I have a brother in San Fransisco, another brother in Singapore and my parents live in Beirut; we are used to being very far apart from each other, but when something important strikes, we are quick to connect; well, it happened this weekend when my brother Jean, who lives in Singapore, got my attention by telling me I had to try this salad! Jean was wrapping up a visit to Japan and he had it in a restaurant there; he liked it so much he managed to retrieve the recipe.
My brother is a gourmet cook, who used to make us venison stew, risottos and fig tarts. When we lived in France, he would go to the outdoor marché and finger-pinch the geese at the market stalls to see if they were meaty enough, under the incredulous look of the French butcher.
I was dying to make Ottolenghi’s recipe for a reason that is deep to my heart: the success story of the restaurants in the UK and the cookbook is a perfect example of what can happen whenan Israeli and a Palestinian collaborateand work together. It is one of my dreams that this partnership will become the norm, someday.
INGREDIENTS: 8 to 10 servings
- 1 roasting chicken or 4 cups of baked chicken chunks
- 3 large onions
- olive oil, as needed
- 1/3 cup of fresh lemon juice, 1/2 cup of olive oil (for dressing)
- 2 Tablespoons of roasted sesame oil
- 1 Tablespoon of Thai fish sauce
- 1/2 bunch of cilantro, leaves chopped fine
- 1/2 bunch of fresh mint, leaves chopped fine
- 1 bunch of green onions, chopped fine
- 3 jalapeños or other chilis, seeded and diced
- 1/2 cup of Basmati rice
- 1/2 cup of brown Basmati rice
- 1/2 cup wild rice
- 1 box of baby arugula
- Clean the chicken by rubbing it with a cut lemon; sprinkle with salt and pepper all over and rub it all over with some olive oil; roast in a 375F oven till golden all over and cooked through.
- While the chicken is roasting, cook the Basmati in about 1 1/2 cups of water and a dash of salt; or use a rice cooker if you’ve got one. Do the same for the brown Basmati and the wild rice, cooking them together in 2 cups of water.
- While the rice is cooking, heat some olive oil and fry the onions for about 45 minutes over low heat until browned all over and nicely caramelized; to speed this process you can throw in a dash of sugar in the frying pan.
- When the chicken is done, cool and cut into chunks; use a couple of tablespoons of the chicken roasting juices to moisten the rice mixture.
- Make a dressing with the lemon juice, sesame oil, fish sauce and olive oil; pour over the chicken chunks and mix a bit.
- Mix all of the chicken chunks, caramelized onions, rice mixture, chopped cilantro, mint, green onions, chopped jalapeños and baby arugula. Serve.
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