A Spring Salad ~ Shrimps, Wholegrain Basmati Rice & Quinoa

It happened a few days back. I was travelling in an extremely overcrowded train during the rush hour, was super squashed between a bunch of exuberantly chattering Spanish teenagers. It was tight, it was stuffy and I desperately wanted to get out. But there was still some way to go. Escape wasn't at hand. So to take my mind off my uncomfortable circumstances, I decided to plan a spring menu. Ot to make it sound more grand a spring feast of sorts.What all would I put if I had to throw a spring party? Of course the food has to be light, quickly departing is the season of stews and casseroles {bye bye winter}, since it's spring it has to have colour, lots and lots of colour and because I am in no mood to spend hours in the kitchen it has to be quick. As quick as a feast can be humanly managed. I had some packets of rice sent by Tilda waiting to be tried. I decided to use the new wholegrain basmati and quinoa one. Now what do I do with it? Serve it simply steamed or make a fried rice? No that's done to death. For spring there has to be something new, something fresh. Why not turn this healthy rice into a healthy salad? Now I liked the direction my thoughts had taken. What would I serve this salad with? BBQ-ed meat? That was a possibility. But it's not yet BBQ weather, I can't stand in my balcony for 5 minutes, let alone BBQ meat. That has to wait. So why not add some protein to the salad itself? My fridge has some shrimps, waiting to be devoured. So a shrimp and rice salad it would be. But what else? What about corn on the cobs? That's a firm favourite, drenched in butter with a bit of smoked paprika. But I had a sneaky feeling that the rice salad may need a bit of spicy something to go with it. That is when I thought of the reclusive avocado languishing in the corner of my fruit basket. I can tell you I make a mean guacamole. 
I was happily lost in my thoughts, when suddenly the doors of the train shooshed open and the chattering teenagers all left, laughing and joking. Ah to be young and fancy free again! Once they left, the train was suddenly empty and very British like, not a human voice to be heard, only the pinging of some phones, no eye contact, people immersed in their books, newspapers, laptops. But the silence felt good, I found a corner seat, made myself comfortable. The woman beside me was looking at a magazine, on it was a photo of a pineapple. That reminded me there was half a pineapple left over from juicing in the morning. So pineapple salsa it would be. Guacamole and pineapple salsa should bring in enough oomph to  the rice salad meal.

All that standing had made me thirsty. So what would I drink with my spring feast? Normally I would just plonk open a chilled bottle of my favourite fruit cider, but I remembered I finished the last bottle the evening before.  I didn't have the patience to go restocking that evening. So some other drink it has to be. The only other drink in the fridge was a packet of coconut water. Was thinking how to make the coconut water exciting, when I suddenly remembered the different teas I have at home, and how I have been meaning to make an iced tea. No more dilly dallying, I will make the iced tea that evening to go with my spring feast.  All this hectic menu planning made me so distracted that I almost missed my stop. Almost. At the last moment I jumped out, marched home and got to the kitchen. This feast took me an hour and a half to put together. Extremely satisfactory it was too. 
But before I natter on about my menu, let me quickly tell you about this wholegrain basmati and quinoa rice that Tilda has launched. 

I have a confession to make. Though we grew up eating par boiled rice, now a days we eat polished white rice. We have been meaning to switched to something a bit more healthy. That was when Tilda sent me the bags. I quite liked the taste of this rice. I have decided to compromise and eat this healthy rice during weekday dinners, and keep my polished rice for weekend lunches.
Now for the salad. It's extremely easy to make, though takes a bit of time. Let me take you through the steps.

The prawn being marinated before being cooked for the salad.

Ingredients for the rice salad:
{Serves two as main meal with accompaniments}
i. 200 grams of shrimps
ii. 4 cloves of garlic, crushed and roughly chopped
iii.2 green chillies, sliced
iv. Half a medium red onion, finely chopped
v. Zest and juice of one lemon
vi. Smoked paprika and sea salt to taste
vii. 2 table spoons of olive oil
viii. Half a red & yellow pepper each, cut in small cubes
ix. Half a cucumber, cut in small cubes
x. One sweet corn, boiled and taken off the cob
xi. One red chilli, chopped
xii. Handful of chopped coriander
xiii. 1 cup of Tilda's Wholegrain Basmati & Quinoa Rice

How to make the rice salad:
There are three parts to making this salad
1. Cook the rice
2. Marinate & cook the shrimps
3. Assemble the salad
Steps 1 & 2 can be done ahead and the salad can be assembled at the last moment to keep it fresh.

i. Cook the rice according to the instructions at the back of the packet
ii.While the rice is cooking marinate the shrimps in one table spoon of lemon juice,  zest of lemon, one tea spoon of smoked paprika and sea salt each, 4 cloves of garlic, two green chillies, chopped onion and a bit of chopped coriander for about 10 minutes
iii. Heat a frying pan, add one table spoon of olive oil, cook the shrimps for 4 to 5 minutes till the shrimps turn pink and start curling. Checked if they are cooked through. Switch off the heat and keep the cooked shrimp aside
iv. Prep the vegetables ~boiling, cutting & chopping
v. By now the rice should be cooked, check. Drain in a colander and run cold water through the cooked rice to wash off the remaining starch
vi. Transfer the shrimp in a big bowl, add the vegetables and add the rice. Gently mix everything with a fork, taking care not to break the rice
vii. Time to season the salad ~ add one table spoon of olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt and paprika according to taste { start with a small amount and keep adding more according to need} sprinkle the remaining coriander and one more final mixing.
viii. Your salad is ready. Do one final taste check. Adjust the seasoning if needed. 
This salad tastes best when slightly warm. Serve with guacamole and salsa for that extra spicy kick. This will make a great side dish for a BBQ party.

Taste verdict: This is a fresh tasting light rice salad. All those vegetables add a nice crunch while the spicy prawns bring in a whole lot of flavour. I can see myself making this a lot during the hot summer months.


  1. beautiful colourful meal lovely presentation

  2. Filling salad. And its looking so yummy.


  3. Love the pictures, everything looks so colorful and tempting..


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