Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Curry risotto with chicken, zucchini and peppers

We tried to go to our favorite Indian restaurant this week but it turned out they were closed on Tuesdays. We substituted with Jimmy Johns, which, while good, is not the same. Not even remotely the same, no matter how good the salt and vinegar chips are.

Suffice to say, the craving for curry was not satisfied. Over the past week, I'd pored over a few recipes for risotto, chicken curry, seasoned basmati rice, etc., and then the other night, I decided to throw caution to the wind.

Thus, curry risotto.

I used chicken we grilled earlier in the week, and bought coconut milk, limes and arborio rice on a whim. I'm versed in coconut milk thanks to this wonderfully refreshing concoction from Smitten Kitchen, and have decided the A Taste of Thai brand is where it's at. The ingredient list is super short, always a good sign.

After that, it was a matter of vegetables, and we had a half a dark red pepper and a zucchini left. We've been trying to hit the farmer's market most weekends, and one of the vendors has these deep red beauties, which seduce me every time. Juicy, sweet -- it's a vegetable version of plums. But I digress...

One surprising ingredient was a touch of sugar. I tasted what I thought was the final product, but the curry flavor wasn't quite what I expected. I realized what was missing was a sweet note. The sugar did the trick. I actually used Splenda, so a sugar substitute is just fine.

Sadly, we didn't have any leftovers. Which is unfortunate, because I'm positive this must taste delicious cold as well. Ah well. More risotto in our future, clearly.

Here's the recipe -- we didn't pair this with anything, just forks and ravenous appetites!

Curry risotto with chicken, zucchini and peppers

All you need:

3 c. water
1 T. Better Than Boullion chicken base
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 T. butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 c. arborio rice
1/2 c. white wine, preferably Chardonnay
1/2 zucchini, chopped
1 1/2 c. cooked cubed chicken
1/2 large red pepper, chopped
1 1/2 to 2 t. curry powder
pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 c. light coconut milk
juice of 1/2 a lime
zest of 1/2 a lime
1 T. minced fresh basil or 1 t. dried basil
1/2 t. salt
pinch black pepper
1 t. sugar or sugar substitute

All you have to do:

Heat water to boiling, and add chicken base. Alternatively, heat 3 cups of ready-made chicken broth in the microwave.

Heat oil and butter in a large skillet on medium-heat. You'll want plenty of room for all the ingredients. Add minced garlic and saute a few minutes. Add rice and stir to coat, then let heat for at least five minutes or so. Rice is ready when the grains are translucent and display a white dot in the middle.

Add white wine, and let cook down, stirring occasionally. Add 3/4 cup of the broth, and let the rice absorb the liquid. The risotto is ready when a wooden spoon drawn across the bottom of the pan creates a visible streak.

Here is the risotto right after adding the liquid.
It looks like far too much, but it will absorb into the rice and vegetables.

Once the first addition of broth is absorbed, add the chopped zucchini and 3/4 cup of the broth. Let absorb, stirring occasionally. Then add the chicken and another 3/4 cup of broth, letting it absorb again. Stir mix, making sure all the rice is below the liquid. Then add the red peppers and the remaining broth.

Here is the risotto with the liquid beginning to be absorbed.

Once all the broth is absorbed, turn down the heat to low. Add cayenne and curry powder and stir. Add coconut milk and stir. Add in lime juice and zest, salt, pepper and the fresh basil, and taste. Then add sugar to taste.

Turn off heat and let curry risotto sit for a few minutes to cool down and let the flavors meld. Serve garnished with additional snipped fresh basil. Enjoy!


  1. That looks incredible. So glad to have someone on board with me on this Indian curry train. Woot woot!