There are three things about this dish you need to consider before preparing it:
- Apologise to all your Italian friends for the liberty you are about to take with a national dish.
- It looks like a Vesta curry from the 1970s but tastes amazing.
- It’s better the day after – the spices mellow and warm into each other beautifully.
This was born out of a desperate scramble for a curry with the contents of my reasonably stocked cupboards, my spice rack and the left over roast chicken from the night before. I love using arborio rice for big-hitting flavours as it absorbs them well and carries them delightfully. While I apologise for brutalising Italy’s national dish, I make no such apology for the pleasure I take in eating the end results.
Spices are a personal matter – for my mood I wanted some fire without the ensuing eruptions the morning after so I balanced fresh ginger, curry powder, white pepper, garam masala and a medium chilli… just the one. To balance the spices I used some coconut cream – it really toned the heat while adding a dash of luxury.
It’s your curry, you decide the spices you want.
Music to listen to while preparing this dish: ‘Big Time Sensuality’ by Björk
- Leftover roast chicken, shredded
- 500g Arborio rice
- 1 Onion finely chopped
- 2 Garlic cloves, finely grated
- 2” Fresh ginger, finely grated
- 1tsp White pepper
- 1tbsp Garam masala
- 1tbsp Mild curry powder
- 1 Green chilli, thinly sliced
- 1.5 litres Hot chicken stock
- 1 Small can coconut cream
- 1 Small bunch of coriander, finely chopped
- Oil for frying
- Salt and pepper to season
- Gently warm a really good glug of oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and gently sauté the onions, seasoning with salt.
- After around five minutes they should be golden and translucent – at this point add the garlic and fresh ginger and fry for a further two minutes.
- Next add the white pepper, garam masala, curry powder and green chilli and mix well. Cook the mix down over a gentle heat for a good three minutes.
- Add your rice to the pan and mix well. You may think you won’t be able to coat all the rice, but stick at it and all will come good.
- Now it’s time to add your stock – gradually. When the rice has absorbed the first pour of stock, add the next – think a ladle at a time and stir continuously. Do not rush this stage – the more attention you pay at this stage, the smoother and more velvety your risotto will be. You may not use all your stock, it really does depend on the rice you have.
- After around 20 mins your risotto should be done. When you test it, the sensation should be al dente, not chalky. If it’s a little gritty still, keep adding stock.
- Once it is done, add your shredded chicken and coriander and stir through (saving some coriander for garnish). Reduce the heat to low and cook through for five mins. Then stir through your coconut cream.
- Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 10-15mins. Serve with the last of your coriander as garnish.
Serve with a lightly chilled Frei Brothers Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma