Sunday, October 13, 2013

Coconut Curry Barley Risotto

Prior to this instance, I've never once re-made a recipe for the blog because I didn't think it came out well enough the first time.  In most cases, I'll note how to make the recipe better for the next time (although I hardly make anything twice anymore) and post whatever results from the first attempt.

Risotto is tricky; so even though my first attempt with this idea last Wednesday was delicious tasting, I knew I could achieve a better risotto consistency after learning a few lessons.  And, mostly, it didn't look like risotto in the photographs.  While in real life the barley was still thick and creamy, it read in the images as more of a barley pilaf.  I've seen enough food programming on reality TV to know that when you call something a risotto, it better look and feel like risotto.  

Like I said, in most cases I would either just post what I got the first time or discard the idea for the post all together, but the flavor of this dish was so good that I had to give it another go.  If you like Thai curry soup, or Southeast Asian flavors in general, then this is right up your alley.  If you love creamy risotto as well, then I think this is your jackpot.  If you've become a vegan and miss creamy, cheesy things, I hope you can add this to your recipe box.

Like a true risotto, the dish is very rich.  As a savory meal, the edamame and shitake mushrooms are obviously a Southeast Asian play on the traditional Italian peas and crimini mushrooms, but I most definitely plan on making a sweet version with honey, raisins, and almonds for a future dessert (especially if it was pumpkin & chai spiced!).

Ingredients (makes three-four servings):
  • 1 cup pearled barley
  • 2 1/4 cups light coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp. curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala powder
  • 1/4 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 8-10 coriander seeds
  • pinch of allspice  
  • 6 oz. cooked edamame beans
  • 1 cup chopped shitake mushrooms

Whisk together 2 cups of coconut milk and the spices in a large bowl or pot.  Over medium heat, bring the spiced coconut milk to a low boil. 
Once at a low boil, turn the heat to low and add the barley to cook in the spiced coconut milk.  Stir regularly to keep the milk from scalding on the bottom.
While the barley cooks, prepare the edamame beans.  

In a large pan, sautée the mushrooms in 1 tbsp. vegetable or olive oil, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper.  Cook them for just a few minutes, as they will continue to soften once added to the risotto.  If they are done before the barley, remove from heat and set aside. 
As the coconut milk begins to thicken and reduce, test the doneness of the barley.  If the barley is still too al dente, add some additional coconut milk to keep it from getting to sticky while the barley cooks.  Continue to add small amounts of coconut milk as needed, until the barley is al dente and the coconut milk is still kept creamy. 
Add the barley and edamame to the sautée pan with the mushrooms.  Stir together over low heat, adding any additional coconut milk needed to maintain the right consistency.  The end result should be creamy and a bit runny, but not thick and sticky.
Remove the cardamom pods before serving, and enjoy.

1 comment:

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