It's high time you add goji berries for salad boost
It is hard to find salads from regions that are high, cold and remote, and in Bhutan red rice is eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner in many guises. This salad includes hazelnuts, which thrive in Bhutan and are being planted there in huge numbers, helping local people earn a living.
The goji berry vine has flourished in the valleys of the Himalayas for thousands of years, and its nutritious berries are reputed to have many healing powers. Unverified accounts claim goji berries were introduced to the West by a tourist who was astounded by the longevity of locals in a remote village in Tibet, ascribing their good health to all the goji berries they consumed.
Whatever the truth of this story, there is no doubting this salad is good for you.
BHUTANESE RED RICE, GOJI BERRY AND HAZELNUT SALAD
250g Bhutanese red rice, or medium-grain brown rice if unavailable
4 spring onions, finely chopped
1 red capsicum, finely chopped
180g (1½ cups) dried goji berries, or other dried fruit such as mango, roughly chopped
180g (11/3 cups) toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
60ml (¼ cup) olive oil; 1 tbsp mirin; 80ml (1/3 cup) rice vinegar; 1 garlic clove, finely chopped; 2 tbsp lemon juice; 1 tsp grated fresh ginger; 1 tbsp sugar
Cook the rice in a rice cooker with 350ml water and a pinch of salt. Alternatively, bring the rice and 350ml water to the boil in a heavy-based saucepan, then cover and simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes; turn off the heat, leave to stand with the lid on for 4 minutes, then fluff the rice grains with a fork. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients. Set aside for 20-30 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse. When the rice is cool, place it in a large bowl and toss the remaining salad ingredients through. Add the dressing, to suit your taste. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving, to let the rice soak up the dressing.
Image and recipe from Lands of the Curry Leaf by Peter Kuruvita, Murdoch Books, RRP $49.99. Photo: Alan Benson