Yesterday I had one of those days of being overworked and overstressed, and the last thing I wanted to do was cook dinner. My stomach was demanding an offering however, so I had to make something. Enter the rice cooker.
Now, if you are sometimes lazy like me in the kitchen, a rice cooker is one thing you MUST have! I highly recommend getting something from an Asian-maker as well, because they are just better at rice. (The one time I tried a UK-maker, I really lived to regret it! Our current “Cuckoo” cooker was cheap and cheerful from a Korean market and is sooooo much better! No crunchy rice!)
Now I have heard of cakes and bread being made in a rice cooker, and we had quite a bit of risotto rice lying around so I figured there must be such a thing as rice cooker risotto and tonight was the night to try it. I based my meal on this recipe here: http://www.foodgal.com/2012/12/the-magic-of-rice-cooker-risotto/ However, I must add that I never stick very religiously to recipes and I was feeling VERY lazy so this post is an even more abbreviated version!
Making this recipe is dead easy. Basically it consists of measuring stuff out and sautéing stuff up.
First you set your rice cooker to warm (or regular cycle if yours is more nifty than mine).
Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter to the rice cooker and shut the lid to let is melt a bit.
Next you drop in one chicken stock cube into a measuring jug and add about 700ml (3 cups) boiling water and stir about. If you have some saffron, drop a pinch in. In Kazakhstan, saffron is relatively cheap but of low quality so it is perfect for recipes like this.
For the next step, chop up 3/4 cup of onion (= about 2 small ones) and toss into the rice cooker. Mix it with the melted butter and close the lid again. (Side-note: Mine wasn’t even fully melted when I made this and it still turned out ok)
For step 4, measure out 1 1/2 cups of risotto rice (about 192 grams) and mix into the rice cooker ingredients.
Now although the original recipe calls for white wine, I have to say that a bit of sweet vermouth is just the thing for risotto. It is a very harmonious pairing and we always keep a bottle in the fridge for occasions like this. Otherwise, white wine will do if you have it, or in Kazakhstan, vodka as there is always some of that lying around! Measure out about 1/4 cup (60 ml).
Pour in the chicken stock and vermouth. Stir just to mix and shut the lid.
My cooker is simple so all I do is push down the button to “cook” and leave it.
For my meal I just took leftovers from the fridge, a bit of kolbasa (sausage), some smoked turkey, some green onion and some frozen peas and threw them into the sauté pan with some garlic. I sautéed these as normal and added a dash of vermouth at the end just to cut through the kolbasa grease a bit. After that I just left cooking and had time for a drink and a sit down before the rice cooker finished its magic.
Wait for the rice cooker to finish (should be about 20 minutes) then open the lid to see your cooked risotto!
When you open the cooker, you will notice a bit of liquid at the top. Don’t worry that your risotto has turned to rice porridge. It should be that the liquid of the risotto mix has risen to the top as the steaming process has occurred and the rice has expanded. Gently stir the liquid back into the rice with a folding motion and you should start to get a more risotto-like consistency. I suggest a rice paddle for this so you won’t be turning the lovely, flavorful gems of rice into mash.
Next, take your sautéed items and add them into the risotto. Grate some cheese (parmesan if you’ve got it or in my case edam) over the top, add some salt and pepper, a dash of lemon or lime juice to taste and mix it all in together.
Viola! You have a risotto ready to be served up! It might not be Michelin quality, but on a tired evening, this is just the comfort food you need! Perfect for two, double the recipe for four.