Asian-Style Risotto

An experimental variation on my usual risotto recipe. This came about out of sheer paranoia. A few months ago I was wondering what would happen if I didn’t have any more ideas for recipes to post. I did an internet search – because I was sure there were either other paranoid people out there having the same kind of thoughts, or people who have actually been through blogger’s block – and came up with two great articles on how to overcome a sudden lack of creativity.

One of the suggestions was to take some of your standard recipes and give them a different twist, like making an Asian / Mediterranean / Mexican / Icelandic… (you get the idea) version. What popped straight into my head were the words risotto and coconut milk. So I made a list of which ingredients I would exchange for others, and this list has been stuck to my fridge ever since.

As I’ve mentioned in my last post, I’m currently on vacation and haven’t felt any inclination to cook so far. Instead I felt the need to reorganise my kitchen cupboards and have a cleaning marathon. After everything was spick and span, my eye fell on my list when I passed the fridge, so I decided to make this, even though I don’t have blogger’s block (yet… touch wood!…) but am just lazy.

What also inspired me a little was the fact that I previously didn’t have any ideas what to replace the dried mediterranean spice mix I use for the original risotto with. But last week I bought a spice mix named Seven Oceans, which is a powder made from coriander, cumin, cardamom, chilli seeds, galangal, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and lemon grass. I’m just listing all these ingredients because I think it’s easy to make this yourself if you’re so inclined and can’t get your hands on the Seven Oceans mix.

The verdict on the result: an experiment that was worth it. I’m thinking of using different vegetables next time, maybe add a few more spices. But I really liked the coconut taste of this, I might even completely replace the water with coconut next time.

Asian-Style Risotto

1 tsp olive oil, or cooking spray
1 cup / 250 g risotto rice
2 tsp Seven Oceans spice mix
200 ml coconut milk
1 stock cube
500 ml boiling water
2 tsp salt
½ aubergine, cut into pieces (I used Sicilian ones, they’re purple with white streaks)
½ zucchini, cut into pieces
½ red jalapeño, finely cut
6 small cauliflower florets, frozen
6 small broccoli florets, frozen
chilli flakes, sour cream (optional)

Heat olive oil or cooking spray in a non-stick pot. Add the rice and the spice mix, stir well, let sit for a minute. Add half of the boiling water, the stock cube and salt, stir well, and bring to a boil. As the rice starts absorbing the water, add the coconut milk, then more of the hot water (you might not need all of it, just keep an eye on how much the rice absorbs and add as necessary).

After 10 minutes, add the aubergine pieces. Once both the rice and the aubergine start to soften, add the remaining vegetables and the jalapeño. Cook until all the liquid is absorbed, and the rice and vegetables are soft but not mushy. Serve sprinkled with chilli flakes and sour cream.