We were required to make the stock for the risotto dish from scratch and I decided to make do with a simple chicken stock. Risotto is not something I have ever cooked before in my life and to be honest I have not eaten risotto before. The only one time I have ever cooked anything that somewhat resembles risotto would have been a seafood paela. It was delicious but not something I would make over and over again. To get into the mood for this challenge, I searched out recipes for risotto. I was amazed that you could make so many variations of this rice dish and it sort of confused me somewhat. I ended up toying with one idea, and then abandoning it for another. Oh dear, and time was ticking away. In fact I only decided on the final recipe mid week and made this dish only last night. This is really winging it as I don't like to rush things at the last minute. There is really no room for errors in this case and if this recipe really bombed out, that's it. However I am so glad that it worked out well. This recipe blends in flavours that we love which is Thai. I decided to make the risotto really dry and it ended up like a Chinese claypot version. I used some of the same ingredients to stir fry the prawns which was laid out as a side dish accompanying the risotto. My hubby really, and I mean really enjoyed this. Next time I will try it with green curry instead.
Thai Red Curry Prawn Risotto
Recipe Adapted from "Quick & Easy Workday Dinners"
Serves 3 - 4
400ml fresh chicken stock (recipe below)
2 pieces lemon grass (use the white part only), bruised
6 fresh kaffir lime leaves, shredded
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium sized red onion, finely chopped
4 Tbsp good quality Thai red curry paste
1 1/2 cups arborio or short-grained rice, washed and drain of water
200ml coconut cream + 4 Tbsp coconut cream extra
350g raw prawns, peeled and deveined with tails intact
250g raw prawns, peeled, deveined and chopped
3 bird's eye chilli
Fish sauce to taste
1) Pour the chicken stock into a saucepan, add the lemon grass and half the kaffir lime leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered for 10 minutes.
2) Heat the oil in a deep pot (preferably non-stick) and add in the onion. Cook on medium-low heat for about 3 minutes. Stir in 2 1/2 Tbsp of the red curry paste and fry until fragrant (about 1 minute).
3) Then stir in the rice until it is well coated. Strain about 300ml of the stock into the rice and then add in 200ml of coconut cream. Add in the remaining lime leaf and simmer until the rice is cooked. If the rice looks a bit dry and is still uncooked, slowly add in the remaining chicken stock. The rice will continue absorbing the stock whilst it is being cooked.
4) Once the rice is cooked (test for doneness), add in the chopped shrimp and cover the pot for about a minute until the shrimp is cooked. Season with fish stock to taste.
5) For the remaining shrimp, mix 1 1/2 Tbsp of red curry and mix it with 4 Tbsp of coconut cream. Pour mixture into a frying pan and slowly fry it until fragrant. Add the whole shrimps, chilli and 2 shredded lime leaf. Stir fry until the shrimp is cooked. Season with fish sauce to taste.
6) Serve the risotto whilst hot and add the red curry shrimps on the side. Garnish with finely sliced lime leaves.
To Make the Chicken Stock (can be made a day or 2 beforehand)
3 kg of meaty chicken bones (backs, necks, breast bones), skin removed.
8 cups of cold water (or enough to cover chicken pieces)
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 stalks of celery, coarsely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 bay leaves
1" ginger, sliced
3 springs of coriander
1 tsp whole white peppercorns
1) In a large stockpot, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 3 hours (essentially, the longer you simmer it, the more intense the flavor), adding water as needed to keep ingredients submerged.
2) Strain stock into a clean pot or heatproof plastic container and discard solid ingredients. Let cool and refrigerate overnight.
3) In morning, skim solidified fat from the top and re-refrigerate until ready to use. Left over stock can be frozen.