A great salad is all about the texture and flavour; this crispy rice salad levels up in both those areas. Packed with crispy character and classic Thai flavours that marry sweetness, spiciness and saltiness, this salad is perfect as a side or on its own.
FOR THE RICE:
200g easy cook rice
Vegetable oil, for frying
1 tbsp fresh ginger, finely grated
ó head cabbage (sweetheart, white or red)
2 spring onions, roughly chopped
1 large carrot, grated
FOR THE DRESSING:
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce (or light soy sauce)
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp agave syrup
2 garlic cloves, crushed
FOR THE GARNISH:
A large handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
A handful of fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
half a red onion, thinly sliced
1 Cook the rice according to the instructions, then drain to make sure there’s no water left. Spread the rice out on a baking tray and allow to cool completely at room temperature. Leave overnight in the fridge to dry out.
2 The next day, pour enough oil into a large frying pan to cover the base of it generously. Heat over a medium-high heat. Test the temperature by dropping a grain of rice into the oil, if it starts to bubble it is ready.
3 Turn the heat down to medium-low then take a handful of rice and add it to the oil. Stand back as the oil will bubble up and may spit. Once the rice has reached a golden colour, remove from the oil with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with some paper kitchen towel. Repeat this two more times so you have about 3 handfuls of crispy rice.
4 Remove the pan from the heat and decant most of the oil into a heatproof container, leaving some oil in the pan.
5 Return the pan to the heat. Add the ginger and cook over a medium-low heat for 1 minute. Add the cabbage and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring often, until softened slightly. Add the remaining cooled rice, the spring onions and grated carrot and stir together in the pan on the heat.
6 In a jug, mix all of the dressing ingredients together. Pour over the rice and vegetables in the pan and stir to coat.
7 Tip the contents of the pan out onto a serving dish. Top with the crispy rice, coriander, mint and red onion. Eat warm.
Note: If you’re finding that the oil is spitting excessively when frying, the rice is still too moist. You need to dry it out a bit more before frying. To do this, transfer the tray of rice to an oven heated to 100°C and let it toast for 10-15 minutes in there, stirring occasionally, until it feels dry.