Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Arthritis Friendly Recipe: Black Rice Sushi Salad

Here's a recipe I wrote for the lovely PsAZZ support group's newsletter - you can read about this great bunch of psoriatic arthritis-ers here. Having people you can share triumphs and tribulations with is hugely important if you suffer from any chronic illness so do look them up and see if you can support them in any way. Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients for the salad, it’s extremely quick to make and also travels well for pack lunches.

Black rice is incredibly high in antioxidants thanks to the phytochemical anthocyanin which makes it that rich dark burgundy-black colour. Anthocyanin is the same plant pigment that makes blueberries blue and blackberries black. Studies suggest that it may help reduce inflammation and even protect against cardiovascular disease but there isn’t enough evidence yet to say how much anthocyanin we need to eat and how effectively it is absorbed by the body. Black rice is also an excellent source of fibre as unlike white rice it hasn’t been hulled. Fibre is great for your body if you suffer from psoriatic arthritis as it helps keep your bowel healthy and keep your blood sugar levels stable. You can find black rice in most supermarkets now but you could use brown rice if it’s not available.

Salmon is also an excellent lunchtime choice. It’s a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids which have been shown to help reduce pain and inflammation in all types of arthritis. If you can afford it, buy wild salmon over farmed as it has a much higher ratio of healthy omega 3 fats to unhealthy omega 6 fats.

If you don’t like or can’t find frozen soybeans (although Birdseye sell them now), you can use frozen peas. I prefer soybeans as not only are they more authentic, but they are also little nutritional powerhouses. Soy beans are rich in protein, fibre, B vitamins and are a good source of omega 3 fats. They are also packed with isoflavones which some research suggests have anti-inflammatory properties.

For those of you with bad hands or who find chopping difficult, I make a very quick, no-chop version of this on flare days that uses tender stem broccoli and fine french beans in place of the cucumber and peppers. Just throw them in the pan with the rice for the last 5 minutes of cooking time. I also find it much easier to chop the spring onion and smoked salmon with scissors rather than a knife.

Ingredients:

Salad:
120g Thai black rice
100g cooked or smoked salmon cut into bite sized pieces
1 spring onion, chopped
100g cooked soybeans
100g cucumber chopped into cubes
1/2 red or yellow pepper, sliced into dice

Dressing:
1tbsp mirin (or 2tsp honey mixed with 1tbsp water)
2tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp wasabi (or more to taste - you can also use horseradish sauce)
1 tsp fresh grated ginger (or you can use paste from a tube or jar)
1 tsp sesame oil

To serve:
Toasted sesame seeds and sliced nori seaweed sheets (optional)

Makes enough for 2 people

First cook the rice by simmering it in boiling water for 30 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, mix together the ingredients for the dressing. If you find this difficult with a fork, you could use a small, lightweight milk frother.

Now add the salmon, cucumber, pepper, spring onion and soy beans to the rice. Add the dressing and give everything  good stir until evenly mixed.

Top the salad with a good sprinkle of sesames seeds and crumbled nori sheets and serve.

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