Nigel Slater’s puffed rice with redcurrants and cucumber recipe

A substantial dish that could serve as a main course as well as a side salad

The recipe

Peel 200g of cucumber, halve lengthways and scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon. Cut the flesh into small dice and place in a large mixing bowl.

In a dry, shallow pan, toast 1 tsp of cumin seeds and 1½ tsp of coriander seeds until fragrant, then add 1 tsp of garam masala. Tip the spice mix into a mortar and crush to a fine powder.

Remove 100g of redcurrants from their stalks and drop into a bowl. Pull 3 tbsp of parsley leaves from their stalks and mix with the currants. Squeeze in the juice of a lime and add 2 tbsp of olive oil then mix together.

Put 200ml of yogurt into a small bowl. Trim a punnet of cress and add to the yogurt, then chop and stir in 3 spring onions and 20 small mint leaves.

Return the ground spices to the pan, add 1 tbsp of groundnut or vegetable oil, then add 25g of puffed rice. Place over a moderate heat and cook until the rice is lightly toasted and coated in the spices. Toss everything together then serve with the mint yogurt. Stir together as you serve. Serves 2-3.

The trick

You need unsweetened puffed rice for this, available from wholefoods shops. You can mix together the cucumber and currants and toss the puffed rice and spices, but leave them to the last minute to mix with the yogurt to avoid soggy salad.

The twist

The rice is quite filling and this would make a fine main salad for a summer lunch. Alternatively, serve it as a side salad for grilled chicken or salmon, or as one of series of small salads. I like it especially scattered over the top of a dish of chickpea hummus and to eat with warm flatbread. You can’t beat a lunch of triple carbs.