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Soft wintery sunlight filtered through the trees cascading over the patio dining area of restaurant Terrior on the wine farm Kleine Zalza. It was just a bit too nippy to enjoy alfresco dinning and for that reason we found a table near the warmth of the portable heaters.
Memorable of the dishes selected was the Coconut and lemongrass prawn risotto which I decided to make and this is my adaptation, replacing the lemongrass which I did not have any of, with cardamom and I have to say the end result was superb.
Prawn and coconut Risotto infused with cardamom
Sufficient prawns for four people peeled but keep the tails intact
1 can of coconut cream
500- 700ml chicken stock
15 ml butter
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion finely diced
A thumb size piece of ginger finely chopped
½ tsp. leaf masala (optional)
1 tsp. sweet paprika
The seeds from 3 cardamom pods, crushed
1½ cups risotto rice
½ cup vermouth or dry sherry
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
Salt to taste
½ cup finely grated parmesan
Season to taste
Heat the stock and coconut cream in separate pots.
Once the coconut cream comes up to heat, turn down to a gentle simmer. Add the shelled prawns and poach them in the liquid until the prawns start to curl, remove the prawns to a bowl and drizzle over some olive oil.
In a pan heat the butter and oil, add the onions, ginger, leaf masala, sweet paprika, the cardamom pod seeds, ground black pepper and sauté until onions are soft and translucent. Add the vermouth and sauté until absorbed.
Ladle alternate amounts of stock and coconut cream into the risotto rice, ensure each ladle of liquid is well absorbed before adding the next amount of liquid, stirring frequently; add the garlic and some salt, half way through the cooking process. Continue cooking until the rice reaches a point where the grains are cooked and the rice will no longer absorb any more liquid. About 15-20 minutes. Check for seasoning
Add the prawns and parmesan, folding them through the rice.
Reserve two or three prawns for each dish; place on top of each serving of risotto together with a little sprig of either baby cress or coriander and some finely diced tomatoes.
Serve with a side salad of peppery leaves and some crusty bread.
The cardamom pod seeds have a lemony fragrance and I used these to replace the lemongrass used in the original dish. You could also use grated lemon or lime rind, but this would need to be folded in at the end of the cooking process.