Prawn and black rice salad with Vietnamese dressing recipe

This Nigella recipe is taken from her Channel 4 series Forever Summer, all about easy cooking and laid back recipes that keep you feeling like summer never ends.

This didn't start life quite like this. That's to say, I happened to have a bit of cold black rice and some Vietnamese dipping sauce left over in the fridge one day, along with a fresh consignment of raw, peeled prawns. The black rice had gone with a fish curry; the dipping sauce I'd eaten with a lemongrass-stuffed roast chicken.

I'm telling you this simply to illustrate that this is what real cooking is about: you just go with what you've got. In fact you could play with this a number of ways. You could have the rice hot, the prawns hot, too, just stirred through with the cold dipping sauce-turned-dressing; in place of the prawns, you could have hot, quickly fried squid rings; you could forgo the fish part and turn this vegetarian by adding some soft, jade chunks of avocado to the cold black rice and chilli-speckled dressing.

The dipping sauce anyway is something I wouldn't want to live without: I love it with roast or poached chicken, grilled chicken wings, to dunk prawns into, or to spoon over plain steamed pak choi or broccoli. I could go on - and often do.

The black rice is real black rice, not wild rice and not white rice dyed black with squid ink. It's packaged by Merchant Gourmet and I get it from the supermarket, usually without any trouble.

Ingredients

For the Vietnamese dipping sauce/ dressing

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • 2 fresh Thai birdeye chillies or other red chillies, finely sliced
  • Approx. 4cm fresh ginger, finely minced
  • 4 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp lime juice (about 1 lime)
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar

For the salad

  • 250g Nanking black rice
  • 500g raw, peeled prawns
  • Salt
  • juice of ½ lemon

METHOD

How to cook prawn and black rice salad with Vietnamese dressing

1. To make the sauce, simply mix all the ingredients together. It doesn't get much less complicated than that, frankly. Well, there is the small matter of the rice and prawns.

2. The rice you just cook by following the instructions on the packet.

3. The prawns you poach in some simmering salted water, to which you've added the juice of half a lemon, for 5 minutes or so or until just cooked through but still very tender.

4. Let both rice and prawns cool, then give the sauce a quick stir and spoon some over the rice, fork this through and then tumble the prawns on top, spooning a little more sauce over as you go.

Nigella eating watermelon

© Nigella Lawson, Forever Summer - Chatto & Windus, 2002

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Tuesday 09 October 2007

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