Coriander and Lime pickled cucumber salad
This summer salad is designed to celebrate the fresh flavours of lime and coriander together with honouring the triumph beautifully cooked basmati rice.
One of the greatest things about food is that you never stop learning and evolving the way that you cook it. For even the most basic food stuffs, there are countless cooking methods and it’s a joy to be able to read about them, and test them out.
I’ve had my rice cooking method revolutionised. I had always cooked it in the same way my mom does. She always stirs a cup of rice in a little salt and oil in a large saucepan over a moderate heat, ensuring each grain is coated in a little oil, before pouring over two cups of boiling water. The rice is allowed to come back up to the boil, stirred once and then a tight fitting lid is place on and the heat is turned right down. The rice then cooks for fifteen minutes. I’ve always found the results slightly hit and miss so discovering a more consistant method has been fantastic.
170g or 6 oz or a cup basmati rice
2 small cucumbers
soft brown sugar
a generous bunch of coriander
To get beautifully separate and fluffy cooked rice, basmati should be rinsed thoroughly in a few changes of water before cooking. You are looking for the water to turn clear, to indicate that the excess starch has been washed away. Once washed, the rice can also be soaked in cold water to speed up cooking time. I generally soak rice for half an hour but this can omitted if you’re in a rush.
Whilst the rice soaks, you can prepare and pickle the cucumber. If you want to remove the seeds, you can half it lengthways, use a teaspoon to scrape away the seeds and then slice the cucumber into half moons. I’d rather not discard the seeds, so prefer to use a speed peeler to give long ribbons, each with a sliver of dark green skin and little section of the refreshingly watery seeds. Mix the zest and juice of the lime, together with a dessert spoon of soft brown sugar, a generous pinch of salt and the finely chopped stalks of the coriander and use this to coat the cucumber. Feel free to add finely chopped chilli or freshly grated garlic into the cucumber and allow it to sit and gently pickle whilst you prepare the rice.
Drain the soaking rice and place into a saucepan. Cover with boiling water and boil for around six minutes, or until cooked. Drain, place back into the saucepan, cover with a lid and allow to sit for five minutes. This resting period will let the rice soak up any excess water remaining
Roughly chop the remaining leaves or coriander or feel free to add in the whole leaves, simply picked from their stalks, which can be finely chopped and added into the cucumber. Tip the rice onto the lightly pickled cucumber and stir together to coat the rice in the sweet and sour pickling liquor. Just before serving, mix in the coriander leaves. This salad would be fantastic with grilled meat or fresh fish, gently cured in some more lime juice, lime zest and a little red chilli.