Asian Rice Salad

This salad is somewhat reminiscent of sushi. If you really want it to taste more like sushi, add a scant teaspoon or so of sugar with the vinegar as the rice is cooling. Do be sure and eat it at room temperature or even just a little tepid. It's a wonderfully satisfying salad, particularly on those summer days when you're hungry but not for anything hot. Serve it with Soy Sauce(very important, but I prefer to let each season to his or her own preference), cashews, rice noodles, sesame sticks, whatever such condiments you like.

Ingredients

2 cups White Rice
3 tbsp Rice VinegarCider or white wine vinegar will work well also.
2 tsp Sesame Oil
2 cups Broccoliflorets
1 cup Snow Peas (Pea Pods)trimmed; sugar snap peas are a very acceptable alternative.
½ cup Colored PeppersRed, Yellow, or Orange, or a combination
½ cup CeleryStalks, sliced very thinly
1 clove GarlicMinced
½ cup ScallionsSliced thinly
1 tbsp Ginger, freshMinced, optional
1 tsp White SugarScant, optional, as noted above
1   Egg (s), hard boiledChopped, optional for taste and color

Directions

1 Measure the rice into a medium size sauce pan. Cover with cold water up to an inch or so above the rice. Cover the pot. Put the heat on low. When the water begins to simmer, time the rice to 11 minutes. At that point check to see that the water is absorbed. It should be, unless too much water was added. (I hope not) Then move the rice off the burner and leave the pan covered. Leave for about five minutes.
2 As this is happening, you can be preparing the vegetables. Place the broccoli florets in a sauce pan. Add just about two tablespoons or so of water. We just want them to steam, not boil. The idea is for the water to evaporate just as the broccoli is steamed, which takes only about 2-3 minutes. Put the sauce pan over medium heat. As the water begins to steam, watch and stir the broccoli some as it steams. When the water is evaporated the broccoli should be cooked just enough. Cook the snow peas in the same wqy. You could do them together. If I'm in a hurry, I do, though I prefer separate cooking because they are different in texture, and, because they are somewhat delicate, I treat the snow peas with extra care.
3 After the cooked rice sits about five minutes, remove it to a large bowl. Don't mix it too much because we want the grains to dry a bit and not stick together. They do stick together some. Don't worry about that. I think it just adds to the dish. Sprinkle the garlic and ginger on top.
4 After about five more minutes, sprinkle on the vinegar (and sugar if you choose). Very gently, mix these together so that the vinegar flavors the rice well.
5 At this point the celery should be added. It's good to give the celery a little warmth from the rice, and also inversely, to promote the cooling of the rice.
6 Sprinkle the Sesame Oil on top. Let the rice cool to room temperature.
7 Mix in the broccoli and snow peas, and scallions.
8 Soy sauce is a necessity for us, but I serve it separately on the table so that each can season their rice as preferred. Chopped hard boiled eggs may be used either on top or on the side as a condiment. Sesame sticks are staple items in our home and add a lot to this dish. Either toasted cashews or almonds are very good too.