Sunday, October 18, 2009

RECIPE - Italo-Bahian Shrimp Risotto

The one indispensible ingredient of this dish is the vivid red-orange palm oil called dendê (pronounced: den-DAY). Other oils, like annatto oil may be substituted for color, but there is no acceptable substite for the flavor of dendê. In North America's larger cities, I have found dendê in Latin American or African food stores, although name dendê will only be used in Latin American stores, the African name being merely palm oil. It can also be purchased online in the USA at

Click on "read more" for the recipe...

Serves 4

6 cups shrimp stock (or 3 cups chicken stock and 3 cups water) 
6 Tbsp. neutral cooking oil (canola, sunflower, peanut)
2 tsp. chopped garlic
1 tsp. crushed, dried red pepper flakes
1 med. yellow onion, chopped 
1 pound med. sized peeled fresh shrimp
1.5 cups Italian Arborio Rice

1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk (canned or bottled)
1/2 cup dendê oil

(I buy unpeeled shrimp, then peel and devein them. I then use the shells to make my own shrimp stock, following this recipe.)

Bring stock to simmer in medium saucepan. Reduce heat; keep hot.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon garlic and crushed red pepper, then shrimp. Sauté until shrimp begin to turn pink, about 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup hot shrimp stock. Simmer until shrimp are just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Drain shrimp, reserving cooking liquid.

Melt remaining 4 tablespoons oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and remaining 1 teaspoon garlic; sauté until onion is pale golden, about 4 minutes. Add rice and stir to coat, about 2 minutes. Add 2 cups broth mixture. Simmer until liquid is absorbed, stirring often. Continue adding broth mixture 1 cup at a time, stirring often and simmering until liquid is absorbed before adding more, about 20 minutes. Stir in reserved shrimp cooking liquid. Cook until rice is just tender and mixture is creamy, about 5 minutes longer.

Stir shrimp, coconut milk,  dendê oil and cilantro into risotto. Season risotto to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowls. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons cilantro.


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