Risotto Cakes are a variation on the original recipe for risotto which originated in Italy as a creamy rice dish that is cooked in broth and mozzarella cheese. It is made with a starchy short grain rice, usually Arborio, that makes it sticky when cooked. Traditionally risotto was served as a main dish but can be served on the side of a main entrée. Many different ingredients can be added to it. I like adding mushrooms and onions to keep it simple while other recipes include meat, fish, lentils and even wine.
Bahala Bath is a South Indian recipe in which rice is cooked with milk which turns into a thick substantial dish that is usually served during the Pongal festival. It can be compared to risotto with the subtle spices and creamy texture.
These Spiced Risotto Cakes make a beautiful presentation and are delicious to eat. The recipe starts by preparing the seasonings that can be added as the risotto cooks. I use traditional Indian ingredients, including: cumin, shallots, garlic, ginger, green chile and saffron. The secret ingredient in all Indian rice recipes is the use of saffron which adds a rich, fresh scent and bold yellow color.
While the seasonings cook, I prepare the rice by boiling it with chicken stock. When tender, I mix it with the seasonings, cheese, lemon zest and chives. I transfer the mixture into oiled ramekins and bake them in the oven until they turn golden brown on top.
The Risotto Cakes can be served in the ramekins or removed and placed on individual plates. As an alternative, a large ramekin can be used and all of the risotto will be cooked as a large cake. To serve the large risotto cake, simply cut into pie-shaped wedges.
Risotto Cakes are so easy to make but are a tasty alternative to rice or potatoes. Enjoy!