Feel free to follow along: Thai Cashew Coconut Rice
The ingredient list divided items into three sections; rice, salad, and sauce, which made for easy work station organizing. For the rice, I decided to swap the rice for riced cauliflower based on my own preferences. Luckily, Trader Joe's sells already riced cauliflower, cutting out unnecessary work and mess.
As instructed, I started by cooking the cauliflower (or rice) with garlic and coconut milk. I used the entire bag, which I think is comparable to the recommended 1 1/2 cups dry rice. About halfway through the cooking process, I realized my brilliant swap idea may not work as intended. Unlike rice, cauliflower lacks absorption properties, and in fact, releases water as it cooks. In a panic, I threw in about 1/3 cup brown rice from the pantry, hoping it would solve my problem; it did! Brown rice takes longer to cook, so the entire process took longer than 40 minutes.
While the cauliflower, brown rice, garlic, and coconut milk simmered, I chopped the vegetables and cashews, and set them aside. I searched for red cabbage in the grocery, but when I could not find it, decided to use the bag of arugula I already had at home. Cabbage adds great crunch, but the arugula acted as a great substitute.
Yes! I made a GIF! Thanks David.
The recipe also suggested making the sauce while waiting for the (cauliflower) rice. As usual, I made another tweak. The original recipe called for a peanut ginger sauce; a staple of Thai cuisine. However, peanut butter and I do not always get along, so I chose to use cashew butter instead. Why cashew? Based on the other ingredients in the sauce, and the fact that cashews already made an appearance, the flavor profile of cashew butter seemed to compliment the recipe better than almond or sunflower butter.
I happened to already have rice vinegar and sesame oil in the pantry, but I do understand these may not be staples in your kitchen. I believe these ingredients elevated the sauce, however, you could probably do without if you don't foresee needing them again in the next few months. I do not use either rice vinegar or sesame oil frequently, but find excuses to incorporate them into other recipes from time to time (a little sesame oil mixed with olive oil when roasting veggies is delicious).
Back to the sauce! I love recipes that make things easy, like microwaving the cashew butter and honey for 15 seconds instead of using another pot. Once heated, I threw in the oil, vinegar, and ginger. I reserved the lime juice for the final product.
The final step was simply mixing everything together in a large bowl, and squeezing the lime on top for a perfect finish.
The recipe made a huge amount, plenty for the 15 people or so at the dinner party, plus leftovers. The dish loses a little vibrancy the next day, but I happily ate it up for lunch and dinner during the week (the flavor lasts nicely, just the colors become muted). My husband also enjoyed it, which means it gets extra praise from me.
The instructions were clear, short, and simple, and the ingredient list categorized items based on recipe component; an A+ decision from Host the Toast. Since I made a few adjustments to the recipe, rating expectations and taste seems a little unfair, however, I will say it hit the spot for me. Cashew butter does not pack as much punch as peanut butter, so I will add extra next time. I suspect the suggested amount of peanut butter suites the recipe well for those who take that route.
The only slightly difficult aspect of this recipe is the amount of vegetable chopping required, and as the vegetables are eaten raw, it requires careful and uniform chopping. Properly using a knife is an advanced kitchen skill; I consider myself a beginner when it comes to knife skills. Onions can prove particularly tricky. If you would like a quick tutorial, check out this Gordon Ramsay video.
I don't think I had any expectations ahead of time, other than I was seriously crossing my fingers it would turn out well enough to serve to my friends (it did). My habit of not testing recipes prior to serving to others will one day come back to bite me, but for now, it works.
Clarity of Instructions: ✭✭✭✭
Met Expectations: ✭✭✭
Each category is ranked from 1-4 stars
I will leave you with a few photos from the evening. I can't take any credit for the Pinterest worthy set-up. Hosts Marc and Zoe (two of my closest friends) continually out do themselves with delicious food, a well stocked bar, and a beautifully decorated apartment that any follower of Apartment Therapy would die for (also, my photo taking skills do not do any of it justice).
Walking enthusiast, kitchen experimenter, sports lover (watching, not playing), and future world traveler.
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