Seafood Laksa Risotto

Contrary to popular belief, risotto doesn’t rely on constant gentle stirring and slowly adding stock little by little. Creamy risotto, as I learned from an Italian restaurant chef, actually comes from knocking the surface starches off the grains of rice and keeping the temperature at a lively simmer, to activate the starches. If you give the rice frequent vigorous stirs and keep your pot actively bubbling, you can get creamy, al dente risotto much faster and with less work.

In this recipe, classic seafood risotto receives an infusion of aromatic joie de vivre, thanks to a beautifully savory and complex laksa broth. The flavors of the broth, which mingle with the natural liqueur released from steaming the mussels, infuse the entire dish with a savory spiciness, and enhance the nuttiness of the rice and natural sweetness of the shellfish. Finish it with a shot of lime, a few pats of butter, and a handful of fresh herbs, and prepare to become obsessed!

- Recipe by Julia Rackow

seafood-laksa-risotto

Seafood Laksa Risotto

SERVES TIME
2 - 3 pax 1 hour

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups (720ml) water
  • 1 Homiah Indonesian Laksa Spice Kit (1 pack has 2 kits)
  • 1 lb. (450g) mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded
  • 2 tbsp (30ml) unrefined coconut oil
  • 8 oz. (225g) shrimp, peeled and de-veined (ideally size 21/25)
  • 8 oz. (225g) bay scallops, quartered if large
  • 1 cup (220g) carnaroli or arborio rice
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice, plus wedges to serve
  • 2 tbsp (30g) butter
  • 3 stalks of scallion, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish

METHOD

  1. Pour the water and laksa paste into a large pot or saucepan, place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Add the mussels into the pot, cover with a lid, and cook for 3 minutes, until the mussels begin to open. Open the lid of the pot, give it a quick stir, and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes, until the mussels are fully opened and completely cooked. When done, transfer the mussels to a bowl and take out the meat from approximately half of the mussels, discarding the empty shells, as well as any mussels that did not open. Return the pot of mussel-cooking broth over medium-low heat, and cover with a lid to keep warm.
  2. In a separate medium pot or Dutch oven, heat a tablespoon of coconut oil over medium-high heat until nearly smoking. Add the shrimp and sear until well-browned on the bottom, which will take 3 to 5 minutes. Flip the shrimp over, cooking for an additional 1 minute until cooked all over, then transfer to a plate. Heat another tablespoon of oil in the pot, and sear the scallops in the same manner and remove it from the pan when done. (The scallops might take longer to sear on both sides.)
  3. With the pan still over medium-high heat, add the rice. Sauté the rice for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the rice has begun to turn translucent around the edges. Add 2 cups of the hot stock to the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for approximately 14 to 18 minutes until the rice is nearly al dente (tender on the outside, but with the slightest of bite in the middle of each grain), stirring often and vigorously, adding more hot stock to the pan (1/2 cup each time) when the rice is looking thick instead of soupy. Make sure to keep the risotto on a lively simmer at all times.
  4. When the rice grains are almost fully tender, fold in the mussels, shrimp, scallops, and any of their juices left in the bowl. Give the risotto a gentle stir to incorporate all the seafood, then remove from the heat. Add butter and lime juice to the risotto and give it a quick stir, taste and season with salt, then stir in half of the chopped scallions and cilantro. If the risotto stiffens too much while it waits to be served, you can loosen it up with a few spoonfuls of hot broth. When ready, serve with lime wedges and garnish with the remaining herbs.
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