Coconut milk and lemongrass give this classic Italian rice a nice Thai kick! It’s a one-pot dish and the risotto is baked in the oven. I loved the vibrant colors in the dish – oranges, reds, greens, yellows and browns. And when the baked risotto came out of the oven and I lifted the lid off, my kitchen was filled with the sweet smell of coconut and butternut squash, with a tang of lemongrass.
One of my favorite things about London is that it’s such a diverse city. I can hear 5 different languages just sitting on the bus. I hear English spoken with accents of all types here too. I even think I’m getting a few of my words confused here and there! On a food note, there are so many restaurants here of all types. And all sorts of markets and pop-ups happening all the time. So, after a day out on the streets, I was inspired to make a fusion dish.
I found a few baked risotto recipes online. Each look as delicious as the next. Two that inspired me when making this dish were Baked Mushroom Risotto with Caramelized Onion by theKitchn and Oven Baked Risotto with Chorizo by Fat Mum Slim. This recipe isn’t exactly based on either of those, but both look great and will be added on my to cook list!
Thai Fusion Baked Risotto Recipe
featuring Coconut Milk, Butternut Squash and Mushrooms
– 1 1/2 cup arborio rice
– 4 chicken thighs, washed and dried
– 1/4 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
– 1/2 cup boiling water to soak the dried shiitake mushrooms
– 1/2 onion, chopped
– 3 garlic cloves, minced
– 200g (about 1/2 an average sized) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and sliced into spears
– 1 cup shelled edamame beans
– 150g (5 1/2 oz) oyster mushrooms, cleaned
– 1 cup coconut milk
– 1 1/2 cup water
– 150g (about 15) cherry tomatoes
– 2 lemongrass stalks, each cut in half across its length
– 2 tbs olive oil
Preheat oven to 160 C (325 F). Clean and chop the shiitake mushrooms into small pieces. Place the pieces into a small bowl and pour in 1/2 cup boiling water. Set the shiitake mushrooms aside to soak for at least 15 minutes. The shiitake mushrooms and the liquid will be added in at a later step.
Heat 2 tbs oil in a 3.3 L (3 qt.) dutch oven (or other oven safe casserole dish with a tight fitting lid) over medium heat until hot. Lightly salt the chicken, then add in the chicken one piece at at time. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken and set aside. Do not drain the pot.
Add in the garlic and onion and sauté until the onion starts turning translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add in the butternut squash and sauté until the butternut squash pieces start to soften, about 3-5 minutes. Add in the edamame beans and oyster mushrooms and sauté until the mushrooms start to soften, about 1-2 minutes. Add in the rice and sauté for about 1-2 minutes, mixing well, until the rice is well coated.
Add in the browned chicken, shiitake mushrooms with the liquid, coconut milk and water. Bring to a boil then add in the cherry tomatoes and mix. Place the lemongrass on top and then cover the lid.
Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it sit for about 5 minutes before opening the cover.