Bringing The Asian Heat To An Italian Prawn Risotto
Updated: Feb 3
Rice is the number one staple food in Asia. Over 90 percent of the world’s rice is produced and consumed in the Asia-Pacific region itself. In many of these countries, rice is deeply engraved in their rich culture and tradition. When in Asia, there is no possible way to escape from rice. Travel to any Asian country today and you will find the variety of ways rice is cooked at home or served in restaurants.
But the one rice I want to incorporate in my recipe will not be coming from any part of Asia but from a valley in Northern Italy. The Arborio rice is one of the Italian short-grain rices used in cooking Risotto. Unlike other dishes, a risotto requires constant care and attention. The rice is not to be pre-rinsed, boiled or drained, as washing would remove much of the starch required for a creamy texture.
I love a good risotto so from time to time, I try to experiment with different ingredients when cooking one up. I came up with this recipe over an accidental midnight craving and loved the combination of ginger in this dish. YES! ginger, an Asian ingredient in an Italian dish. Ginger has an interesting component where it reacts differently depending on when you add the ingredient in your cooking. Add it at the beginning of your cooking and you will achieve a milder sweet taste. But adding it at the end can give you a pungent yet spicy flavor.
In this blog post, you will be able to recreate this prawn risotto dish, adding a tiny hint of heat in every bite.
Ginger Prawn Risotto
350g Arborio rice
450g unshelled prawns
125ml dry white wine
85g unsalted butter
3 shallots, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
1 inch of thinly sliced young ginger
½ tsp of chili flakes
1 bay leaf
3tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
A handful of freshly chopped parsley
1. Peel prawns, keeping the heads and shells. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan and fry the prawn, shells and heads with the chili flakes, 1 shallot, 1 garlic and the bay leaf until they have toasted and changed color.
2. Then pour in 1 ½ liter of water and cooked on medium heat for 10-15 minutes until the stock turns color slightly.
3. In a separate pan, heat up the remaining olive oil and melt half the butter over a medium heat. Stir in the remaining sliced shallots and garlic until slightly soft but not colored. Then throw in the rice and stir it gently with the shallot, garlic and butter until the rice is coated well.
4. Once the rice is shiny and the edges of the grain starts to look transparent, pour in the wine and simmer until totally evaporated.
5. Meanwhile, strain the stock, removing the shells and head. Place the prawns in a separate bowl. Then return the stock into the pan.
6. Turn up the heat under the rice and add the ginger and stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring with each addition until absorbed.
7. Continue adding stock a ladleful at a time and stirring the rice over a low heat for 25-30 mins, until the rice is cooked al dente. The risotto should be creamy and slightly soupy. Add in the prawns and sprinkle the handful of chopped parsley on the last ladle of stock.
8. Let the risotto rest for a few mins, then serve with some shavings of Parmesan.