Found several interesting looking rice salads in the NY Times on July 30, 2008 by Mark Bittman (the minimalist). He says rice salads are among the few salads that don't deteriorate after the dressing is added, so they can be dressed minutes or hours ahead. He recommends that you cook the rice a bit in advance, and dress it before it gets too cold. He also recommends that you cook the rice like a pasta, in abundant salted water (for between 15 and 45 minutes, depending on the rice) and then drain it and dress it when the rice is cool enough to handle. Cooking time is for white rice.
- 1 1⁄2-2 cups brown rice or 1 1⁄2-2 cups white rice
- salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 1⁄2 cup scallion, chopped
- 1 small red bell peppers or 1 small yellow bell pepper, cored seeded and chopped
- 1⁄4 cup celery, finely chopped
- 1⁄4 cup carrot, finely chopped
- 1 cup firm tofu, preferably baked (optional)
- 6 tablespoons miso
- 3⁄4 cup warm water or 3⁄4 cup sake
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon mirin or 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (to taste)
- 2 sheets nori, lightly toasted
- 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds or 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds, toasted
- Cook rice in abundant salted water, as you would pasta, until it's just done; white will take 10-15 minutes, brown 30 minutes or more. Drain, rinse in cold water, drain again, then combine with vegetables and tofu in a large bowl.
- Put black pepper, miso, water or sake, sugar, mirin or honey, and vinegar in a small bowl and whisk together. Taste and add more vinegar and a pinch of salt if needed.
- Combine rice mixture with miso dressing with 2 big forks, fluffing rice and tossing gently to separate grains.
- Crumble nor over salad and sprinkle with sesame seeds, taste, and adjust seasoning or moisten with a little more dressing. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate up to a day, bringing salad back to room temperature before serving.