Last year I attended a Cuppa for Cansa High Tea at Tokai Melomed, which Kamini Pather hosted. She demo’d Risotto Milanese which is a traditional Italian dish flavoured with Saffron. The addition of Garam Masala was inspired by Biryani flavours. I couldn’t see much from where I was sitting but paid attention to the ingredients she added. I have made Risotto Milanese before, but only at work and know the basics which helped. Risotto can be a tricky dish but see below for tips on how to make this delicious dish that is a twist on a traditional favourite.
Biryani Flavoured Risotto with Butterflied Prawns:
- Arborio Rice (1/3 cup per person for a starter, 1/4 cup per person as a main meal)
- 1/2 onion, chopped finely
- 1 – 2 TB butter
- Hot Stock (vegetable or chicken, a lightly flavoured stock not beef) 3 x the amount of liquid than risotto rice
- few strands of Saffron
- 2 TB Garam Masala
- Prawns, butterflied, de-veined.
- thumb sized piece of fresh ginger
- few cloves of garlic
- 1-2 fresh red chilli, de-seeded
- few sprigs coriander
- olive oil
- After washing and cleaning the prawns, take the ginger, garlic, chilli, coriander and grind in a pestle and mortar until it is a paste. Loosen the paste with some olive oil (enough to make a marinade). Coat the prawns in this mixture and set aside in the fridge.
- Heat the saffron strands in the microwave for a few seconds (my nanima always does this with biryani) and add the saffron to the stock. Keep it warm in a pot on the stove.
- For the Risotto, melt the butter in a wide and deep pan and add the finely chopped onion. Do not let the onion brown but saute until translucent. Add the Garam Masala.
- Add the rice and coat in the melted butter. Once you start to hear crackling you can start ladling in the hot stock. After each ladle, stir and make sure all the stock has been absorbed before you add more.
- Once all the stock has been added, the risotto rice should be al dente (to the bite). It should not be mushy and you should still be able to see the grains of rice. Check seasoning and add a few knobs of butter to finish off the dish.
- In a hot pan or grill cook the prawns until done (6 minutes). Serve the prawns over the risotto with a few springs of fresh coriander and a sprinkling of crispy fried onion.
Risotto can either be served a little bit runny (does not hold its shape) or slightly firmer (holds its shape) when plated.
Once you start cooking the risotto it should be served immediately. If you want to serve it later, cook it until 75-80% done and add the last bit of stock just before serving.
I would have liked mine to be slightly more runny as I probably left it on the stove a bit too long when I was re-heating it.