I have a confession. I am not a big fan of rice. But give me rice with embellishments like a biryani, fried rice, stroganoff or a risotto; and I am all yours (figuratively!). I am yet to try making an elaborate biryani at home but the other variants are common in my kitchen. I came up with this risotto recipe on Sunday night when my dear husband,M, suddenly requested one. No, he is not demanding but he does know that I love to cook and experiment and after all this while (we have been married for only 1.5 years), he is quite assured that my kitchen experiments are never a disaster (thats because I always serve him something else then, but who is to know?).
The risotto. Ideally it is supposed to be made using a short grain rice which can absorb the spices and flavors easily and make a soft sticky risotto. But I have never bought such special rice like arborio for making it. Simply because it is too expensive and I believe that things such as rice, wheat, flour, butter are similar all over the world. So if I don’t have parsley does not mean that I can’t cook a chicken pot pie. I do understand that specific ingredients give an individual differentiating flavor but one can always innovate right? Right. So I made this risotto style pilaf using basmati rice (which is what I stock at home, you can use any other).
The result was delicious, wholesome and yummm.
1 cup rice (use arborio if you want to make an authentic risotto)
3 cups chicken stock (or chicken/vegetable stock cube dissolved in 3 cups of water)
1 small chopped white onion or shallots
1/2 cup chopped mushroom (optional)
1/2 cup fresh/frozen green peas
1 packet your favorite mushroom soup powder (I used the maggi cream of mushroom)
1 cube (30 g) cheese (You can add more cheese if you want, but I tend to freak out when more cheese is mentioned)
1 tsp butter
1 tsp oil
2 tsp fresh or dried herbs (oregano, parsley, thyme)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
– Wash the rice well, drain and keep aside. Heat the butter and oil in a non stick deep pan. To that add the garlic, pepper, onion and mushrooms and saute it for a minute. Next add the green peas and rice and stir for a minute till the rice gets a thin coat of the butter.
– In a bowl, mix the chicken/vegetable stock with the soup powder and stir well dissolving all lumps.
– Add salt to the rice. Add one ladle-full of the chicken and soup mix to the rice and stir well till stock gets absorbed. Cook the rice on a low flame, this will take a while but it is worth the effort. Once the stock is absorbed, add another ladle of the liquid to the rice. Keep repeating this procedure till all the stock is absorbed by the rice and the rice is cooked and soft. There should be a little unabsorbed stock and the rice should not be very dry. Add some more stock if you think necessary (this may happen if the rice you are using is old).
– The soup mix gives the risotto a creamy flavor on its own. Now add the herbs and half a cube of grated cheese.. okay okay.. make it one full cube (or you might want to leave some back for garnishing like I have 🙂 ).
– Serve immediately or it will become really thick and dry as the rice will absorb all the liquid available.