Monday, 15 February 2016

Our Man In Japan's Risotto

We were asked to give this a go by our friend Warren in Fukuoka; Altar Ego Radio contributor, Japanese-speaker and compiler of interesting vegan recipes.

Its ingredients look odd at first but it was very tangy and fresh.

You could just as easily make this into a kind of dal by using lentils instead of rice, but you'd need to adjust cooking times for the lentils accordingly - start boiling them ahead of time, then drain, then add to the recipe when they've got around 20 minutes to go.

So, you'll need:

- 1 cup arborio or risotto rice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 chopped chillis 
(your call on how hot these are - whether that's 2 scotch bonnets or 2 relaxed ones is up to you!)
- 1 glass vegan white wine 
(Warren used half a glass, I put in 1 whole but small one)
- 500ml of vegetable stock 
- Zest and juice of half a lime
- Half an onion, chopped finely
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 - 1&1/2 tablespoons of coconut milk 
(or you can use 50g creamed coconut blended into 200m heated soya milk)
- Fresh garlic leaves to garnish 
(optional, I had some just pulled out of the garden so I added it)

- Salt & pepper to taste

I should point out that in the absence of lime, I used half a lemon and some finely chopped lemongrass - I feel pretty sure the net result was very similar.

Here's what you do:

- Wash the rice thoroughly in boiled water, till it runs clear.

- Put your tablespoon of olive oil into your deep pan or wok and sauté the rice gently till it begins to go clear, and is fully coated with the oil. It can gently 'golden-brown' a little, but do not let it burn! About 10 minutes, stirring constantly.

- Pour in the white win, bring to the boil.

- Chop and add the chillis. 
TASTE after cooking for a further five minutes.
The rice should be a nice moist mixture by now. 
Add more wine if it looks a little dry.
Add more chilli if it's not warming the cheeks.

- Stir the coconut milk (or 50g creamed coconut in soya milk) into the rice till fully combined.

- Finely chop the lemongrass and add together with your lime/lemon juice.

Top to bottom:
Freshly picked garlic leaves, lemongrass, chilli slices.

- Make up your stock and add to the rice mixture. Bring to boil, then allow to simmer, stirring frequently.

- Add the chopped garlic glove, and turmeric. This'll give it its unusual golden glow.

- Add salt and pepper to taste.

- Keep cooking till most of the liquid is dissolved into the rice. It will go a little porridgy, but that's OK - and KEEP TASTING!

Serve with the chopped green garlic leaves on the top. Works well as a main dish, or as a small side with a main event.

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