Well fear not, oh frugal followers, because it was recently my birthday. This means that I have a packet of king prawns in my freezer and a box or two of arborio rice! Yes I know it's that these ingredients are not low-cost, but since they were already in my store cupboard, they count as a bargain dinner in my book, and in the nick of time too, my tummy was starting to rumble! Time for some of my Dad's Thai Prawn Risotto I think... It's a good job Mr Meat is partial to a prawn or two!
Due to his cholesterol, my darling Papa can't eat saturated fat. This means no butter, cheese or cream is allowed. Unfortunately, butter and cheese are two of the key ingredients of risotto, one of Dad's favourite things. Rather than face a risotto-free existence, he decided to reinvent the dish to suit his new diet. With no cheese or butter, an authentic risotto was out of the question, so instead Fa uses chilli and lemongrass to add flavour, and he uses thai fish sauce to add richness and depth. The result, I believe, is staggering. Bravo Pops!
Dad's Thai Risotto with King Prawns
2 cloves of garlic
1 stick lemongrass (dried or fresh, I use dried but only because that's what I've got. If you're using fresh then remember to bash it a bit with the back of your knife before using.)
A couple of kaffir lime leaves
1 chilli, deseeded and chopped (I use frozen chilli, because it's cheaper and less wasteful than buying packets of fresh chillies all the time and not using them up)
Arborio risotto rice, about a handful per personA packet of king prawns (Sainsbury's often do a 2 for £5 on these)
About a handful of frozen peas
A glug of white wine
Enough stock to cook the amount of rice you're cooking, (check the packet)
Nam pla (thai fish sauce) to taste
Chop up your onion and get it frying nicely in a good glug of olive oil, put the garlic in there too, don't bother to chop it, just squash it with the flat of your knife and take the papery skin off. Get it all lovely and soft and golden, then chuck in the kaffir lime leaves and the lemongrass. Let them warm through and add your arborio rice. Let it cook a bit, give it a bit of a bash around on a high heat to let some of the starch out.
Add your glug of wine, (be as generous as you can afford to be, as this will add richness to the gravy and you'll appreciate it later), allow that to evaporate and add a splash of your stock. At this point, shove a slice of lemon in there along with your chilli, the flavours will really marry and it'll be amazing.
If you've cooked risotto before, you'll know the drill. Keep stirring and add another splash of stock once the previous splash has all boiled away. One your rice begins to look really good, have a quick taste and see how it's cooked. It should be soft but with a tiny bit of bite to it. Add the prawns and the peas, (they cook so quickly you won't overcook the rice by adding them now).
Shake in a couple of drops of fish sauce, maybe a teaspoonful. I know that fish sauce smells really grim, but you won't regret adding it to your risotto, I promise. It adds a great depth of flavour and a very Thai sort of taste. Season with a bit of pepper and some salt if you used proper stock instead of a cube. Congratulations, your dinner is ready!
The estimated cost for this dinner is £4.70, which is really not that cheap in my book. However, it would make it onto the "Feed your Family for a Fiver" campaign, which is guess is not bad going.
Hopefully I will remember to defrost the chicken one day. If that happens then I'll post some delicious chicken-y recipes soon.