Meera Sodha’s vegan recipe for sweetcorn, chipotle and avocado rice salad

If there were awards given to countries for cultivating ingredients, Mexico would be gleaming with trophies. Corn, chillies and avocados are all said to have spilled forth from its borders, and are now well loved across the world. Given the country’s incredible food culture, it’s a place I think about a lot in the kitchen, and today’s recipe is a homage to some of its treasures. In this salad, the sweetcorn is fried hard until caramelised, then given a bit of punch with smoky, sharp chipotle in adobo, before being cushioned by creamy avocado and rice.

Sweetcorn, chipotle and avocado black rice salad
You’ll need a blender to make the avocado cream. Chipotle en adobo are smoky jalapeños that have been rehydrated and blended with tomato, vinegar and spices, and then either canned or jarred. You can find them in the world food aisle of large supermarkets.

Prep 20 min
Cook 35 min
Serves 4

350g black venus rice
2 ripe avocados (about 240g), stoned and flesh scooped out
100g non-dairy yoghurt – I like Alpro No-Sugars
Fine sea salt
4 corn cobs, or 500g sweetcorn kernels
3 tbsp rapeseed oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
10 spring onions (200g), trimmed and finely sliced
3 tbsp chipotle en adobo – I like the one by Cool Chile Company
200g mangetout
2 tbsp lime juice (ie, from 2 limes), plus 1 lime, cut into wedges, to serve
5¼ tbsp (20g) fresh coriander, finely chopped

Put the rice in a medium saucepan, cover with plenty of cold water, then bring to a boil over a medium heat. Turn down the heat to a simmer, leave to cook for 18 minutes, until tender, then drain. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rest.

While the rice is cooking, make the avocado cream. Put the avocado flesh in a blender with the yoghurt and a third of a teaspoon of salt, and blitz smooth.

If using corn cobs, strip off the leaves and silky strands, then cut the base off each stem, so it’s flat. Hold one cob base down on a rimmed tray or plate and, gripping firmly at the top, slide a sharp knife down the length of the cob, keeping it close to the core, so the kernels fall into the plate. Rotate the cob, cut again and repeat until you’re left holding just the core. Repeat with the remaining cobs.

Heat three tablespoons of oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan over a high heat and, once it’s smoking hot, add the corn and fry for six minutes, turning just the once – you want some caramelisation. Add the garlic, fry for two minutes, then add the spring onions and cook for four minutes, until they’ve softened. Turn the heat to medium, add the chipotle, mangetout, a teaspoon and a quarter of salt, 100ml water and the lime juice, leave to simmer for two or three minutes, then take off the heat.

Mix the hot corn and the coriander into the rice, then taste and adjust the salt and lime, if need be. Transfer to a platter, put the avocado cream to one side (or on top, if serving in individual bowls) and serve with lime wedges on the side.