Brown Rice Risotto With Lemongrass And Coconut

This recipe is a more interesting take on the standard 'vegan option'; the risotto. I've tweaked it to make it a little bit healthier by using brown rice instead of arborio, and the addition of coconut milk and peanut butter make it taste luxurious and rich, despite the distinct lack of butter and cheese! Going even more off-piste, this brown rice risotto contains loads of great flavourings from various tropical regions: lemon grass, ginger, chilli and fresh coriander give it a great burst of freshness and spice which means that this is far from boring vegan fare. I've used sweet potato, parsnip and kale here, but feel free to use whatever vegetables you fancy, or whatever is in season. It may look like a long list of ingredients and a lot of steps but trust me, it's worth it. This is the perfect meal to impress friends or family when they come round for dinner!

Ingredients:

1 small sweet potato (around 400g)

1 parsnip

100g kale

400g block of tofu

2 tbsp coconut oil

1 red onion

3 garlic cloves

1 red jalapeno chilli (seeds removed)

25g fresh ginger

2 stalks of lemongrass

1/2 tbsp cumin seeds

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

250g brown rice

800ml vegetable stock (I use bouillon powder)

50g peanut butter

1 can of full-fat coconut milk

3 tbsp dark soy sauce (or tamari for a gluten-free version)

Zest and juice of 1 lime

20g fresh coriander, chopped

 

Instructions:

  • Chop the sweet potato and parsnip in to small chunks and place in a roasting tin. Cover with a little coconut oil and roast for about 30-40 minutes in a 200 degree C oven, until tender and crisp.
  • Slice the tofu in half length-ways and lay each rectangle in a roasting tin. Again, rub coconut oil and a bit of salt on to the tofu and roast in the same oven as the vegetables. The tofu will take about 45-60 minutes to get a nice crispy exterior. When it is done, cut in to bitesize chunks.
  • Meanwhile, cook the kale. I choose to steam mine over a pan of boiling water until it is tender but still crisp; around 5 minutes of cooking time.
  • In a large pan over a medium heat, warm the coconut oil. Chop the onion and fry in the coconut oil for about 5-10 minutes, until soft.
  • Finely chop the garlic, chilli, ginger and lemongrass. I used a small food processor for speed and ease, but by hand is also fine.
  • Add this mixture to the pan, along with the cumin seeds, salt and pepper and fry for a minute more.
  • Then add the rice to the pan and begin to add the stock. Turn the heat to low but make sure the mixture is still at a simmer throughout. Like with a standard risotto, the aim here is to add the stock in small installments- adding a bit more each time it is absorbed by the rice- and stirring frequently.
  • After you have used all the stock (this should take around 30-45 minutes), stir in the peanut butter, coconut milk, soy sauce, lime zest and juice, fresh coriander, roasted vegetables, kale and baked tofu pieces. Cook for around 5 more minutes.
  • If the mixture is left to stand it will thicken up but don't worry, add a little more stock to loosen the mixture again.
  • Serve with a handful of roasted peanuts on top and a crisp green side salad.