Gluten Free -Brown Rice Shiitake Risotto

 

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This risotto is one of our regular menus but the recipe has never been written down before.

Spring came to Australia. I was researching about seasonal food in spring. At the time, I learnt that Shiitake was actually in season twice a year – spring and autumn. I did not know that! I always thought it was only in autumn! So I just thought it was about time for me to write this down, just because it is spring.

The key is using dried Shiitake’s soaking liquid and Japanese Awase Dashi Stock as broth. These 2 key ingredients make the risotto unique- a combination of Japanese and Italian cuisine. Depth of Shiitake flavour and delicate Japanese stock go well in the traditional Italian dish. If you do not have time to make your own dashi stock, of course you can use one from shops.

You can enjoy a full amount of umami in this risotto. Hope you enjoy it.

 

Ingredients (Serving 4)

320ml Brown Rice

25g Dried Shiitake Mishrooms

400ml Water for Shiitake

½ Tablespoon of Olive Oil

2 cloves of Garlic – finely chopped

1 Onion – chopped

130g Button Mushrooms – sliced

100g Broccoli – cut into small florets

600ml Awase Dashi Stock

½ Teaspoon of Sea Salt

80g Parmesan Cheese

 

Method:

  1. Rinse brown rice and soak it in water. Put it aside.
  2. Preparation for dried shiitake mushrooms. Rinse and soak them in 400ml of water for about 20 minutes or until they become soft. If you are in a furry, use warm water to make them soft quicker. Keep the soaking liquid. Once they become soft, give a gentle squeeze to expel excess water. Remove the stem and slice them.
  3. Heat awase dashi stock in a sauce pan. Do not make it to boil, but make it stay hot all the time while cooking risotto.
  4. Heal olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Place garlic into the pan. Once the garlic is fragrant, add onion and button mushrooms, and sauté them for 2-3 minutes or until the onion becomes translucent.
  5. Add brown rice to the pan. Stir them until the rice is coated with the oil. This will take about 1 minute. Please do not make the rice burn.
  6. Add the shiitake mushrooms and the soaking liquid (from Method 2) into the pan. Cook it with a lid on, stirring with a wooden spoon occasionally.
  7. Once the liquid is almost absorbed, add 400ml of the dashi stock and sea salt to the pan. Cook it with the lid on, stirring occasionally.
  8. Once the liquid is almost absorbed, add 100ml of the dashi stock. Keep cooking it with the lid on, stirring occasionally.
  9. When the liquid is almost absorbed, add broccoli and remaining of dashi stock to the pan. Keep cooking with the lid on, stirring more constantly to prevent the rice from burning.
  10. When the liquid is almost absorbed, the brown rice should be cooked perfectly as al dente. However if the rice is still hard, you can add hot water to keep cooking until the rice is done.
  11. Once the brown rice is cooked as al dente, turn the heat off and let it sit for 5 minutes with the lid on.
  12. Stir Parmesan cheese in the risotto and serve while hot.

 

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Chestnut Rice – Autumn has come

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One thing that I really like in Japanese culture is that we can feel the season through food. Now it is autumn. In Japan, we say “Shokuyoku no Aki”, which means “autumn brings a good appetite”. This is because autumn is the season when a lot of fresh produce is in season, such as rice, ginger, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, mushrooms, salmon, saury pike, apple, persimmon, grape etc… yummmm….

I do not feel much of this “enjoy the season through food” concept here in Australia, however if you try, we can still see some differences in the supermarket in each season. Did you realise that apples are much tastier these days and persimmons are in the shops now? And…, do not forget my favourite, Chestnuts.

I especially love chestnut desserts; Mont Blanc Cake, Chestnut Tart, Chestnut Pound cake (see my recipe!), Chestnut Manju (Japanese sweet bun stuffed with sweet bean paste) and Chestnut Yokan (Sweet red bean past bar)…, yummmm….

However, to satisfy my nostalgia, I would like to introduce this Chestnut Rice recipe today. When my mother cooks it, our family realise that the summer has ended and that autumn is here now. This recipe reminds of my family and of Japanese autumn.

 

Ingredients (serving 4 people)

200g Chestnuts with shell – about 13-15 chestnuts

2 cups of Rice – Japanese Rice, Sushi Rice or Short Grain Rice (Please use Rice Cooker’s cup). If you wish, replace ½ cup of the rice to Sticky Rice (Mochigome), which can be purchased at some Asian food stores.

½ Teaspoon of good quality Sea Salt

2g of Dried Kelp – wiped with a wet cloth

How to prepare chestnuts

  1. Soak chestnuts in water over night. This is to make the shell soft so that it will be easier to peel it off.
  2. Using a knife, slice a little bit of the bottom of the chestnut off.
  3. Using your fingers, peel the hard shell off from the cut end. You can peel it off quite easily.
  4. Then, using a knife, peel the inner skin completely. Place the chestnut into a bowl of water as soon as it is peeled. Please be careful with your fingers when you peel the inner skin, as it is time consuming and slippery to peel small chestnuts.

Method:

  1. Put rice in a rice cooker’s removable bowl and rinse the rice. Rest the washed rice in the bowl for about 20 minutes (if your rice cooker includes this time into the cooking time, it is not necessary to do so).
  2.  Add water up to the line of 2 as marked inside the removable bowl (not included in the ingredients list above).
  3. Add sea salt and dried kelp to the rice.
  4. Place the prepared chestnuts on the rice.
  5. Set the rice cooker and cook it as per the rice cooker’s instructions.
  6. Once the rice cooker has completed cooking, let it sit for about 30 minutes (if your rice cooker includes this time into the cooking time, it is not necessary to do so). Remove the dried kelp. Fold over the rice with a rice paddle and serve it in a rice bowl while it is hot.