Hello everyone! I am back at Chubby Hubby. My apologies for the hiatus–I have been busy with personal projects, work, school and many more (you know the usual excuse). I think for a moment our editor, Charmaine was worried that I was kidnapped by aliens–I was so terrible in replying her email (Ed’s note: yes indeed! so glad you’re back 🙂 ).
During the busy period, my eating habits become something quite frightening. I was definitely saved by a well-stocked pantry and some sad vegetables that I always have in my fridge. I would prepare meals for the week ahead and one that frequently appears on the menu is green beans and rice salad. It keeps quite well in the fridge, and it tastes great warm or cold. Most importantly, it is easy to prepare and you can use any leftovers that you have.
Despite the name of the salad, you can use whatever vegetables you like (or happen to have)–asparagus, eggplant, or pumpkin, etc. Actually this dish should be called leftover salad–though this may make it sound none too appealing and even slightly scary and certainly doesn’t do this simple-to-prepare yet tasty meal much justice! If you have any produce (or leftover) you want to use up, you may want to give this salad a try.
Green beans and rice salad
I have provided some alternatives if you do not have a particular ingredient. I love this salad on its own, it is also a nice accompaniment to fish and meat.
Serves 4 as a side and 2 as a main
300g haricot vert (green beans) or French beans, trim ends, cut into half
1 small carrot (you can either grate it with box grater or peel into long strip with a vegetable peeler)*
2 cups of cooked brown and wild rice (you should be able to yield 2 cups of rice from 1 cup of uncooked rice. I used Bob’s Red Mill brown and wild rice mix. You can use brown rice or lentils. I would not advise using white rice as it might get mushy once the vinaigrette is added)**
220g tau kwa (firm beancurd – you can slice them into big chunks or long strips)
Oil for pan frying tau kwa and haricot vert
Fried shallots (optional)
Spring onion (optional)
4 tablespoons lemon juice (juice from around 1-2 lemons, if you do not have lemons, you can use limes)
4 tablespoons olive oil (if you are using extra virgin olive oil, omit the sesame seed oil)
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon sesame seed oil
Pinch of salt (if you not keeping the salad vegetarian, you can add fish sauce, around 1 teaspoon)
In a small bowl, add all the ingredients for the vinaigrette and mix well. Taste and adjust the flavour according to your preference. If you like the vinaigrette to be on the sweet side, add more honey. Set aside.
Place a large frying pan over medium heat, and add about 1 tablespoon of oil (you can use vegetable or olive oil here). Once the pan is heated, spread the sliced tau kwa in the pan. Do not overcrowd the pan, if not the tau kwa will not brown. If needed, pan fry the tau kwa in 2 batches. Once one side of the tau kwa is browned, flip to brown the other side. Once the tau kwa is browned, place them on a plate lined with paper towel and set aside.
In a large-sized bowl, add in the prepped haricot vert and boiling water (enough to cover the beans). Let it sit for about 30 seconds, drain and rinse with cold running water, and set aside. Using the same frying pan (that you used to cook the tau kwa) over medium heat, add about 1 teaspoon of oil. Once the pan is heated, throw in the haricot vert and quickly stir-fry for a few seconds. Haricot vert should be glossy and retain a bite. Once cooked, place them back into the large-sized bowl.
To assemble, add in the carrots and rice in the large-sized bowl (with the haricot vert inside). Drizzle half of the vinaigrette, mix and taste. You might not need to use all of the vinaigrette, it depends on how “saucy” you prefer your salad to be. Once you are happy with the salad, toss in the tau kwa–these are added at the end so that they will not lose their crunch. To garnish, add in fried shallots and spring onion.
*I used a zig zag vegetable peeler (which is commonly used for shredding green papaya and mango) for prepping the carrot–it is one my favourite kitchen tools. I got mine from one of the stalls at Golden Mile Complex.
**If you are using leftover rice, steam the rice before you add them into the salad.