a lot in the health blogger circles but have yet to try it myself. One of these days.

  6. I really need to find a good source for Thai basil because I always seem to be on the hunt for it! This salad is one that I would love…Thai flavors never fail to appeal to me!

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