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6 main-course servings

You can cook the pork or chicken on a medium-hot grill if preferred. Tinned French fried onions offer a timesaving alternative to the shallots.

11/3 cups uncooked long grain brown rice

1/3 cup uncooked quinoa, red quinoa preferred

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2 to 3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste, to taste

1 pound pork tenderloin or boneless, skinless chicken thighs

4 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 large shallots or 1/3 red onion, peeled, very thinly sliced

1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded, diced

1 ripe mango, peeled, seeded, diced

1 cup chopped fresh cilantro

3 to 4 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

Cilantro lime dressing, see recipe 2 cups fresh bean sprouts

½ cup roasted flaked coconut, optional

½ cup chopped roasted salted peanuts, optional

1. Put rice, quinoa, curry paste and 2¾ cups water into a medium saucepan. Heat to a boil; cover tightly. Reduce heat to very low; simmer until rice is tender but not mushy, 15-20 minutes. (Alternatively, cook the rice, quinoa, curry paste and 22/3 cups water in a rice cooker according to manufacturer’s instructions.) Remove from heat; let stand, 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork; transfer to a large bowl to cool.

2. Cut pork or chicken into scant ½ -inch pieces. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots. Cook and stir until golden, about four minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer shallots to a plate.

3. Reheat the oil left in the pan. Add half of the pork or chicken. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, three to four minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate. Repeat with another tablespoon of the oil and remaining meat. Transfer cooked meat to the plate.

4. Add remaining tablespoon oil and the red pepper to the skillet; cook until crisp-tender, about three minutes. Add to the meat. Stir cooked meat and red peppers into rice. Add mango, chopped cilantro and mint. Cool and refrigerate up to two days.

5. To serve, stir in enough of the dressing to lightly coat everything; taste and mix well. Top with bean sprouts, toss lightly. Top with coconut, peanuts and the reserved fried shallots. Serve at room temperature.

Cilantro lime dressing: In a blender, put 1/3 cup vegetable oil and ¼ cup each: fresh lime juice and fish sauce. Add 2 or 3 thin slices peeled ginger, 1 clove garlic and ½ cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves. Process until smooth. Makes about ¾ cup. Refrigerate and use within 1 day.

— JeanMarie Brownson, Chicago Tribune

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