Dashi risotto gets all multicultural in your mouth  »

Ever have a giant bag of arborio rice but no veggie broth at your house? Yeah me too. But Japanese dashi broth is really quick and easy to make, thus saving you time in which to get a hand cramp stirring your rice for half an hour. But seriously, this dish is both surprising and delicious. If you’re a crazy hoarder like me, you might even have all the ingredients on hand. Thanks to La Fuji Mama for inspiration.

Dashi Sweet Potato Risotto
Serves 4 as a main dish

the dashi

8 cups water
3 kombu strips (about 5 inches each)
1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger
1 cup dried shitake mushroom slices
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. mirin
1 stalk lemongrass (optional)
1 dried cayenne pepper (optional)

the risotto
1 medium onion, chopped
2 Tbsp. oil
1-inch hunk of fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 cups arborio rice
3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup finely chopped greens, such as mustard, collard, or dandelion
1 cup protein of your choice, cubed (seitan, beans, tempeh, canned Vegetarian Skallops…the world is your vegan oyster)
1 tsp. rice vinegar
Sriracha chile sauce to taste

In a medium saucepan, combine the dashi ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Keep covered and on low heat as you make the risotto.

Meanwhile, in a large pot sauté the onions and ginger in the oil over medium heat until onions are starting to brown, about seven minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Add the rice, stir to coat, and cook for three minutes or so. Add the sweet potatoes, and if using tempeh as your protein source, throw that in now. 

Here comes the part that makes risotto hand-cramptastic: Ladle about 1/2 cup of the hot dashi broth into the rice. (It’s ok if the shitake mushrooms get into the main dish, but try to avoid scooping up the kombu, ginger, lemongrass, or cayenne. Use a strainer if you care a lot.) Stir the rice until the broth is mostly absorbed. Add another ladle-ful of dashi to the rice and stir until absorbed. Repeat until the broth is almost all gone and the rice is creamy and al-dente but not hard, about 30 minutes.

Just before you pour in your last ladleful of broth into the rice, add in your greens, and your protein if you haven’t already. (If you’re using collards or other long-cooking greens, you may want to add them a bit earlier). Add the rice vinegar. Stir to combine and keep cooking until everything’s warm, the liquid is all absorbed, and the greens are tender (about 5 minutes).

Squirt in Sriracha to taste. Serve and enjoy!

Many risotto recipes call for white wine, which I think adds a nice tartness. If you’ve got some, add about 1/2 cup to the rice before you start adding the broth. Stir until absorbed as proceed as directed.

As mentioned above, pretty much any kind of green and any protein source can work. I had this random can of Vegetable Skallops around so I chopped some up and threw them in to delightful results. Or just leave out the protein altogether and call it a side dish.

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