Curried rice salad, colourful for Christmas entertaining

This is really pretty, you form it in a mould (I use my Tupperware Jel-Ring) and the colours of the vegetables are so Christmassy!  Serve it on a matching plate, and it really reminds you that the Big Day is just around the corner.  Also, after Christmas, you can even use it as a summer salad, as it has pineapple in it, and the curried coconut dressing makes you feel all tropical and summery (sorry to my Northern Hemisphere readers, you will just have to keep this in mind for later!)

Curried rice salad with pineapple

Curried rice salad with pineapple

1 & 1/2 cups cooked white rice

1/2 cup finely sliced celery

3 spring onions, finely sliced

1/2 cup frozen peas and corn

1/2 each red and green capsicum

1 tin of drained pineapple chunks (keep the juice – you can use it to flavour a cake later)

1 small grated carrot

Salt and pepper to taste

3 tbsp curried coconut dressing

 

Spray the jel-ring with cooking spray.  Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.  Press firmly into jel-ring.  Place in fridge for at least half an hour, more if possible.  When ready, turn onto a serving dish gently.  This will hold its shape, but not if you are overly rough with it.

Mediterranean Rice Salad

This is nice when the rice is still a little warm, although it is also good eaten cold too (especially on a warm day).  As all the flavour comes from the herbs, I haven’t dressed it with any fatty, sugary dressings, so it is very low in all those nasties.

Mediterranean rice salad

Mediterranean rice salad

1 cup of rice, cooked (it will bulk up to approximately 3 cups once cooked)

Pinch of salt

200g small tomatoes (I used a mixture of the cherry tomatoes and the yellow “snacking” ones), halved

3 sprigs of fresh basil (about a handful), chopped

4 sprigs of lemon thyme, picked

1 radish, halved and sliced finely

4 spring onions, sliced finely

1/2 red capsicum, chopped finely

1 lettuce leaf, chopped finely

1 stick of celery, sliced very finely

 

Cook the rice with the salt (I prefer the absorption method)*.  While it is cooking, prepare the salad vegetables and place in a bowl.  When the rice is ready (drain if appropriate) mix with the vegetables.

 

*I find the easiest way to cook rice is to use a 3 to 1 water to rice ratio (3 cups of water to 1 cup of rice).  I put the rice, water and salt in a microwave safe container, and microwave on high (covered) for 10 minutes.  I then stir the rice, take off the cover and put back in the microwave for about 3-4 minutes – depending on the strength of the microwave.  When the rice is ready, all the water should be absorbed.  Fluff with a fork and allow to cool slightly before using.  This is also a good method to cook rice for fried rice – if you spread it out on a tray and let it dry before using it you will get a better end product – if the rice is still sticky it won’t fry up properly.