Salads, with their potential to have different mixes of vegetables, fruit, seeds and protein ingredients, can be yummy and healthy.
But for those with more voracious appetites, a bowl of salad alone may not be enough to fill the stomach.
Rice, while unconventional in salads, can be added to solve this dilemma, as chef Yen Koh demonstrates in this recipe.
Vegetables are usually the heroes in a salad dish, but here, they take a back seat to pearls of brown rice made fragrant with curry spices.
Brown rice, being a wholegrain food, is rich in fibre, which promotes the feeling of fullness.
The regional executive chef at the food solutions department of nutrition products maker Unilever Singapore, who devised the recipe with help from the Health Promotion Board, tossed the rice with plenty of mixed vegetables and fruit.
"This dish was inspired by Indian curried rice, only that I have added fruits to balance the flavours," said Mr Koh.
Indeed, there are generous doses of raisins and green apples, on top of sunflower seeds.
Raisins, which are dried grapes, are free of fat and low in sodium.
However, the drying process also means that the sugars in the fruit become concentrated. Some raisin varieties are sweeter than others, so you may wish to adjust the amount added according to your preference.
No meat is used, which means one does not have to worry about the cholesterol count in this dish.
For the dressing, you can use a vinaigrette, a mixture of vinegar and oil, of your choice. Pre-made versions of various flavours are available at the supermarket.
But if you want a healthier salad dressing without preservatives and with, say, less oil or sugar - try making one yourself.
For instance, you can do a citrus vinaigrette which incorporates lemon and orange juice on top of olive oil, crushed garlic, along with a bit of salt, pepper and oregano herb.
Just remember to lightly coat the ingredients with the dressing, not drench them - otherwise, the calories will add up.
1. Use more water when cooking whole grains as they absorb more water than refined grains.
2. Make your own healthy salad dressings to control the amount of fat, oil or seasoning added.
Curried rice salad
2 tsp canola oil
60g onion, chopped
2 tsp curry powder
80g green apples, diced
200g brown rice
240g frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
30g sunflower seeds
80ml vinaigrette dressing
A pinch of salt
A pinch of black pepper
In a pre-heated pan, add the oil and fry the onions with the curry powder till fragrant.
Add the green apples and cook for 2min till they are slightly softened.
Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.
Cook the brown rice and then set aside to cool.
In a bowl, combine all the ingredients and toss lightly with the vinaigrette.
Serve at room temperature.
Energy: 300 kilocalories
Total fat: 9.8g
Saturated fat: 1g
Dietary fibre: 5.2g
This article was published on May 15 in Mind Your Body, The Straits Times.
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