NRS10: Thai Herb and Spice Risotto with Shrimp, Cashews, and Purple Rice タイ風味海老カシュー紫米リゾット

Today, New Risotto Sunday returns from its winter holiday with a gloriously colorful, spicy, creamy, tangy experiment in homemade fusion cuisine! In Bangkok, I stocked up on a few choice ingredients I can’t get (easily) in Japan, namely: galangal, Thai basil, kaffir lime leaves, real cinnamon, tamarind, black rice, red rice, and purple rice. This week’s risotto makes exuberant use of most of them, not to mention dried chilies, chili oil, fish sauce, cashews, ginger, lime juice, and coconut milk.

It turned out surprisingly well, with a balanced hotness and juicy tang beneath the soft sweetness of coconut, cashews, and sticky rice.

And now my apartment is ripe with the aroma of kaffir lime. I love it!

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Thai Herb and Spice Risotto with Shrimp, Cashews, and Purple Rice

3/4 cup Japanese or Arborio rice
about 6 cups chicken or seafood stock
1 slice dried galangal (about 5 inches long)
peel of 1/2 lime
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/4 cup cashews, whole or roughly chopped
about 1 inch ginger, sliced
about 3/4 tablespoon minced ginger
3 dried Chinese chilies, minced
2 dried Chinese chilies, halved
2 dried kaffir lime leaves
about 1/2 cup Thai basil, torn
juice of 2 limes
about 1 1/2 cups cooked purple rice
about 1/2 cup coconut milk
8 medium prawns, shelled and deveined
vegetable oil, for sautéeing
sesame oil, for sautéing
chili oil, to taste
Chinese five spice powder, to taste (optional)
salt, to taste

  1. Prepare stock and bring to a boil. Add galangal, fish sauce, and lime peel and simmer for at least 20 minutes before using. Reduce heat and keep warm throughout cooking.
  2. Heat vegetable oil, sesame oil, and chili oil in a large, deep pan. Add minced ginger, minced chilies, and cashews and sauté over medium heat for about 7-8 minutes, or until ginger and cashews begin to brown.
  3. Add short-grain rice, increase heat, and stir to coat with oil. Stir often to ensure even toasting.
  4. When rice is evenly toasted to opacity, add juice of 1 lime and stir.
  5. Add sliced ginger, halved chilies, and kaffir leaves.
  6. Reduce heat to medium and add a ladleful of stock, sliced ginger, halved chilies, Thai basil, and kaffir leaves and cook, stirring often. When most of the liquid has evaporated or been absorbed, add more stock and continue stirring. Repeat this step several times until rice has nearly finished cooking.
  7. When rice is nearly al dente, remove ginger, chilies, and kaffir.
  8. Add coconut milk, five spice, and a final ladleful of stock along with prawns and cook until prawns just turn white on the outside, about 1-2 minutes.
  9. Add purple rice and remaining lime juice. Stir well to incorporate. If the risotto is too thin, add more purple rice; if it is too thick, add more coconut milk and stir.
  10. Salt to taste and serve garnished with a kaffir lime and an extra drizzle of chili oil. Pairs well with buckwheat tea.
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