‘Japanese’ Style Vegetable Risotto with Scallops
by Sabrina Ghayour - Tuesday September 15, 2009 9:58 am
A wonderful spin on the classic Italian Risotto using Japanese Sushi rice, in place of your normal Italian Risotto rice. Using Miso, Lemongrass and Ginger to create a flavoursome and aromatic base for the dish, topped with perfectly seared juicy scallops.
250g of Japanese Sushi Rice (You can use Italian Arborio rice instead)
2 sachets of Miso soup paste
1 fat stick of Lemongrass
4 inches of fresh ginger, minced or finely grated
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 cob of fresh corn
2 heads of Bok Choi greens
2 generous handfuls of Hon Shimeji mushrooms (or shiitake mushrooms)
4 tablespoons of cooking oil
2 tablespoons of vegetable stock powder (I use Swiss Vegetable Bouillon)
Fresh scallops, with or without their ‘coral’ roes (allow 3-4 per person)
1.5 litres of boiling water
Give your lemongrass stick a good bash with a rolling pin or handle of a wooden spoon. Cut away the tough outer leaves, exposing the softer useable heart and trim the top and ends. Rather than throwing the fragrant discards away, rinse them and place in a measuring jug and cover with 500mls of boiling water to allow to infuse. Peel and grate your ginger and set aside and rinse the peelings and add them to the measuring jug. This will all help create a base stock that is bursting with flavour. Finely chop your lemongrass heart also. Using a large knife, cut the kernels off of your corn cob, by standing the cob upright and slicing downwards pushing the knife blade again the hard centre, which will ensure all the kernels come off cleanly.
Finely chop your onion and add it to a preheated cooking pan with two tablespoons of your oil and fry on a medium heat. Do not let them brown, the idea is to cook them through, without letting them colour. Once the onions become translucent, add your lemongrass and fry for a minute or so before adding your ginger. Pour in the remaining two tablespoons of oil and stir continuously to ensure the mixture doesn’t burn or stick to the pan.
At this stage, increase your cooking temperature to a high heat and add your rice to the pan, stirring well and making sure each grain gets a good coating of the lemongrass, onion and ginger mixture. Do not allow the rice to colour and after about 5 minutes, you are ready to ladel in some of your reserved lemongrass and ginger stock, but add your corn right before your stock.
The first ladel of stock should bubble furiously in the pan, whilst you stir well. The idea with this stage is that you are constantly stirring the rice mixture at all times. Not only does this prevent it from sticking, but it helps cook the rice evenly and draws out its starches, which give Risotto its creamy nature.
To prepare for cooking the scallops, preheat a frying pan on the highest heat possible, but do not oil the pan, as it will cause it to smoke.
Back to the Risotto, once your lemongrass stock has finished, pour another litre of boiling water into the measuring jug and dissolve your two sachets of Miso soup paste and your into it and start adding that, one ladel at a time. Always remember to keep stirring. Once you are left with only 200ml of stock, add your mushrooms and stir well. Stir in the remaining stock and when fully absorbed, tear up your Bok Choi and add it to the risotto, mixing well, but turning the heat off.
Pat your scallops dry with some kitchen towel and then rub them with a little oil on both sides, season with a little Maldon sea salt and fry them in your preheated pan for 30 seconds on each side.
Once cooked, remove your scallops from the pan and you are ready to serve your risotto, topped with your beautifully cooked juicy scallops. The whole process takes no more than 25 minutes and is simple but requires patience, but the result is spectacular and well worth the effort.