Brown rice salad with carrots, scallions and baked tofu
Makes 2 to 3 servings
2/3 cup (uncooked) short- or medium-grain brown rice
1 cup water
2 small carrots, diced
2 medium scallions with greens, whites minced and greens cut on a sharp diagonal, separated
4 ounces baked or smoked tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons plain rice vinegar (see the variations, below)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce (see the variations, below)
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons unrefined sesame oil (see the variations, below)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper, or more as needed (optional)
1/4 cup cilantro leaves (from 5 to 10 sprigs of cilantro), or more as needed
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
Notes: Because you want the rice at room temperature to make the salad, it’s a good idea to cook the rice in advance. To use leftover grains, substitute 2 1/2 cups in place of the 2/3 cup listed here. See the variations, below.
Make the dressing just before you’re ready to serve; if you whisk it together in advance, it might not re-emulsify with more whisking.
Make ahead: The rice can be cooked two days in advance and dressed one day in advance. The tofu, scallion greens, cilantro and sesame seeds can be prepared a day in advance and held on top of the rice; mix in before serving.
1. Rinse the rice in a colander until the water runs clear. Drain, then add it to a small, heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid. Add the water and bring to a boil over high heat, then stir once and immediately cover the pot and reduce the heat to low, and cook for 35 minutes, until the rice is cooked (it should still be a little chewy, but not at all hard) and all the water has been absorbed. Leave the rice to cool (or, alternatively, allow the rice to rest for 15 minutes, then spread it on a large plate or two to cool).
2. Transfer to a large bowl, along with the carrots, the scallion whites and the tofu.
3. Combine the garlic and the rice vinegar in a liquid measuring cup, then add the salt, soy sauce and both sesame oils, whisking to form an emulsified dressing. Pour over the rice and other ingredients in the bowl, add the white pepper, if using, and toss to coat evenly. Stir in the scallion greens, cilantro leaves and sesame seeds, reserving some to scatter on top as a garnish, if desired, and serve.
Variations: Instead of short-grain brown rice, you could substitute long-grain brown rice, red rice or quinoa; you could use radishes, sweet white turnips, or slivered asparagus in addition to or instead of the carrots. Mustard greens (or another spicy green), cut into thin ribbons, are also delicious here. If you want to add some complexity to the dressing, you could use smoked shoyu for the soy sauce and Chinkiang vinegar for the rice vinegar. Alternatively, if all you have is toasted sesame oil, you can replace the unrefined sesame oil with toasted
Nutrition per serving (based on 3): 340 calories, 10 g protein, 38 g carbohydrates, 18 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 380 mg sodium, 4 g dietary fiber, 4 g sugar
—Recipe from food writer Emily Horton