Tag Archives: coriander

Rice Cubes with Coriander Chilli Dipping Sauce

Rice Cube-0040Trying to figure out the Rubik’s cube was always a puzzle and one I never quite managed to solve, however, looking at my new culinary gadget… this bright red cube looked like something I could master. When family and friends know you love kitchen gadgets, it’s inevitable you will receive them as gifts. My lovely daughter thought the Rice Cube looked really cool (I believe the shop had a video demo running in the background) and decided to buy me one… or maybe it was a big hint to make sushi.

Invented by an Australian cook Ross Patten to impress the judges at a Master Chef audition, the Rice Cube is used to mold rice and other soft foods into bite-sized portions. I love stylish presentation and am definitely sold on the idea of tasty square morsels of rice. Information about the Rice Cube is found on the official website, which has recipes and ideas if you plan on buying one.

Rice Cube-0021The first recipe that came to mind was an appetizer I make for casual entertaining, cooked rice rolled into balls and served with a coriander chilli dipping sauce. Jasmine rice is naturally sticky and when compressed and molded, holds together without falling apart. Using the Rice Cube with this recipe seemed a good place to start.

Working with the Rice Cube felt a little awkward at first but I soon got into the rhythm after molding a few squares which looked so neat. This could be the start of a new obsession… a square one!Rice Cube-0053Some notes: Use a good quality peanut butter when making the dipping sauce, I used a peanut butter (made by Neshat) that I had bought from a farmers market in Bahrain, which tastes so good. When cooking the rice add salt to the water, otherwise the rice will taste bland. The rice cubes or rice balls and dipping sauce can be made a couple of hours in advance, covered and stored in the refrigerator. If you are not a fan of fish sauce season the dipping sauce with some sea salt instead. Grilled prawns also taste delicious with this dipping sauce.

 Rice Cubes with Coriander Chilli Dipping Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of freshly cooked Jasmine rice (makes about 20 rice cubes)
  • 2 cups chopped coriander, (leaves, stalks and roots)
  • 2 small garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 1 or 2 small red chilli, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • 4 tablespoons of roughly chopped spring onion (green part)
  • 1/4 teaspoon lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 100ml creamy coconut (homemade or canned)
  • 2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon of fish sauce (approximately)
  • toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

How to make: If using the Rice Cube just follow the instructions. Molding by hand; when the cooked rice is cool enough to handle, gently compress small bite-sized portions of rice with your hand and roll into a ball, you will need to dampen you hands with a little water when doing this. Keep the molded rice covered at all time otherwise it begins to dry out. Garnish the rice squares or balls with the sesame seeds before serving.

For the dipping sauce, add the coriander, garlic, chilli, spring onion, lime zest, lime juice, coconut milk and peanut butter into a food processor or blender. Process all the ingredients together until smooth. Pour into a suitable container and season with fish sauce to taste. Cover and store in the refrigerator until needed.

Keep an eye out for more square recipes 🙂

Vietnamese Salad

Recently some friends travelled to Vietnam and how I wished they could have packed me in their suitcase! However, they did bring back a little of Vietnam in the form of a cookbook, Vietnamese Food by Bobby Chinn (already a fan) from his restaurant in Saigon. Thank you dear friends… a wonderful foodies gift!

Having indulged recently (not just me) on some home-made bread and desserts it was time to scale down the calories in the household and this Vietnamese Salad made a welcoming change! Not wanting to spend as much time in the kitchen (needing a break), preparing food that is quick and easy without compromising on flavour and taste is first choice.

The taste of this simple salad relies on the freshest ingredients… so no limp herbs, dried out carrots and dry chicken please!

Using a julienne peeler for preparing the carrots for this salad came in very handy but of course you can use a good sharp knife instead!

The original recipe uses birds-eye chillies, but I opted to use medium chillies instead. Depending on your tolerance level to the spicy heat (Scoville scale) of different chillies you may want to de-seed them! You could also make this salad with prawns instead of chicken, replace the basil with mint and scatter over a few roasted peanuts on top, the choice is yours! Bursting with fresh clean flavours this salad makes you feel good after you’ve eaten it and the only shame would be… not to make it!

 Vietnamese Salad

The recipe below has been adapted from the cookbook Vietnamese Food by Bobby Chinn.

Ingredients:

  • 4 small skinless chicken fillets, poached (see note below)
  • 2 star anise
  • fresh chicken stock or make some using a stock cube
  • 4 lemon grass stalks, tough outer leaves removed and very finely sliced
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 to 4 medium chillies de-seeded (or not), finely snipped using kitchen scissors
  • 2 small carrots, peeled and cut into very fine matchsticks (100g)
  • 50g thinly sliced white onions
  • 4 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
  • 100ml of freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil (I used Thai basil from the garden)
  • 1/4 cup of freshly chopped coriander

Poaching the chicken: Place the chicken fillets in a single layer into a saucepan and pour in some chicken stock to cover, add the star anise. Bring the stock to a gently boil and immediately reduce the heat to a bare simmer and cook the chicken for about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and cover the saucepan with a lid and allow the chicken to further cook in the hot stock for about 20 minutes. Test the thickest part of the chicken to make sure it is cooked through, if not, bring the stock back to a simmer and leave (removing from heat) to cook for a couple of minutes more. When done transfer the cooked chicken fillet onto a plate and cool.

Assembling the salad: Place the lemon grass, spring onion, chilli, carrots, onions and garlic into a mixing bowl. Shred the cooled chicken and add to the mixing bowl. Pour over the lime juice and gently toss all the ingredients together. Next throw in the basil and coriander and gently toss together. Divide the salad between four serving plates and serve immediately. Serves 4.

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