Cauliflower and Mushroom Sticky Rice Risotto

We don't make risotto very often, but when we do, Hungry Bear makes a cauliflower and mushroom risotto using sticky rice (glutinous/sweet rice). I love all things made with sticky rice, and this risotto is one of my favorite sweet rice dishes. The best part is that minimal stirring is required to make it.

The recipe is adapted from the Susanna Foo Fresh Inspiration cookbook. For the most part, we like to reduce the butter and fat in a recipe whenever possible. But we also know when not to mess with a good thing, e.g. potato salad, nicely marbled meats and dessert. The main changes Hungry Bear made to the recipe were — removing the butter, swapping out milk for chicken stock, and increasing the quantity of mushrooms and cauliflower. Before anyone boos the removal of the butter (ahem, Jane!), Hungry Bear added extra coconut cream.

In case you are wondering why our recipes always serve 6 or more, we are either cooking for a large group, making mass quantities for leftovers (Hungry Bear's favorite part) or increasing proportions to avoid the partial use of an ingredient, e.g. cauliflower and cabbage. There have been many times when we used half a head of cauliflower and the other half spoiled in the fridge before we could use it again.

Back to the risotto, the only stirring required is to mix in the mushrooms, cauliflower and chicken stock to the steamed rice. It has a great combination of flavors and textures from the earthy shiitakes, sweet cauliflower and creamy rice. Still, the rice retains a slight firmness and the coconut cream keeps the grains separated. Hungry Bear likes her sticky rice risotto without cheese, but I like the extra flavor the Parmesan adds. It's a unique twist to traditional risotto and goes wonderfully with seared scallops!

Cauliflower and Mushroom Sticky Rice Risotto with Seared Scallops

Cauliflower and Mushroom Sticky Rice Risotto Recipe

SND Note: Coconut milk separates into two layers when stored undisturbed in a can. The bottom layer is a thin milk and the top is the thicker coconut cream.

2 cups sweet sticky (glutinous) rice
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut cream
12 ounces chanterelle, oyster, or shiitake mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
3 cups low-sodium chicken stock
6 cups (1 head) cauliflower florets (1/2 inch pieces)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups baby arugula or watercress leaves, washed and dried
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1) In a large bowl, soak the rice in enough water to cover for 2 to 4 hours. Drain well.

2) Prepare a steamer by placing a layer of cheesecloth in the bottom of a rack. Spread the rice in an even layer over the cheesecloth. Fill the bottom of the steamer with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Place the rack on top, cover, and steam for 5 minutes; the rice will still be very firm.

3) Transfer the rice to a bowl and add the coconut cream. Mix well to separate the grains of rice. The rice can be prepared to this point up to 3 days in advance. Store in a tightly closed container, refrigerated.

4) Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the cauliflower, turn the heat down to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the cauliflower is soft. Remove from heat.

5) Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick saucepan over high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes to coat them with oil and heat them through; they should be barely cooked. Transfer to a bowl and sprinkle with a salt and pepper.

6) Add 1 tablespoon oil to saucepan. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until soft, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in the rice and cauliflower, along with half of the chicken stock, and cook until heated through. Add additional chicken stock to obtain desired consistency. Stir in the mushrooms. Mix in the Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with the arugula or watercress and serve.

Makes 6 servings

[Adapted from Susanna Foo Fresh Inspiration: New Approaches to Chinese Cuisine]

[tags]cauliflower, mushroom, sticky rice, shiitake, risotto, fusion, rice, coconut cream, scallops, glutinous rice[/tags]

8 Comments on “Cauliflower and Mushroom Sticky Rice Risotto”

  1. dp said:

    What an interesting way to use sticky rice. I’ve only ever eaten it steamed, but now I must try making risotto.

    Beautiful presentation!

  2. Jennie said:

    Yep, this is promptly going on “the list”. Perhaps for a special meal with my sweetums this weekend. So, Chuck, question for ya….what lighting set up do you have for these gorgeous photos? You and I have the exact same camera and lens but I’m just not getting the same results and I’m sure it’s the lighting… pretty please share your secret!! :)

  3. Chuck said:

    dp, thanks, give it a try and let me know what you think.

    Jennie, good lighting and a good tripod are definitely the key. I’m fortunate to work from home and my schedule is very flexible. So, I’m able to take most of my pictures during the day with natural lighting from my kitchen window (west facing, not ideal, but good enough). If we are cooking late, I’ll take pictures of the meal the next day. It’s Sunday night dinner and sometimes Monday photos.

    Have you seen Jaden’s post on her lighting? It seems like a good solution for nighttime shots.

  4. JEP said:

    I have never tried to make risotto & your method sounds like one I’d like to attempt. The coconut cream…do you spoon off the milky top before reaching the cream? Mmm..the mushrooms will make this very good tasting! Terrific photos!

  5. Chuck said:

    JEP, the thin milky top can be spooned off, but we just slowly pour it out of the can. Sometimes the cream is not separated from the thin milk, that’s okay, just use it as is.

  6. Looks great! I’ve never tried coconut milk before. I make jasmine rice mushroom risotto with white wine and chicken stock and it’s one of my regular dishes. I actually prefer jasmine rice to arborio. *Ducks to make sure no Italians throw tomatoes at me.*

    Happy New Year!

  7. This looks fantastic! I love risotto…


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    […] same time, methinks.) So I ended up with two recipes for cauliflower and mushroom risotto, here and here. The latter suggested coconut cream, which frankly could make anything delicious – again, did […]

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