Quarantine Comfort Food, Recipes, Tips from Janani

Shiitake Mushroom Risotto – One Pot Meal

Hi Vegetarian Carnivores! What’s more comforting than a bowl of warm and luxurious risotto? I can’t really think of many things that top that. So what if I told you that I have an easy, one pot meal that will make you feel like you’re dining like royalty? Let’s get started with my shiitake mushroom risotto!

Risotto

I know a lot of people are intimidated by risotto because they’re afraid they will undercook the grains and end up crunching through their food. Or they fear they will overcook it and end up with a mush that has no bite to it and tastes like baby food. 

I get it you guys. I was definitely intimated by risottos too, up until recently. One of my tricks to get a great risotto is to use loto rice instead of the traditional arborio rice. I call it “the stepping stone” kind of risotto rice. Loto and arborio are both in the same rice “family,” meaning they are both short grain starchy rices. However, loto rice is much more forgiving in terms of overcooking it and maintaining its structural integrity. While it took me a few tries to get risotto right with arborio rice, I got the hang of it almost immediately with loto rice. So if you are totally new to risottos, I recommend you start with loto rice.

However, if arborio is what you have, then not to worry! I have a few tricks up my sleeve to share with you to get a great risotto, even if it is your first time!

The biggest trick I have when making risotto is to constantly taste during the cooking. Every 3-5 minutes, I just take a couple of grains of rice and check how far it has cooked through.

Second, don’t be intimidated by the amount of water it takes to cook the rice. These short grain rices take A LOT of water to cook! It is definitely way more than the typical 1:1 ratio of rice and water I use when I use a rice cooker or my instant pot to make the common white rice. While each time it takes me a slightly different amount of water, I generally end up somewhere around a 1:4 ratio of rice to water. Yes, you read that correctly! Told you it was a ton of water.

Third, add all this water gradually. Don’t go dumping all 4 cups of water all at once. I like to add 2 cups first, wait for it to get absorbed, and then add one cup at a time until we are done cooking. 

Lastly, don’t wait for the rice to get mushy before you turn it off. While the end goal is a creamy and rich textured rice, remember that the rice will continue to absorb surrounding liquid after you turn the heat off. The residual heat will encourage it to continue cooking, at least a little, and it is in the rice’s nature to continue absorbing water. So while you don’t want to turn the heat off while the rice is crunchy, you do want to leave a bit of a bite when you turn it off.

Woo ok I know this was a lot of information and it may sound kind of scary, but once we start cooking I promise it won’t be so bad!

The broth

Ok guys, this one’s broth is special. I wanted to create a kind of Asian inspired risotto. Ethnically confused? Maybe. Delicious? Hell yes!

What we are going to do is take our shiitake mushrooms and soak them in some hot water for 15 minutes. That’s all it takes  for the delicious shiitake notes to seep into the water. We will be reserving this water and using it as part of our base!

Ok let’s get started!

Ingredients

  1. 10 oz shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  2. 2 tbsp oil, to saute
  3. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 2 scallions, chopped
  5. 4-5 cups of water, separated
  6. 4-5 ribs kale, chopped
  7. 1 cup arborio or loto rice, dry
  8. 3 tbsp Bouillion paste
  9. Vegan Parmesan, to garnish
  10. Parsley, to garnish

Instructions

  1. Soak mushrooms in 2 cups of hot water for 15 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in a large saute pan and saute garlic and scallions on medium low heat until fragrant.
  3. Add kale and saute until wilted.
  4. Add mushrooms from the hot water and saute until fully cooked through.
  5. Add rice and saute lightly to toast the rice.
  6. Turn up the heat to medium high. Add two cups of hot water used to soak shiitake and bouillion paste. Alternatively, if you don’t have Bouillion paste you can add two cups of any broth, and then add the mushroom soaked water slowly as we continue cooking.
  7. Stir every 2 minutes, making sure the bottom of the pan isn’t burning.
  8. Add one cup water when you don’t see the mixture bubbling as much anymore. Continue to stir and repeat with the last cup of water.
  9. Make sure you take small taste tests in the middle to make sure your rice is actually getting cooked properly.
  10. You may need to add 1/2 cup to 1 cup extra water, depending on how quickly your water is evaporating during cooking. This could be due to whether or not you choose to close the lid on your pan. Either way, use your judgement.
  11. When the rice is done cooking, take off the heat.
  12. Garnish with vegan Parmesan and parsley.
  13. Enjoy!

Results

The shiitake infused broth was the “wow” factor in this recipe! As subtle as it was, it was definitely noticeable in the final creation and definitely took the dish from tasty and comforting, to straight up luxurious!

I hope you all try this out for yourselves and let me know what you think!

See you soon!

Janani <3 <3

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