Coron-Asian Un-Chicken


In the spirit of better-late-than-never-ness, here is our right royal jubilee recipe: Coronation Chicken, sans chicken, and with a decidedly Veggiestani twist. Because the world so needs another royal celebratory salad.
It is always hard to make a rice salad appealing: this one will (should) have them coming back for more.
Ingredients (for a party bowlful):

  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked rice (basmati is best, brown if possible)
  • butter + salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground saffron, steeped in a splash of boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons pistachio kernels, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons flaked almonds
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seed kernels
  • 3 tablespoons raisins, soaked and drained
  • big handful of dried apricots, soaked and drained
  • 4 spring onions, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and grated
  • big handful of fresh herbs: parsley, coriander and tarragon work well, washed and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons salty Indian pickle (turmeric if you can get it)
  • 2 tablespoons nice olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons nice mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons nice curry powder

Pretty easy fare, this. Cook the rice in water along with the butter and salt according to your preferred method. Take it off the heat, swirl the saffron water through it, stirring a little, and allow to cool. When it has reached room temperature toss the nuts, fruit, onion, carrot and herbs through the rice, mixing well.
Next whisk the pickle and olive oil together, and then add the mayo and the curry. It will probably curdle (unless you whisk real hard) and look rather, well, vile, but this is fine as it is but a dressing. Pour/spoon the mixture over the rice, turning everything over thoroughly so that all the ingredients get coated.
This salad is, if anything, better the next day, and will keep well in the fridge for 3-4 days*. Street parties aside, it is a great picnic standby, and works really well with barbecued food.

*Foodies look away: y’all know this already. But it is becoming increasingly obvious to me as a shopkeeper that food hygiene knowledge is actually decreasing amongst the population at large. So forgive me for stating the obvious: cooked rice becomes a high risk food if you leave it at room temperature for too long (like on a buffet table for five hours), and you should not keep it in the fridge for more than a few days. It can cause nasty sicky outbreaks of food poisoning.

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