As we zoom into autumn you’ll find me munching hybrid meals like this one: fuelsome black rice smothered in a rich umami dressing but freshened up with summery cucumber, zingy red onions and the ubiquitous avocado. It’s a great work lunch box meal and gives the most boring green salad a flavoursome boost! And of course, most of it can be prepared in advance. Just cook the rice on Sunday evening, slosh over the dressing, stir in the cucumber and red onion and you are nearly good to go – save for the avocado which is best added on the day.
Miso paste is essentially salty fermented soya beans but is so much nicer than that sounds! Any left-over dressing adds a lovely savoury note to steamed broccoli for example or makes any side dish of rice a lot more interesting. Miso is also firm friends with aubergine – check out this recipe.
On the cucumbers, if you are using the ‘normal’ variety available in UK supermarkets, remove as many seeds as possible to stop the cucumbers going soggy. To do this, slice your cucumber vertically and then each half vertically again. Take each quarter strip and run your knife down the corner of seeds and discard. Chop the rest of the cucumber into chunks as usual.
Ingredients – serves 3-4
250g black rice
1 large cucumber, cut into chunks
1-2 red onions (optional but recommended)
2 cloves of garlic
1 heaped tbp white miso paste
1-2 limes – juiced
1-2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1. Rinse the black rice and boil according to packet instructions.
2. Make the dressing by crushing the garlic and mixing it with the rest of the ingredients.
3. Taste – if it is too salty add a little more lime juice and/or vinegar.
4. Once the rice is cooked, drain it well and stir in the miso dressing. Leave to cool.
5. Slice the onions thinly using a sharp knife or mandolin if you have one. Chop the cucumber into chunks and slice the avocado.
6. Once the black rice has cooled gently stir through the cucumber, red onion and avocado. You’re done!