Several hundred years ago, rice was introduced into the Lombardy Region of Northern Italy, and a classic dish that originates from Italy is Risotto.
According to Wikipedia:
There are many different risotto recipes with different ingredients, but they are all based on rice of an appropriate variety, cooked in a standard procedure.
The rice is first cooked briefly in a soffritto of onion and butter or olive oil to coat each grain in a film of fat, called tostatura; white or red wine is added and has to be absorbed by the grains. When it has evaporated, the heat is raised to medium high and very hot stock is gradually added in small amounts while stirring gently, almost constantly: stirring loosens the starch molecules from the outside of the rice grains into the surrounding liquid, creating a smooth creamy-textured liquid. At that point it is taken off the heat for the mantecatura when diced cold butter is vigorously stirred in to make the texture as creamy and smooth as possible. It may be removed from the heat a few minutes earlier, and left to cook with its residual heat.
Properly cooked risotto is rich and creamy but still with some resistance or bite: al dente, and with separate grains. The traditional texture is fairly fluid, or all’onda (“wavy, or flowing in waves”). It is served on flat dishes and it should easily spread out but not have excess watery liquid around the perimeter. It must be eaten at once as it continues to cook in its own heat and can become too dry with the grains too soft.
A basic Risotto can be flavoured in a variety of ways, traditionally there is:
Risotto alla Zucca flavoured with pumpkin, nutmeg and cheese…. or Risotto ai Funghi, flavoured with a variety of mushrooms, or Risotto al Barolo, with Borlotti Beans.
It is a dish that once accomplished, is open to all sorts of new and interesting flavours, and therefore a brilliant addition to a vegan recipe repertoire.
Here’s how to make a great basic risotto….and how you adapt it is up to you.
For example: chopped olives…. or diced ‘n’ fried tempeh or tofu and peas …. or sliced avocado …. or pine nuts and raisins….or handfuls of chopped fresh herbs…. or grated beetroot …. or ???
A Risotto only takes little over half-an-hour to cook, but it does need almost constant attention…..
SERVED WITH SAUTÉED AND STEAMED ASPARAGUS, BABY SWEETCORN AND COURGETTE
Today is the first day of the Tibetan New Year. I think it’s important to remember that Tibet has suffered much in the last decades, even centuries, and that The Dalai Lama remains in exile from his homeland.
In the spirit of cooking for peace, I’ve made some lovely little Tibetan Pastries, which are eaten everywhere in Tibet during Losar ( Tibetan New Year Celebrations), and I’ve served them with Vegan-Butter Tea…..in the name of peace to all creatures on this planet.
The pastries are lovely, soft and sweet, particularly when still warm and fresh.
The tea…is …well…. more of an acquired taste…. tbh…. but not unpleasant…. I’m certain I will grow to like it….
Here’s a really nice way to use Seitan. I bought some the other day, I was intrigued…. and since then I’ve spent some time looking for ways to use it in an interesting way….and I think I’ve found one! Momo!
These Vegan Momo are filled with ground Seitan, onions and shredded cabbage, and served with a seriously hot Achar dipping sauce.
Regarding Seitan: According to Wikipedia:
Wheat gluten, also called seitan (Japanese: セイタン), wheat meat, gluten meat, or simply gluten, is a food made from gluten, the main protein of wheat. It is made by washing wheat flour dough with water until all the starch granules have been removed, leaving the sticky insoluble gluten as an elastic mass which is then cooked before being eaten.
Wheat gluten is an alternative to soybean-based foods such as tofu, which are sometimes used as meat substitutes. Some types of wheat gluten have a chewy or stringy texture that resembles meat more than other substitutes. Wheat gluten is often used instead of meat in Asian, vegetarian, Buddhist, and macrobiotic cuisines. Mock duck is a common use for wheat gluten.
Wheat gluten first appeared during the 6th century as an ingredient for Chinese noodles. It has historically been popular in the cuisines of China, Japan and other East and Southeast Asian nations. In Asia, it is commonly found on the menus of restaurants catering primarily to Buddhist customers who do not eat meat.
I don’t miss meat, and therefore have little reason to seek out ingredients that have a resemblance to meat, but in the name of exploration, and wanting to have a varied and full vegan diet, I thought I’d try it.
The vegetarian Momo recipes I’ve come across all seem to feature tofu, but I thought that a Momo dumpling would be an ideal use for Seitan …… and I think, having concocted this recipe and tested it …… it is.
Momo traditionally tend to be a little bland, but the sauces they dip them in are full of flavour.
I made a traditional Achar Tomato and Chilli dipping sauce, using Green Chillies.
I love the pure, fresh heat of green chillies: it has an almost citrus tang, and goes very well with tomatoes. Such a clean fiery chilli hit. Fabulous.