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Recipe for family meals :

Chicken, Rice and Bean Salad

This recipe is from the SodaMail Recipes in Time! newsletter which is written by Chele who also has her own website, Chele's Treasures <click here>

Chele is a single mother of three young boys who manages to find the time to run her own desktop publishing and personalisation service from her home and also writes the popular SodaMail newsletter Recipes in Time! three days a week.

The newsletter is really interesting as not only do you get the recipe but you also learn about the food itself as in this sample recipe. This is one of the internet's better newsletters and if you are interested in your food you should subscribe. To subscribe to Recipes in Time! <click here>

A Little Rice History

Let's go all the way back to the beginning of agriculture to start. Agriculture was estimated to start around 10,000 BC. For centuries, humans maintained themselves by fishing in the rivers, hunting in the forests, and gathering edible plant products. The earliest agriculture was probably focused on plants that reproduced vegetatively, but the seeds of varieties of wild rice such as Oryza fatua may have found their way to the gardens at an early date.

The first record for North America dates from 1685, when the crop was produced on the coastal lowlands and island of what is now South Carolina. The crop may well have been carried to that area by slaves brought from Madagascar.

The domestication of rice ranks as one of the most important developments in history, for this grain has fed more people over a longer period of time than has any other crop.


2 cups water
1 1/4 cups canned unsalted chicken broth
1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts, well trimmed
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed, drained
1 16-ounce can corn, rinsed, drained
1 bell pepper, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/4 cup lightly packed chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 large garlic cloves

  • Bring 2 cups water and 1 cup chicken broth to boil in heavy medium saucepan. Add rice. Season with salt and pepper; reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Transfer rice to large bowl and cool.
  • Preheat broiler. Place chicken on heavy broiler proof pan. Brush chicken with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon cumin. Broil chicken until cooked through, turning once, about 10 minutes. Cool and cut chicken into 1-inch pieces.
  • Add chicken, black beans, corn, bell pepper, red onion and cilantro to rice in bowl.
  • Combine remaining 1/4 cup chicken broth, remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, remaining 1 teaspoon cumin, lime juice and garlic in blender. Process until garlic is finely minced. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Pour dressing over salad in bowl and toss well. (Can be prepared up to 4 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate).

Serves 6

Interesting Chinese Myth on Rice

Chinese myth tells of rice being a gift of animals rather than of gods. China had been visited by an especially severe period of floods. When the land had finally drained, people came down from the hills where they had taken refuge, only to discover that all the plants had been destroyed and there was little to eat. They survived through hunting but animals were scarce. One day the people saw a dog coming across a field, and on dog's tail were long, yellow seeds. The people planted these seeds, rice grew, and hunger disappeared.

Throughout China today, tradition holds that "the precious things are not pearls and jade but the five grains", of which rice is first.