Spicy Brown Rice Salad with Chicken and Peanuts
The flavors of this salad are modeled on kung pao, the popular dish in North American Chinese restaurants. If you want it even more fiery, up the red pepper flakes to 2 teaspoons.
- 2 1/4 cups water
- 1 cup long-grain brown rice, such as brown basmati or brown jasmine
- 12 dried Chinese black mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon five-spice powder
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (6 ounces each)
- 1 can (11 ounces) water-packed mandarin oranges, drained
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 2 celery stalks, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, chopped
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce (regular or reduced-sodium)
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons honey
- Up to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Preparation time 15mins
Cooking time 120mins
Adapted from splendidtable.org
1. Combine the water and rice in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the rice is tender and the water has been absorbed, about 40 minutes. Set aside, covered, to steam for 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, put the mushrooms in a small heatproof bowl. Bring a kettle of water to a boil and pour over the mushrooms. Soak for 20 minutes.
3. And while those first two steps are going on, heat a large nonstick skillet or grill pan over medium heat. Rub the sesame oil and five-spice powder into the chicken breasts. Slip them into the skillet or pan and cook, turning once, until well browned and an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a breast registers 160°F, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board to cool for 5 minutes.
4. Dump the cooked rice into a large serving bowl. Drain the mushrooms in a colander, remove the stems and discard them, then slice the caps into thin strips and add them to the bowl. Finally, chop the chicken into 1/2-inch bits and toss these into the bowl as well.
5. Stir in everything else: the orange segments, bell pepper, celery, peanuts, soy sauce, vinegar, honey, and red pepper flakes.
Make ahead: Immediately after preparing, cover and store in the fridge for up to 4 days.