I‘m not one of those people who is averse to what is generally known as ‘fusion’ cooking. In fact, if one thinks about the history of food then really everything is fusion cooking in one way or the other.
However, rarely do I attempt to combine things from two different food cultures — I’m still learning, but once in a while a bit of experimenting is good. So today’s dish combines two of my favourite dishes: Thai Green Curry and Italian Risotto. I’m certainly not the first person to make this dish — there are dozens of recipes online for the same — but I did go into it with a bit of trepidation. The results turned out pretty damn delicious, so here’s my recipe.
The basic method is the same as my usual lunchtime ‘one and a half pot risotto’, only with coconut milk and curry paste. But, since I’ve never written that recipe down on this blog, I’ll go over it as part of this.
Bring 1 to 1.5 litres of water or stock to under a boil, and keep it on a low flame (this is the ‘half’ pot). On a separate flame, into a heavy-bottom vessel add a couple of cloves of minced garlic to a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is hot and the garlic fragrant, add in one finely diced small onion (about a fistful of mass).
Saute the onion and garlic on low heat until translucent. Meanwhile dice one carrot, one handful of fresh baby corn, and one small head of broccoli* about the same size as the onion. Add these to the frying onions.
*(The conventional wisdom is that you only use the broccoli florets and discard the thick stalk. This is lunacy, as the stem is perfectly fine to eat and very flavourful, so dice that up too)
Now, usually these vegetables would be fried in a pan without the onions & garlic and set aside — only added to the risotto at the very end — but I’m lazy and since I don’t use vegetable stock I find that this method imparts quite a bit of flavour to the rice that the plain water doesn’t, even if the results are slightly less than pretty. You can always reserve some of the fried veg for colour and garnish.
To the sauteed vegetables add two-three good teaspoons of Thai Green Curry Paste. You can make your own (plenty of recipes on the net) but I just use the store-bought one. It tastes fine to me. The paste will begin to brown and maybe stick to the bottom. Wedge it off with your spoon.
Once the spice paste has sauteed for a few minutes, add in the Arborio risotto rice. 75g per person is usually quite generous (especially since we have quite a bit of veg), and 100 is probably overkill. With the measurements for the vegetables, you can generously feed 2-3 people as a main.
Sautee the rice for a few minutes more, then add in one can (400ml) of Coconut milk. Stir and bring to the boil. Adjust seasoning, and put in a half teaspoon of sugar.
Now you have to cook the rice like an ordinary risotto, i.e. as the liquid is absorbed add in a ladleful of water/stock from you other pot, until that is absorbed, stirring frequently. The final consistency you want should still be runny, though quite creamy. It can take between 15-20 minutes for the rice to cook to however much you like it. When it’s done mix in a good pinch of chopped basil, turn off the heat, and cover for a minute or two.
Om nom nom, etc.