I’m so into garden herbs right now – cilantro, mint, basil…they’re all loving this summer heat. I’ve got tomatoes, cucumbers and jalapenos cooking, too. To highlight the savory herbs in season right now, I created a simple side dish featuring all the flavors: Coconut Herb Rice Salad. By eliminating the fish sauce in this Malaysian inspired dish, I made it vegan, too.
Listen: I love Malaysian food so I was excited to adapt this recipe. I did a stop over once for a couple days in Kuala Lumpur and I couldn’t get enough of their cuisine. It’s packed full of coconut, herbs and spices and so easy to find vegetarian dishes. Noodles and rice dominate while still featuring tons of veggies in every dish. Perhaps this is why one of my favorite restaurants in Seattle is Malaysian Kedai Makan. If you’re in town, you should check it out but be prepared for a wait – it’s quite popular and for good reason. Order the Roti Jala for sure and try the Nasi Goreng Kedai, one of my favorites.
Did you know that rice is a very healthy food? A whole grain, rice contains magnesium,phosphorus, selenium, thiamine, niacin and vitamin B6, and is an excellent source of manganese providing 88% of daily needs in one cup cooked. Manganese is important for connective tissue, bones, blood-clotting factors, and sex hormones and plays a role in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption, and blood sugar regulation as well as brain and nerve function….it’s important. You can get the nutrients you need from rice – plus many other vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in this savory, fragrant Coconut Herb Rice Salad because of all the spices added.
- 1/4 cup unsweetened finely shredded dried coconut
- 1 1/2 teaspoons melted coconut oil (divided)
- 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves (chopped finely)
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves (chopped finely)
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves (chopped)
- 1 shallot (rinsed and chopped finely (3 Tablespoons))
- 2 Tablespoons minced lemongrass (from 1 medium stalk (tough outer layers discarded))
- 2 teaspoons lime zest
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cups cooked brown jasmine rice (at room temperature)
- 1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
- Place dried coconut and 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until coconut begins to brown, 2 – 3 minutes. Continue to cook, stirring constantly to ensure even browning, until coconut is fragrant, 2 – 3 more minutes. Remove from heat to cool.
- Using a wooden spoon, stir together basil, mint, cilantro, shallot, lemongrass, lime zest, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl until well combined.
- Add rice, 3 tablespoons toasted coconut and remaining 1 teaspoon coconut oil to herb mixture; toss to combine.
- Add soy sauce and lime juice.
- Toss and let rest for 5 minutes before garnishing with remaining coconut and serving hot or cold.
Ginger Hultin,MS, RD, CSO
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