Salty

Magic mushroom risotto trail (vegan + gluten-free)

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If you’re looking for some anti-age magic, the Chinese believe that these mushrooms have what it takes to prevent premature ageing. All food seems to have a function here and mushrooms are up there on the list of wonder foods. I’ve made a temporary move from London to China and just experiencing life Asian style. So much knowledge gained in such a short space of time, especially in the culinary world.

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With rice being a staple in the province in which I’m based, it made sense to create a dish incorporating this. Risotto made a nice change from the stir fried and steamed side versions. The way it works here in terms of my grocery shopping rituals is I get what I’ve never seen, send photos to Chinese friends who tell me what they are, look online for any suggestions for these weirdly wonderful and sometimes scary ingredients, and then attempt to make something edible. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

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A few of these mushrooms resembled deep sea monsters or creatures from the unknown, I was even a tad fearful of making full contact with them using just my bare skin in case they bit me!

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But some of them looked quite pretty, like the fluffy cloud one, tremella. This one is thought to promote collagen synthesis, hence its role in retaining youthful looks. The miniature ones were just really cute- they probably have some purpose in beauty-related stuff, but I have no idea what. There was a super ugly black tripe-wannabe, which even had white fur emanating from its surface, masking the dark mystery behind it! But it’s cartilage-like texture is appealing to many locals so it’s quite popular despite its unnerving exterior.

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A mushroom risotto is pretty cliché, but the fungi in this one give it a little more panache and which other risotto can take you back in time?!

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PS- apologies to anyone who expected magic mushrooms in this recipe!

Serving size:

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 150g batch of the dried porcini mushrooms soaked in 2 litres of hot water
  • 250g fresh assorted mushrooms
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 6 cloves garlic crushed
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 150g white rice
  • 150g wild rice,
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1tbsp dried herbs

Method:

  1. Soak the dried mushrooms in 2 litres of hot water and leave for at least 2 hours.
  2. In a saucepan, fry the onion and garlic in the rapeseed oil.
  3. Remove the dried mushrooms from the stock and roughly chop before adding to the saucepan.
  4. Stir in the uncooked rice then add the stock (water leftover from dried mushrooms), ladle by ladle until the rice is al-dente and the mixture is creamy (more or less liquid may be required, but will roughly equate to 1.5 litres).
  5. Add in the salt, pepper and herbs.
  6. Flash-fry the raw mushrooms in olive oil and add salt to taste.
  7. Place on top of the risotto when plating.

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