Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Faux risotto

Reading a traditional risotto recipe, you'd think chefs and recipe books were handling VX poison gas in the love and care youre instructed to handle it with, a food of love thing as Emeril Lagasse says. You select only the finest Arborio rice, or some other exotic (and expensive) variety, saute your herbs and aromatics, saute your rice til it becomes translucent, add warm--never cold--wine. Then ever so carefully, ladle hot broth sloo-o-ooowly, a little at a time, and keep stirring, and adding broth, and stirring, and adding broth, until your rice turns a creamy consistency. Then you add your cheese. Chop up a few herbs, then BAM! It's at least a 30 minute commitment, which is why I rarely make the stuff. The tradition is intimidating.

One day I decided to cook lugaw and grilled chicken for lunch. I marinated the chicken in coconut cream and red curry overnight, and they were ready to go. At around 9 am, I soaked Japanese rice in water. I heard it made them fluffy. At around 11:30, I started the flame for the grilled chicken and prepared the lugaw: chopped garlic, onions, and ginger and sauteed them. Then I added a couple of chicken bouillon cubes (for a cup and a half of rice), pepper, and some dried herbs. For some reason, I decided to saute the drained pre-soaked rice as well until they were good and ready, about 5 minutes. Then I dumped water on the whole thing, straight from the tap, until I felt I had enough for lugaw. If I have to guess, I suppose that's 3 parts water to one part rice. Then I covered the pot and went ahead and grilled the chicken, turning often since the coconut and curry marinade will burn.

I checked on the a few minutes later and lo! The Japanese rice absorbed a lot of the liquid. I debated whether or not to add more water, but damn if it didnt look like Italian risotto. I tested the rice for doneness and it was perfect--not too soft. The rice held its shape well. I stirred it, then took out my 4-year old aged cheese I bought in Utrecht, grated it and stirred a cup of cheese into the pot. I found some chives, chopped that, and BAM! Risotto with no fuss. And it rocked. It tasted fantastic with a rich, creamy texture. And I didnt have to hover over it for 30 minutes. It took care of itself.

By this time the chicken were ready. I took a few tarragon stalks from the backyard and laid the freshly grilled chicken on top of them. This gave them a subtle flavor of tarragon. Voila! Lunch. The kids ate every last grain of risotto.


fionski said...

Naksss! I didn't know you could cook? Risotto churky! Hehehe! Patikim!

Jego said...

Sure. Sa birthday mo. :-D

fionski said...

I have a new domain, point to www.fionski.com please. Thanks!