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The star of this rice bowl isn't the shredded chicken or the assortment of raw vegetables, it's the fish sauce-spiked dressing.
Take a moment to imagine a table set with two grain bowls: Fresh, raw peas, radishes, and red cabbage are piled over a bed of forbidden rice, named for its dark purple tint, with a poached, shredded chicken breast tucked in. At their sides are two glasses of wine (presumably second servings, since this recipe is so simple that it encourages a glass while assembling the bowl) and an opaque, coconut milk-based dressing filled with bright and briny elements. In it is a clove of minced garlic, cilantro and mint, the zest and juice from an entire lime, a hearty dash of fish sauce, and just enough serrano to give a kick to the sweet coconut milk and a bit of added palm sugar.
While the grain bowls are exactly what you want for a weeknight dinner (a grown up-approved ratio of vegetables, protein, and carbohydrates), it's the dressing that gives this meal a unique, umami-packed punch. So pile chicken and vegetables over rice—the ingredients listed in the recipe pair well together, but this is a salad made for cleaning out your crisper drawer—but don't alter the dressing! We don't think it could get any better:
For the Thai coconut-lime dressing:
Juice of 1 lime (about 1/4 cup)
2 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce, preferably Red Boat
1/3 cup full-fat coconut milk
1 tablespoon palm sugar (or light brown sugar)
Zest of 1 lime (about 1 to 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons fresh lemongrass, finely chopped
1/2 serrano pepper, seeded and minced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
For the salad bowl and toppings:
1 1/2 cups cooked forbidden black rice
10 ounces poached chicken breast, shredded
2 small Persian cucumbers, diced
4 large radishes, thinly sliced
1/2 cup red cabbage, shredded
1 medium carrot, peeled and shredded
1 cup snap peas, cut thinly on the bias
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh mint
What's a go-to dressing you love that tops the salad (pun intended)? Tell us in the comments below!
This article was originally published in September 2015.