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Rule of thumb when making risotto: you cannot move until the rice is cooked, so have all your mise en place ready to go. Our Ma Konbu supplier, Konbu-Doi, invited us to dinner at his home in Osaka. Doi-san prepared the whole meal using konbu, and one of the courses was a risotto made with konbu dashi. I loved it so much for these reasons - it is a stellar vegetarian risotto (could be vegan if you omit the butter and cheese) and he used Japanese rice. I generally do not keep risotto rice in my pantry, but I always have Japanese rice, so it's a perfect fit for me. Feel free to use carnaroli or arborio rice if you have it; the method will not change.

Note: Since all rice is different (even if I buy the same brand all the time), the amount of liquid the rice might absorb will always vary slightly.

1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup shallots, minced
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup rice
⅓ cup white wine, dry
¼ teaspoon salt
22 ounces konbu dashi, hot (this amount may vary)
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter, unsalted
¼ cup parmesan, grated
2 teaspoons parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon dill, chopped
1 teaspoon chives, chopped

In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, cook the olive oil, shallots and ¼ teaspoon salt until the shallots are soft with no color, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the rice and increase the heat to medium-high, stirring often until the rice starts to smell toasty.

Add the wine and ¼ teaspoon additional salt and increase the heat to high, stirring frequently until the wine is almost gone. Now start adding the dashi ½ cup at time - just enough to cover the rice - while constantly stirring. Each time the dashi has started to cook away, add the next 1/2 cup of liquid. Repeat this until you have used 2 cups of dashi, then taste and add more salt if needed.

Taste the rice for doneness (I prefer my rice al dente). If it needs longer, continue adding the dashi and stirring until the rice reaches your desired texture. Stir in the butter, parmesan and herbs, and serve immediately.

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