Saturday, 19 May 2012

an attempt at risotto

I haven't been able to find arborio rice here in China. I don't have my beautiful heavy-bottomed, perfect-for-risotto pot. Although I am perfectly happy to spend a long time cooking just for myself, I wasn't sure I could bring myself to spend an hour on my own stirring risotto in the hot, poorly lit kitchen. But my old uni friend S was passing through Beijing, and brought me a Chinese red wine that she promised was really good, and I thought maybe I could give it a go.

It turns out, despite all bottles of wine being sealed with corks in China (cork-corks, not plastic corks), cork screws are difficult to find. So I poked this one out with a chopsticks, into the wine, and decanted the remainder into a glass bottle I had lying around.

At the local supermarket I managed to find a short-grain rice, and though I'm not sure what it is it's definitely not arborio. I forked out quite a lot for some olive oil, and decided to make a mushroom and tomato risotto.

oooh risotto

The risotto turned out softer than it should have, almost congee-like. I love mixing mushrooms, so I went for a couple of button mushrooms (delicious and familiar but fairly expensive here), and enoki mushrooms. I also caramelised half a red onion, and added a tomato in my usual risotto-y way, before heaping in the red wine and the stock.

It was a nice moment of familiarity, and I'm glad I had the wine to do it, and it was expensive compared to the other stuff I cook but not too pricy. But the congee-like consistency made it a little bit weird.


Mel said...

It must be a challenge cooking without your own tools and access to ingredients you are used to. I thought of you last night as I made your Char Kueh Teow again. We haven't had it for ages and it was so delicious! :)

steph said...

Mel I would do quite a lot if I could have char kueh teow! I can't get the right sort of noodles!