Take time to master cook­ing risotto

Once con­quered it opens up a world of pos­si­bil­i­ties for de­li­cious meals

Central Otago Mirror - - FEATURES - Lemon­grass Risotto with Chilli Prawns

Risotto . . . a dish that seems to be feared by many a home cook. Fear no more! With a lit­tle care and at­ten­tion, this ver­sa­tile, healthy and de­li­cious dish can be­come a house­hold reg­u­lar.

At one of my low points on Masterchef, my cook­ing part­ner Jaimie and I tossed an ear­ring to see who would leave the kitchen and who would cook. I won ‘the left box’, and un­for­tu­nately ended up with the desert, while Jaimie had to cook the risotto. Co­in­ci­den­tally, Karena Bird (MasterChef win­ner) and I had watched a one hour cook­ing show the night be­fore which spe­cialised in Risotto!

Risotto is an Ital­ian spe­cialty, stem­ming back to the 11th Cen­tury when rice ar­rived in from the Far East. Once you master the ba­sic risotto tech­nique, as per be­low, the pos­si­ble vari­a­tions are end­less. There are a wide va­ri­ety of twists and flavours you can add into your risotto, so much so that you could eat a dif­fer­ent flavour ev­ery night of the year! It is so ver­sa­tile that you can pretty much open your fridge and throw in what’s there.

I have added an Asian slant to this usual western dish, where a lot of the flavour comes from the fra­grant broth you see be­low. If you pre­fer a veg­e­tar­ian op­tion, re­move the prawns and add in bok choy, spinach or tofu for ex­am­ple.

Pre­pare a healthy, af­ford­able and de­li­cious meal, which the en­tire fam­ily will en­joy!

In­gre­di­ents Lemon­grass and Kaf­fir Lime broth

3 lemon­grass stalks bruised 4 Kaf­fir Lime leaves 1 thumb of galan­gal peeled (or ginger) 2 cloves garlic bruised 1.3L of Si­mon Gault Vege stock (or chicken stock if not a veg­e­tar­ian)


125 ml white wine 1 onion finely chopped 1 cup of ar­bo­rio rice 3 Tbsp but­ter 100g frozen baby peas 1.3L of above broth 150g prawns de­veined and fully shelled 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice 1 large hand­ful of co­rian­der chopped 4 spring onions chopped

Seared Prawns

100g prawns de­vein and tails on 1 Tbsp olive oil

dried chili, seeds out and finely sliced 1 clove garlic finely diced


1 small hand­ful of chopped co­rian­der 1 dried chili finely sliced with seeds out


1. Peel the outer layer off the lemon­grass stalks and bash the fat ends with end of a knife to bruise. 2. Peel and bruise ginger and garlic, and place all broth in­gre­di­ents in a stock pot and bring to a rolling sim­mer for 15-20 mins. Keep this stock hot through­out the risotto cook­ing process. 3. Mean­while, heat the but­ter in a pan and add onion and garlic un­til the onion turns trans­par­ent and soft­ens, usu­ally about 3-4 mins. Do not brown. 4. Add in the ar­bo­rio rice and stir un­til thor­oughly coated, then add in the wine and stir un­til it is ab­sorbed. 5. Next you need to la­dle in one la­dle of the hot broth at a time, con­stantly stir­ring un­til the liq­uid is ab­sorbed. Do not add another la­dle of broth un­til the pre­vi­ous is fully ab­sorbed. Re­peat the process un­til just be­fore the rice be­comes aldente (slightly firm to the bite). 6. Once you have nearly reached the de­sired tex­ture for the rice (this usu­ally takes 20-25 mins) add in the peas and 150g of deshelled prawns and cook un­til prawns be­come coloured, usu­ally 2-3 mins. If the risotto is look­ing too dry add in a lit­tle more broth. 7. Next heat the olive oil un­til hot and sear the prawns, and dried chili, this takes about 1 min each side. Put in garlic once one side is cooked or else it may burn. Be care­ful not to over cook. 8. Now stir through the spring onions and a large hand­ful of co­rian­der into the risotto, add in lime juice and sea­son to taste with salt. 9. Serve the risotto in a flat wide rimmed bowl and gar­nish with the seared prawns, co­rian­der and dried chili. Serves 2-3

End­less va­ri­eties: Lemon­grass Risotto with Chilli Prawns

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