Yes, I know what you’re thinking. Wasabi Risotto ??? ( I even knew you were thinking with 3 question marks ).
Well this was an idea that popped into my head the other day. I’ve been a risotto fan for a while now. Ever since I first convinced myself it was time to try making one, I’ve been hooked. The lovely creaminess and the gentle process of watching the stock slowly absorb sucks me in every time.
However, I’m not what you’d call the most creative person in the world. I take the occaisonal step out onto the ledge, find it’s not so bad, and then build a little nest there and camp out for a while. Now that’s all well and good if you’re a condor, or a vulture, or some other kind of bird of prey who relies on picked over the carcasses of someone elses creativity, but every now and then it’s good to spread your metaphoric wings and hypothetically soar to new culinary heights.
So here is my first foray into the world of experimental flavours and (dare I say it) fusion cuisine.
The idea was to create a style of risotto that someone from Japan might make, given some local ingredients and flavours. In reality I’m not sure whether traditional Japanese cuisine would embrace the use of wasabi as a flavouring. But then I wasn’t trying to make a “Japanese” dish, nor an “Italian” dish… nor even a “fusion” dish… just a wasabi flavoured risotto with some theme running through the ingredients that happened to be vaguely Japanese :)
- Risotto Rice (I used Vialone nano which is shorter grained than Arborio or Carnaroli)
- Sake (as part of the stock, and for the flavouring)
- Fish broth (combined with water and sake to use as the stock)
- Red Cabbage
- Daikon (or Chinese Radish)
- Wasabi (I didn’t have fresh wasabi, so just used some paste)
- Japanese “Kewpie” Mayonnaise
- Lemon juice
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Make the risotto as you would any risotto. Feel free to check out my indepth analysis of the risotto making process in one of my other recipes. The difference in this recipe is that we’re using sake instead of white wine to start with, and we’re adding the wasabi flavour at the end.
So start of the onion and leek in some butter to soften. Then coat the rice with the mixture and let it simmer and absorb heat for a minute. Now add a cup of sake to start with and let that absorb before adding the fish stock/sake mixture a ladel full at a time as you would any risotto.
I added the cabbage mid way through the process to make sure it was nice and soft, and I added the daikon right at the end to keep a little of the crunchy texture. The wasabi flavour was then made by combining the wasabi paste, japanese mayonaisse, sake, lemon juice, and extra virgin olive oil together and mixing really well. The wasabi is very strong… So i wanted to keep the flavour whilst toning down the sinus clearing qualities it’s often known for.
The result was a creamy pale green wasabi flavoured couli/paste/purée/sauce (mental note: look up the proper term for various forms of sauce). It had all the flavour of the wasabi with only a little of the “oh my god, that wasn’t a piece of avocado I just ate with my sushi” pain inducing after effects.
I mixed this through the risotto just prior to finishing, which gave it a nice glossy creamy finish. Then topped with a few slices of pickled ginger, daub some of the wasabi sauce around the place, and c’est fini !
I’d have to say it was a great success. Being the only judge however, I’m highly biased. But it’s definitely made me want to experiment more with flavours and styles that might not necessarily go together. If I made it again I think i’d add some nice steamed fish on top, or perhaps onagi with a seaweed/wasabi sauce on top…
Score one for fusion cooking :)