Thai-style Crab Risotto
With my nearest & dearest back for Diwali I was wondering if I could get away with a whole veggie weekend for Diwali’s sake. Not a chance. Are we even supposed to be vegetarian for Diwali? I’m not so sure. I don’t even know if Ram was veggie. Google comes up with inconclusive answers and it’s dubious whether Ram wanted to eat the deer Sita had befriended in the jungle (probably should’ve as then the whole war could’ve been avoided). But anyway, Diwali is about celebration and if one has to eat meat and fish to celebrate, then one shall!
Did I mention I love risotto? Warm rice, warm bowl, warm belly. I also love thai food. So when I came across James Martin’s Thai style crab risotto I was all over it like a rash. I made it in various styles, changing it here and there. It is absolutely scrummy and crab makes me feel festive. Maybe because it’s so expensive that I feel like I should only splurge when I’m feeling particularly festive. This risotto goes down a treat with crab lovers, with the best thing being that they make even more delicious risotto cakes the next day (heating up stale risotto on its own is pretty manky).
Recipe (James Martin’s original with my take on it)
900ml/1pt 12fl oz chicken stock (I’ve needed at least a litre, oh and I use veggie stock as chicken kinda smells)
5 stems lemongrass, crushed (batter it with the handle of a chef’s knife, obviously holding it by the handle and not the blade)
5cm/2in piece of ginger, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 shallot, finely chopped
275g/10oz arborio rice
100ml/4fl oz white wine (I omit this unless I have opened one up for entertaining)
2 green chillies, finely chopped (I like red for colour)
1½ tbsp Thai green curry paste, or to taste (2 tbsp gives it a bit more heat)
450g/ 1lb white crabmeat, and dark crabmeat, fresh (Dark crabmeat tastes really fishy and crabby. If you like the overwhelming fishiness then go for it. I prefer it with just the white as it’s milder and has a sweet crab taste)
1 lime, juice only
1 tbsp flatleaf parsley, chopped (I don’t bother with this. Didn’t seem to add much as the coriander is a strong flavour)
1 tbsp coriander, chopped
2 tbsp mascarpone (Unless I need it for a dessert or something else, I rarely buy this for this recipe. It makes it too heavy in addition to the double cream)
100g/4oz parmesan cheese, grated (MORE CHEESE! MORE CHEESE!)
50ml/2fl oz double cream (I usually pour in a bit more to compensate for the missing mascarpone)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1) Place the stock, lemongrass and ginger into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. I also add some dried coconut milk powder in to give it a mild coconutty scent.
2) Melt the butter in a deep frying pan and add the garlic and shallots. Fry for one minute.
3) Add the rice and then the wine (unless you’re like me and don’t want to end up having the rest of the bottle to yourself on a weeknight).
4) Stir in the chopped chillies and curry paste.
5) Add a ladleful of the stock to the rice and stir until the rice has absorbed all the liquid. Continue adding the stock, a ladleful at a time until all the stock has been absorbed. This should take about 13 to 15 minutes.
6) Once the rice is cooked remove the lemongrass, add the crab, lime juice and chopped coriander.
7) Add the mascarpone (or not), parmesan and double cream.
8) Season well and spoon onto warmed plates and serve with extra parmesan.
If in the unlikely event that you have any leftovers left, shape the risotto into round and flattish cakes. Beat an egg in a bowl and pour a few handfuls of golden breadcrumbs onto a plate. Coat each risotto cake in the egg and then the breadcrumbs, and deep fat fry them over a medium heat for 3 minutes on each side till golden brown. Serve with plain or spicy tomato ketchup.