Is it crazy to cook rice, dry it out, and then deep-fry it? Maybe a little bit. But when you taste this unique and addictively crunchy twist on tabbouleh, you’ll appreciate the effort.
- 2 tablespoons dried currants
- 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
- ¾ cup short-grain brown rice
- Vegetable oil (for frying; about 2 cups)
- 1½ cups coarsely chopped cauliflower florets
- ½ bunch small curly kale, ribs and stems removed, leaves coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
- ½ small English hothouse cucumber, finely chopped
- 1 scallion, thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper or ½ crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons sumac (optional)
- Freshly ground black pepper
Combine currants and vinegar in a small bowl; let sit at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.
Cook rice in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, 45–50 minutes. Drain rice, return to pot, cover, and let sit 10 minutes. Spread out on a baking sheet; let dry out overnight in an unlit oven or on countertop.
Fit a medium saucepan with thermometer and pour in vegetable oil to measure 2”. Heat over medium-high heat until thermometer registers 350°. Working in 4 batches, cook rice until golden and puffed, about 1 minute. Using a fine-mesh sieve, transfer puffed rice to paper towels to drain; season with salt and let cool.
Meanwhile, pulse cauliflower in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl. Working in batches, pulse kale in food processor until finely chopped (be careful not to turn into a purée), adding to cauliflower as you go. Add puffed rice, currants with soaking liquid, cucumber, scallion, olive oil, Aleppo pepper, and sumac, if using; toss to combine and season with salt, black pepper, and more vinegar, if desired.
DO AHEAD: Rice can be fried 5 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.