Despite being a vegetarian, the idea of eating salad fills me with horror (especially one which consists solely or mainly of leaves, as I am sure it would leave me feeling hungry again very quickly!). Until recently, I was similarly disinclined towards brown rice – mainly because of its cooking time, which seems to be twice as long as usual white rice. However, ever since I bought a bag of Fairtrade Kilombero rice, grown in Malawi, from the Glasgow Academy Fairtrade Group’s stand at the Co-operatives United expo, I have been a convert to its sticky, nutty, satisfying flavour and texture. And I have even invented a salad to eat it with based on throwing together a few things in my kitchen, making use of three of my favourite flavour combinations – aubergine, honey and cumin – and love of sweet and savoury combinations.
Students from the Glasgow Academy’s Young Co-operative were selling Kilombero rice at the expo as part of their rice challenge, which aimed to sell 90kg of rice – the amount a Malawian farmer has to sell in order to afford the school fees for one child for a year (only one in three children in the country attend high school).
I got through my kg of rice quickly, and would definitely buy some more. Here is one of the ways I ate it (I also enjoyed cooking it as an accompaniment to curry).
Aubergine, walnut and pomegranate salad with Fairtrade Kilombero brown rice
1 medium aubergine, cut into large cubes
75g walnuts, chopped
½ pomegranate, seeds
1tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 teaspoon cumin
2 ½ tablespoons runny honey
200g Kilombero rice
Salt and pepper to taste
Pre-heat oven to 200-220 degrees.
Place the aubergine and walnuts in a roasting dish with the cumin and seeds, cover with olive oil and stir well. Season with salt and pepper and leave to roast for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, drain the rice and add to a bowl of boiling water. Cover and simmer.
Remove the aubergine from the oven, stir in the honey, walnut and pomegranate seeds and cook for a further 5/10 minutes.
Drain rice. Remove aubergine from oven and stir mixture into rice.
Serve warm or cold, and freeze leftovers for use another day.
The Fairtrade Group at the Glasgow Academy have also put together a recipe book of Malawian recipes to go alongside the rice. To download the recipe book visit www.youngco-operatives.coop/Members/The-Glasgow-Academy/Lyle-Hill/Kilombero-Rice-Project.
To purchase Kilombero Rice visit www.malawidelights.com/index.php?route=product/category&path=99.