My first introduction to risotto was at Renaissance Powai. Their Italian chef prepared and himself served risotto to our table. He shared the stories of his grand Mom, who taught him how to cook and most importantly taught him how to serve risotto. Making sure it’s always hot and creamy and should never go cold when eating. The first clue I gave to my mind in order to remember the name and the face of a new dish was – Risotto is an Italian khichadi.
Risotto rice is also known as Arborio Rice. The grain is plum and it holds a bite in its core even after cooking. It makes the dish creamy and velvety during cooking process by releasing starch. There is classic risotto which is flavoured with white wine, parmesan cheese and butter. The vegetables and different herbs are added too in many risotto dishes.
Whereas khichdi, also consider as our national dish is made using rice and different varieties of dal, along with vegetables. What makes it a very healthy wholesome food.
Today I have played a cross-culture kind of thing in my kitchen. I have prepared dal risotto using Arborio rice and organic mix dal from Truefarm. The result was an unusual combination. I don’t know whether I have added dal in a risotto or cooked Khichdi in a risotto style. But whatever, it turned out delicious and my kids enjoyed it too.
Dal being a big protein source for our vegetarians, I try to include it in many meals at home. I have used mix organic dal from Truefarms to make risotto and protein plus flour to make Achari crackers.
To make Achari crackers:
To make Achari crackers I have used protein plus flour, its organic produce and is a combination of wheat, jowar, soya, proso millet, Bajra, Amaranth, and almond meal. A product from Truefarm, which is specially blended to combine several grains that deliver the unusual level of protein, vitamins minerals, magnesium and iron. It’s also a good source of fibre.
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup of Protein plus flour
1/2 teaspoon Ajwain / Carom seeds
Hing / Asafetida – a pinch
Achaar ka oil – 1&1/2 tablespoon
Salt – 1/4 teaspoon
Baking soda – a very small pinch
Water – 1/2 cup (approx to knead)
Onion seeds (kalonji) to sprinkle
In a mixing bowl add all the ingredients and knead using cold water. Make a tight dough. The dough should not be soft. Knead for 2 minutes to combine the ingredients. Cover the dough and let sit for about 20 minutes.
Divide the dough into 2 equal parts. Cover one part and set aside.
Oil the surface of the rolling board or clean counter lightly. Make a ball out of one dough portion. Roll it out into a thin sheet. Fork it through gently in several places. Cut out small bite-sized squares from the rolled out dough. and lay them on a parchment-lined baking tray. Finish the rest of the dough likewise.
Sprinkle some onion seeds (kalonji) on the top and bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 150*C.
Rotate the baking tray, during the time of baking, so you get even colour on the crackers. Bake till its nice and golden in colour.
Turn off the oven. To ensure the crackers stay crisp after baking and drive out excess moisture. Consolidate the crackers onto 1 baking sheet, then return them to the hot oven. Let the crackers cool in the oven with a slight door open.
4 tablespoons butter, divided
4 cloves garlic, minced and divided
1 cup of uncooked arborio rice
1/2 cup of soaked mixed dal
3 cups of vegetable broth
A cup of chopped mushrooms
2-3 cups veggies of your choice
1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
A squeeze of lemon
Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add two cloves of garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add the arborio rice and toss with the butter and garlic for a minute or two until coated. Add a splash of vegetable broth to get things all sizzling-hot. Now add the soaked dal and stir all well.
Add 1 cup of broth more and stir the mixture around gently in the pan with a wooden spoon, letting it get all bubbly and nice. When most of the liquid has evaporated, add another half cup. Repeat this process over about 15-20 minutes until the arborio rice has cooked to the point where it’s almost completely soft, and the whole thing takes on a creamy texture. Season it with salt and pepper.
In a separate little skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, saute for 1-2 minutes, and add the mushrooms. Saute for 5-10 minutes, stir in the vegetables of your choice and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to the risotto pan. Top generously with Parmesan, and enjoy it when hot with Achari Crackers.