This dish is a culinary mixture of Italian and Thai ingredietns brought together to create a tasty and satisfying dish.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Cockles and Clams
1 lime leaf
300ml white wine
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp groundnut or olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove finely chopped
1 lemon grass stalk, finely chopped
2 tsp ginger, finely chopped
2 tbsp of red curry paste, home made or shop bought
500g risotto rice
400ml coconut milk
600ml litre fish, chicken or vegetable stock or water
100g sugar snap peas, roughly chopped
2 tbsp. coriander, finely chopped
2 tbsp holy basil or normal basil, shredded
2 tsp Thai fish sauce
juice of 1/2 a lime
2 tsp caster sugar
60g roasted unsalted cashews, roughly chopped
Deep fried shredded Savoy cabbage or kale, sprinkled with caster sugar and salt
Cockles and Clams: Scrub and wash the cockles and clams, if any of the shells are open and want close after giving them a strong tap discard them. Place the cockles and clam in a large saucepan with the star anise and white wine. Cover the pan and place it over a moderate-high heat. Cook the clams and cockles until they have opened (around 4-5 minutes). Any cockles or clams that don't open discard them. Place the opened shellfish in a bowl and strain the cooking liquid reserving it for the risotto.Allow the cockles and clams to cool slightly then remove two thirds of them from their shells. Roughly chop the large clam meat. Set the cockles and clams aside while you prepare the risotto (if preparing them in advance cover them and refrigerate them until ready to reheat).
Risotto: In a large saucepan pour in the sesame oil and groundnut or olive oil and place it over a moderate heat, add the onions and garlic, sauté for a couple of minutes until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the ginger, lemon grass and red curry paste to the pan and cook them while stirring for a couple of minutes. Add the rice to the pan and mix it so that it is coated by the ingredients well , cook it for 1 minute. Stir in the reserved cockle and clam cooking stock into the rice and allow it to simmer until absorbed. Now stir in a ladle of boiling stock and a ladle of coconut milk slowly stirring it as it simmers until absorbed. Keep on adding ladles of stock and coconut milk until all the stock and coconut milk is absorbed into the rice. The rice should be moist and tender, with a little bite (not mush). Stir in the cooked cockles and clams, sugar snaps, plum tomatoes, coriander, basil, Thai fish sauce, lime juice and sugar. Cook the risotto for a few minutes so that the cockles and clams are hot and heated through. Serve at once.
To Serve: Spoon the risotto into warm serving bowls. Scatter the cashew nuts around the rice. Garnish the rice with the deep fried cabbage (optional). Serve.