My Dark and Sweet Journey with Risotto

After ‘successful’ with some recipes, I want to develop further my cooking skill by trying to cook Risotto. Why risotto? Coz it’s a rice dish and as Indonesian, I simply love rice. Indonesia has so many different rice dishes: nasi goreng, nasi uduk, nasi ulam, nasi liwet, nasi kuning, nasi kebuli and many others (note: nasi = rice).

Again, recipes from Periplus Mini Cookbooks become my guide. This time I found the recipe of Mushroom Risotto in Classic and Essential Vegetables. Carefully, I studied the recipe and it looked easy.

 mushroom risotto
The ingredients were: 750 ml vegetable stock, 250 ml white wine, 60 gram butter, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 leek, 250 gram button mushroom, 250 gram Arborio rice, 50 gram grated parmesan cheese and 2 tablespoons chopped thyme.

When I checked my stock, I had everything I need except the Arborio rice. Mine was the Indonesian Setra Ramos rice. Rice is rice, I thought. How could it be so different from one to the other. I decided to just go ahead with my plan to cook Mushroom Risotto with whatever ingredients I had. Since this was the first time for me to cook Risotto, I followed the cooking instruction from the recipe to the letter:
1. Place the stock and wine in a pan, Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer gently.
2. Heat the butter and oil in a large heavy-based pan. Add the leek and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the mushroom and cook for 5 minutes, or until tender. Add the rice and cook, stirring for 1 minute.
3. Add 125 ml of stock and stir until absorbed, then add more stock. Repeat until all the stock has been added and the rice is soft and creamy. Stir in the Parmesan and thyme and cook for 1 minute or until the cheese is melted.
OK, the dish I just cooked was supposed to be the mushroom risotto. But, wait a minute. How come it did not look like the mushroom risotto which showed in the picture of the recipe? It looked so ugly and messy. Well, probably I did not stir it right and as long as the taste is good, I am happy” I said to myself. So I tasted it and…………..yuck! My mushroom risotto was a disaster. It tasted so bad that even a stray cat did not want to eat it so it ended up in the bin.
Now I learned my lesson. Risotto is a rice dish and like any other rice dish, the most important thing in cooking rice dish is to use the right type of rice. The recipe mentioned Arborio rice and I used Setra Ramos Indonesian rice (not even the high quality type of Indonesian rice).
Not long after my risotto experience, I watched Bobby Chinn on TV program named Bobby Chinn Cooks Asia. He was in Bali and he mentioned that he would cook Balinese Risotto. What? Balinese Risotto? Never heard of it. It must be something new and exotic or probably a type of fusion cooking or something. I watched carefully when Bobby Chinn explained the details of the cooking.
I could not believe what I saw. What Bobby Chinn cooked was not something new or exotic at all. It was just the simple Indonesian ‘Bubur Ketan Item’ (in Bali it is called Bubur Injin) which I have known since my childhood. People say that its hard to find foreign visitors to Bali who does not fall in love with the wonderful nutty flavor and melt-in-your-mouth smooth texture of Balinese Bubur Injin or also known as Black Rice Pudding which served with coconut cream on top. This is what I like about celebrity Chef like Bobby Chinn – he gave fancy name to the dish, bubur injin became Balinese Risotto. Bobby inspired me to go back to Risotto.
This time I cooked Bobby Chinn’s Balinese Risotto but I did not follow exactly the details of his recipe (he used the classic recipe of Balinese Bubur Injin). I modified the recipe a bit and I name it

Dark and Sweet Risotto

bubur injin

The ingredients:

100 gram uncooked black glutinous rice

100 gram uncooked white glutinous rice

1 liter water

1 pandan leaf, tied into a knot.

2 table spoons of white sugar or shaved palm sugar

1 pouch (220 gram) Full Cream Sweetened Condensed Milk (SCM).

The original recipe does not use sweetened condensed milk but coconut cream. In my recipe I use full cream SCM coz the taste is much better than coconut cream. I learned this secret from street hawker who sells ‘bubur kacang ijo’ (mung-bean porridge) and ‘bubur ketan item’ (black rice pudding). He substitutes coconut cream with Full Cream SCM. The SCM should be the full cream otherwise the taste will not be creamy enough..
The cooking method
Mix the black and white rice in a plastic bowl
Rinse the rice several times until water runs clear…
Put the rice, pandan leaf and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat and cook for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally until the rice is soft and cooked with porridge-like consistency.
Add the sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved. No need to add too much sugar coz later we will top it with Sweetened Condensed Milk  which will give more sweet taste. Discard the pandan leaf.
To serve, spoon the porridge into individual serving bowl and top with full cream sweetened condensed milk.

Notes and Tips:

Like any other Risotto dish, the quality of the rice will determine the look and taste of the Risotto. For Dark and Sweet Risotto, I recommend to use the organic glutinous rice coz it gives really smooth texture in the mouth.

You may substitute pandan leaf with 1 drop of vanilla extract.

You may also use cook the rice in a rice cooker.

This is also a good food for breaking the fast during Ramadhan


3 responses to “My Dark and Sweet Journey with Risotto

  1. I have to admit, although I love rice, I can’t get used to the idea of risotto. I like my rice unadorned, a bland accompanyment to my main dishes. Flavoring the rice with a sauce and serving it as a main dish is a really foreign concept to me.

  2. Thanks for your comment. Yeah agree with you. The way I eat rice is also very different with how Risotto is cooked. Probably that’s why I did not succeed in cooking risotto. While my Dark and Sweet Risotto is consumed as desert not main course. This is a type of desert where also found in other Asian countries like Malaysia and Thailand.

  3. I love mushroom risotto. And you’re right, anything rice is a favorite among asian.

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