Sunday, March 14, 2010

Risotto for a Daring Cooks Challenge

The 2010 March Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Eleanor of "MelbournefoodGeek and Jess of Jessthebaker . They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make risotto. The various components of their challenge recipe are based on input from the Australian Masterchef cookbook and the cookbook Moorish by Greg Malouf.

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.


Ju (The Little Teochew) said...

NIIIICE! It looks terribly mouthwatering, Jo. Lovely presentation ... restaurant quality!

Angie's Recipes said...

Simply gorgeous! The risotto with curry must have tasted very flavourful!

Pei-Lin said...

Oh, it does look good!! I haven't tried risotto before! Looking at yours makes me drool ... though I just ate my dinner ... LOL!

Sonia ~ Nasi Lemak Lover said...

This look gorgeous and am sure it taste good too!

Anonymous said...

Risotto sounds wonderful with Thai curry flavors!

Care said...

Looks delicious! Love the idea of a curry risotto. Actually, love curry in anything... you pulled this off nicely!

chef_d said...

Thai Red Curry Prawn--just reading the name makes me drool!! Lovely looking risotto, great job!

tigerfish said...

Hmmm...thai red curry risotto sounds very delicious.

Sophie Sportende Foodie said...

MMMMMM,...your risotto make my mouth water,....lovely indeed!

Marisa said...

Beautifully done! The nice thing about risotto is that it's so versatile and just look at the great Thai twist you put on it. Looks fantastic!

Margie said...

I love your Thai/Italian fusion. This is why I love the Daring Cooks... I never would have thought to flavor risotto with curry paste and lemongrass. The combination of chicken stock and coconut cream with the rice sounds so good. And your photos are fabulous!

El said...

Nice work and beautiful presentation. I love risotto.

Habbala said...

WOW. This looks incredible. Amazing.

Lovlie said...

That's a really nice flavour for risotto! And nice presentation! Very good for a risotto virgin! lol!

pigpigscorner said...

I love your asian version! Gorgeous presentation and lovely flavours!

Lisa said...

For a first time risotto maker, you really rocked this challenge in such a unique way! Red curry Thai risotto looks and sounds amazing!! Those prawns are killer too. well done!

Valérie said...

A Thai risotto is a wonderful idea! Your photographs are beautiful, and the risotto looks perfect. Great job!

Mary Bergfeld said...

What a beautiful risotto! I stopped by to see your DC entry but stayed far longer than I intended. The gal with the gorgeous risotto also has a gorgeous blog! I'll be back often to see what is going on. Have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

Kris Ngoei said...

Wow, spicy and luscious..... love it... This is a great interpretation of risotto challenge, I like the thai twist of it :-)

Sawadee from Bangkok,

NKP said...

Beautiful! I love the Thai flavours.

Noob Cook said...

Love the east-west combo here. It's really nice to eat spicy risotto for a change :)

Ingrid_3Bs said...

Oh, gosh! Jo that looks wonderful! Why am I torturing myself by visiting when it's lunch time?

Unknown said...

Nicely done, and great photos too!

Eat4Fun said...

Jo, A delicious Asian variation on Italian Risotto. The shrimp look perfectly cooked and the pepper, i would bet, packs a delicious little punch. Yummy Challenge!

Eve said...

Your blog is a delight for the eye, and your risotto looks lovely!

Jo said...

Hi all, many thanks for dropping by and I definitely loved this challenge.

Audax said...

WOW at last somebody who did a Thai version and you finished dish looks delicious I adore you photos. Well done on this challenge. And your photos are so clear and professional I just love that last one so much. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

Cherine said...

I love the flavors in this dish!

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