If there's any reason to make extra basmati, it's the excuse to make fried rice or to save some for a salad the following day. I love how the rice segregates when it's cool losing all of its starchy stickiness. In the heat of summer, I love to toss cold rice with baked tofu and cucumber slices then douse it all in rice vinegar and top with roasted chopped peanuts, but in the fall / winter, a rice salad works best with another grain that is a bit heftier. Helloooo wheat berry. The endosperm addition to the equation (literally). This grain is a delight of chewy nuttiness. I love the sweet subtlety of basmati but I almost like it even more matched with something shorter, chewier, meatier like a whole unprocessed grain such as the hard wheat berry (super easy to cook, by the way, and full of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals). They tango well together.
Add to the salad the colour and sweetness and general delight of corn kernals and something fresh and slightly citrusy like pea shoots and it's a pretty great lunch.
Leftover cooked basmati rice (or any rice)
Corn kernals, fresh or frozen
Pea shoots, chopped (substitutes: arugula, fresh herbs (dill, basil or parsley), baby spinach)
To cook the wheat berries: Rinse them under running water. Fill a pot half way with water, add 1/2 cup of wheat berries* and bring to a boil. Turn down to medium heat, and let simmer / slow boil for about 45 minutes. Check for consistency. Al dente or still chewy works best for salads. Once they are cooked through, drain in a sieve, and toss with your left over rice.
cut kernals off of fresh cobs of corn (or use frozen), and add to about an inch of water in a flat deep frying pan. Heat over high, tossing constantly, for about 3 minutes, or until the kernals have turned bright yellow. You want to steam the kernals rather than boil them. Drain the cooked kernals in a sieve and toss to shake off all the excess water.
Add to rice and wheat berry mix. Toss with dressing. Add in any fresh tasting greens: chopped pea shoots or arugula or baby spinach or chopped fresh herbs (cilantro and parsley combined or basil or dill or fresh chives). You could also use tender rainbow chard leaves or dandelion leaves if you have either on hand, just ribbon the leaves thinly. Tossed with the warm ingredients, they will wilt a bit, which is what you want! -- it saps any bitterness.
Honey Apple Cider Vinaigrette, makes about 1 cup but it keeps in a jar in the refrigerator**
1/2 cup of honey (always buy unpasteurized raw honey ideally from close to where you live -- local honey is made from local bees who obviously use local pollen providing you with antibodies)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 green onion, minced
3/4 cup olive oil
Coarse sea salt and cracked black pepper
Whisk together the honey and the vinegar, add the juice of the lemon and the green onion, whisk again, then add the olive oil until blended. Spoon over the salad, tossing until absorbed.
*1 cup raw wheat berries equals 2 1/2 cups cooked.
**Old mason jars or mustard jars rinsed and soaped in hot water make perfect salad dressing containers. You can seal them tight enough to be able to shake vigorously.