After making pumpkin-rice-with-coconut-milk, I have longed to turn it into a risotto.
Pumpkin, cut into cubes
Onions, finely chopped
Finely chop onions and fry half of it in olive oil till the air in your kitchen is filled with fragrance.
Put in pumpkin cubes and cook till tender. Add salt and pepper.
Keep one third of it and blend the rest into puree.
Fry rest of the onions in olive oil and add rice.
Pour in half a cup of white wine and let the rice soak in it for three minutes.
Cover rice with pumpkin puree and chicken stock and cook till al dente.
Add in butter and coconut milk.
Follow by salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with pumpkin cubes.
This recipe has been lingering in my head for a while. It is inspired from a popular local breakfast call “nasi lemak” in Malay language meaning creamy rice. “Nasi lemak” is cooked with coconut cream and pandan leaves (a plant that releases soothing mild fragrance) to go along with fried fish, anchovies, peanuts, thin omelet, cucumber and lots of tasty chili paste.
Honestly, I was quite afraid that this creation may not work but the compliments I received from my guests made me smile. I would love to turn it into a risotto soon.
Half an onion, finely chopped
Pumpkin, cut into small cubes
Curry leaves (I still can’t think of an alternative herb that is close to it)
Prawns, cut into small pieces (optional)
Chicken or vegetable stock
Crushed black pepper
Heat up a good amount of olive oil over high heat and cook prawns till tender. Remove and set aside for later use. Reduce to medium heat and using the same oil, sauté chopped onions till translucent then add in rice. Coat rice with oil and season with salt and pepper follow by white wine just enough for the rice to soak it up. Add enough stock and coconut cream. Stir and cover for 5 minutes. Add pumpkin and curry leaves. Stir and cover for another 15 minutes (most rice should be cooked by now. If not, continue cooking till it’s done). Add prawns, stir and serve immediately.
There are not many happy moments in my life and that makes them too precious to be forgotten. Hence I decided to start a new category “happy moments” to collect them from now on and share my joy.
Today is Deepavali and it happens to be my first post for this category.
One of the best decisions I have made over the past two years is to move from my old apartment to this new home surrounded by lovely neighbors and nice scenery. Since I shifted in, Deepavali has been a happy moment each year when my Indian neighbor Mr. Raju will bring over mouthwatering lunch to celebrate the occasion.
Many ideas came to my mind on how I should prepare the only packet of dried porcini mushroom which had followed me home from Rome. I have heard how great it is but its aroma was never known to me. Finally I decided that it should be a simple dish that is able to allow this king of mushroom to take center stage and show off its full flavor.
When I opened it, the aroma blew me away instantly. I have never come across any mushroom that has such exquisite flavor. It smells like oriental grilled cuttlefish to me. I almost wanted to taste it immediately like a snack.
It is pricy but now I regret not spending more euros to bring home a few more packets.
A small handful of dried porcini mushrooms (use more if you happen to have plenty and would like to make me jealous)
One cup of Risotto rice (for two servings)
One large bowl of chicken or vegetable stock
Half an onion, finely chopped
Desired amount of unsalted butter
Extra virgin olive oil
A quarter cup dry white wine
Fresh sweet basil
Parmigiano reggiano cheese
Soak mushroom in a bowl of simmering hot water for 30 minutes. Remove mushroom and chopped into small pieces. Keep the water for later use.
Heat up olive oil in a pan with onion over medium fire. Fry onion till translucent and add in rice follow by salt and pepper. When all grains are coated with oil, add white wine. Allow rice to soak up the wine. Put in mushrooms and mix well. Combine mushroom water with stock. With half a cup at a time, add in to rice and stir continuously until stock is being absorbed and repeat the process till rice is cooked to al dente. Add in butter, parmigiano reggiano cheese and sweet basil.
Sunday afternoon. I remember there are prawns, squid, chicken, mussel meat and a quarter piece of Spanish chorizo in my freezer. When I open my spice cupboard, the red color of paprika and yellow turmeric stands out shining among the rest. Turned to my paper bag and saw onion smiling at me. Then an idea starts to form in my head. I found red pepper, garlic, shallots, cloves and rice. The ingredients are almost complete except I am missing a bay leaf. I thought fresh basil from my corridor may be a good substitute.
Tune radio to my favorite Class95 and poured myself a glass of Merlot from Australia.
Aware that I don’t have the right pan to make this dish, I changed the cooking method a little. Heat up some olive oil over medium fire and fry the chorizo for one minute on both sides. With the same oil, seal the chicken and put it aside. Continue to brown some chopped garlic and put in the rest of the seafood. Add sea salt and black pepper to taste and fry for three minutes before adding a gulp of white wine. Put seafood aside and save the sauce for later use. Heat up new olive oil and fry chopped onion, shallot, garlic and a few cloves. When you smell aroma fills the air, put in washed rice follow by paprika, turmeric powder and the seafood sauce. Stir fry for a while and add in red pepper. Add hot water or chicken stock to cover rice. Lay all other ingredients on top and cover the lid over small fire for 15 minutes. Squeeze a quarter of a lemon and throw in some chopped basil before stirring.
One ingredient to give fried rice an old style flavor is chopped dried radish. For this recipe, I’ve added Taiwan sausages to enhance the overall taste.
Cooked Rice – Cook it the previous day and put in the fridge overnight. It helps the rice to break up more easily during frying.
Dried Radish, chopped
Shallots, thinly sliced
Frozen Peas – Do not defrost the peas. Boil a little water and throw them in straight from the fridge. Once cooked, scoop out for later use.
2 Taiwan Sausages, diced
Light Soy Sauce
White Pepper, ground
Heat up a wok over medium heat, pour in flower oil. Once oil is hot, fry shallots till golden brown. Throw in dried radish. Stir, cover with lid and watch the radish dance in the wok. Throw in Taiwan sausages and fry till aroma fills the air. Throw in peas. Put in rice and use spatula to tap with patient till rice breaks up into individual grains covered with oil. Push everything to one side of the wok. On the empty area, pour in some more oil and crack eggs directly into the wok. Stir to mix yolk and whites together then combine with rest of ingredients. Pour a sufficient amount of soy sauce around the edge of the wok to flow into rice and stir well. Sprinkle white ground pepper and serve.