This dish is easy and delicious as well as versatile, to wit: it can be served cold or warm, and as a main or a side dish. Remove the shrimp and replace with tofu and, it’s not only vegetarian but vegan! Because the ratio of rice to vegetables is high on the veg, it’s also a pretty low-carb and also gluten free!
My version here has some shrimp, but you can replace that with more vegetables, a vegan protein, and more quinoa to rice. Play with it. It’s forgiving except, when making a salad with rice, you do NOT want warm or hot-off-the-stove rice. So read on to see what I did here.
A. PREPARE YOUR RICE
- Prepare 1 cup of Jasmine Rice with 1 to 1-1/2 cups of stock. See my notes just below:Rice preparation can be personal. If you use a rice cooker, great! Just make your rice as always.I a mix of Quinoa & Jasmine rice, rinsed. Then I steam it up in a pot with 1-1/2 cups of stock to 1 cup of rice. For added flavor, I use chicken or vegetarian stock and also, I usually add about 7 hot pepper flakes and dried onion flakes.
I steam my rice for about 15-20 minutes — then just turn off the stove and let it sit while I continue prepping other foods.
- IMPORTANT: Spread your cooked rice out in a shallow pan & cool it off in the fridge or freezer. By the time you have chopped up the rest of the salad, your rice will be cool enough to add! You do not want to use warm rice when you add it to a salad. Ditto, by the way, for Chinese Fried Rice! Use cooled rice.
B. WHILE YOUR RICE IS STEAMING UP, CHOP THESE & TOSS INTO A LARGE BOWL:
- 1 Large, ripe, red, tomato
- 1/2 Sweet, Vidalia onion
- 1/2 Cup Fresh Cilantro
- 1-1/2 Cups finely shredded cabbage (my supermarket sells it in bags)
C. IF YOU ARE NOT A VEGETARIAN, DO THIS:
- Sautee 24 small to medium shrimp in a bit of olive oil & butter with a bit of spicy Creole or other spicy salt. Sautee ONLY about 3 minutes, or until your shirmp are opaque, not clear and gray. Pull off the stove and cool. (Vegetable-based eaters can add Soy or other protein products.)
D. THE FINAL PRODUCT!
Into your LARGE SALAD BOWL where you already have your chopped ingredients, ADD:
- The now-cooled rice
- 2 cups of fresh Arugula
- Juice of 1/2 a Lemon or Lime
- 1 or 1-1/2 Tbsp. of Rice Vinegar
- 1 Tps. of Sesame Oil (Sesame Oil is powerful, be careful!)
- 1 Tsp. of Thai Fish Sauce (Don’t worry if you haven’t any!)
- DASH of Soy Sauce (Too much will brown your salad.
- Greek or Creole Salad to taste!
Toss all ingredients with clean hands or spoons.
Serve cold or warmed.
What is it about that salad dressing they serve at our local Hibachi restaurants that makes my mouth water? It’s just delicious; it’s tangy, a little sweet, a little salty and I always want more.
My guess is it has a combination of sesame and ginger but I can never quite put my finger on it.
On a whim, I whipped up my own version, deciding to add orange for a little brightness.
I think it came out rather well.
Here is what I did:
- 4 cups of washed lettuces of your liking. I had on on hand arugula and Chinese cabbage, but I would have added ice berg for that satisfying crunch.
Now on top of our lovely lettuces, arrange the following:
- 1/2 Shredded or finely sliced carrot
- 1/4 cup sliced mushroom (I used a small Portobella).
- 2 inch piece of cucumber, sliced
- 1 tablespoon sliced almonds, sprinkled over the salad
- 1 spring onion, chopped
- I did not add a tomato, but you might want to! It’s pretty and most people expect tomato.
The Dressing: Add the following ingredients into a blender or smoothie mixer:
- 1/4 medium sweet onion
- 1 large (or 2 small) tooth fresh garlic
- 1 small, chopped carrot or 1/2 a larger one. Cube this so it will blend easily and not get stuck in the blades.)
- 1/4 cup soy sauce (I use low sodium but I prefer the saltier!)
- 1 tablesppon sesame oil (sesame oil is powerful so … careful!)
- 1/4 cup light olive oil
- 3-4 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- 1 dash lemon juice (about 1 teaspoon)
- 3 full springs fresh cilantro (stems and all)
- 1 or 2 tablespoons Tahini / sesame paste (start with 1 and add if you like more)
- 1 tablespoon minced or chopped ginger.
Whir it all around until well-blended.
What do you think? Do you want to add a little of this or a dash of that?
Simply adjust to taste until you feel satisfied! It’s subjective. We have no rules.
- Try adding toasted Sesame or Flax seeds if you like. (Flax is most beneficial if ground.)
- Ginger root keeps well in the freezer. You can cut off a knob as needed. Peal and mince. I do like th convenience of the already minced ginger I can purchase at our supermarket.
- To make a full meal: Arrange cooked shrimp (blackend or steamed, as you wish) or chicken breast on top to make it a meal. Try it with a portion of seared Salmon!
- Save your left-over dressing in a jar in the fridge.
Try marinating some shrimp of chicken breast in the left over for a jazzed up flavor!.
Arroz con Pollo is a staple of many Latin American households and there are as many ways to prepare it as there are moms and grandmothers. I make it the way I was taught by my neighbor in the Panama Interior, with a few spins of my own.
What’s even better is Arroz con Pollo is versatile; serve it hot or cold, and it’s easy to put your own spin on it using whatever feels right to you, or what makes sense from your fridge on any given day. Leave out the chicken and bingo! Now you have a Vegetarian/Vegan dish!
My recipe is perfect for both left-over chicken and left-over rice. I don’t always make it with left-overs. I’ve been known to gently poach chicken breasts and then hand-shred them. But that’s just not necessary. And if you are using freshly cooked rice, chill it before blending it into the dish.
This past Saturday was “beach out like a whale” day which in my house. means lots of binge TV and binge food, including super market fried chicken.
On Sunday, I was left with an ample amount of tender chicken under the cold, crusty, greasy skins. I also had a decend amount of cold, left-over chinese take-out rice (let’s not discuss that binge!) — perfect since this recipe uses cold rice.
I peeled and tossed the chicken skins, shredded the tender meat, and set it aside.
ARROZ con POLLO
- Place two cups of cold, cooked, white rice into a large bowl. If you have freshly cooked rice, spread it out in a wide dish and refrigerate 1/2 hour.
To the rice, add the following, adjusting quantities according to taste.
- 1 or 1-1/2 cups of shredded chicken breast
- 2 Tablespoons sliced green (or black) olives
- 1 Teaspoon of caper berries
- 1 Very thinly sliced or shredded carrot
- 1/4 Cup chopped cilantro
- 1 Teaspoon soy sauce
- 1/4 Cup green peas (Frozen…then run under warm water.)
- 1/4 Cup corn (Frozen is fine, just run under warm water.)
As a main course, I was taught to serve this warm and always together with a light, crispy and simple salad with Russian dressing. Personally, I love the warm rice dish together with the crisp cold of the salad.
TIPS: This is such a versatile and deceptively filling way to eat rice and chicken so change it any way that works.
- Add chopped celery tops (the light green only) or celery heart.
- Make it without the chicken and you have a Vegetarian/Vegan dish.
- Toss in a little olive or caper juice, or even a squeeze of lemon or vinegar
- Some people add chopped tomato
- Remember: Use cold rice. It’s easy to quickly chill freshly made rice.
- Serve hot or cold, as a side dish or as a main course.