Risotto When All You Have Is Rice

Between Christmas and New Year’s I was lucky enough to spend some time with some old friends up in Hokkaido. One of them, Simon, is an incredible cook and always inspires me to at least try to cook/prepare something other than ham and cheese sandwiches all the time. Today, not only did I successfully poach an egg (perfectly!) for the first time, but I also tried to make an interesting dinner: Risotto.

I wasn’t planning on posting, so I wasn’t worried about the presentation too much!

Simon’s got a great set-up in his kitchen, but all I have are a few basics. Seriously. I made this “risotto” meal using a fry pan and a rice cooker. The final picture is of the finished product is a little boring, but the taste and the flavor were awesome!

Here’s what I used:

  • Butter!
  • 2 cups (as in, 2 of the cups that come with your rice cooker) of RICE! (I couldn’t find actual risotto at the local supermarkets or the foreign food shops, so I just used regular Japanese white rice)
  • 4 cups of chicken broth (I’ve never made my own broth and the store doesn’t sell it so I used chicken consomme. Chicken bouillon cube would’ve worked, too)
  • 2 tablespoons (about 14 ml) of olive oil–just eyeball it!
  • 16 ounces (about 400ml) of mushrooms (I couldn’t find portobello, so I just used some regular mushrooms)
  • 1 shallot (diced)
  • 1 garlic clove (diced)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper (freshly ground, always)
  • 1/3 cup of parmesan cheese (romano is probably good, too!)

What I did:

  1. prepped first. Got everything out, and measured–ready to go

    Ingredients prepped and ready to go

  2. made my substitute chicken broth by heating 4 cups of water in the frying pan and adding the chicken consomme mix. Poured it in a bowl and set it aside.

    chicken consomme substituting for chicken broth

  3. melted two tablespoons of butter in the frying pan.
  4. put the two cups of rice in the rice cooked and poured in the melted butter. I used a WOODEN spoon to stir the butter and rice together (a metal utensil will damage your rice cooker bowl!)

    butter stirred in nice and evenly

  5. put 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the fry pan. When it warmed up I added the mushrooms and the shallot, cooked them until they were soft. Cook with the cover on the pan to keep them from drying out & maybe burning. Stir occasionally. Then I set this aside, back on my “prep plate.”
  6. Added in the garlic, white wine, “stock” (a.k.a. consomme), salt, and pepper in with the rice.
  7. Closed the rice cooker and hit the regular “cook” option (not “speed cook” or any other option).
  8. After 10 minutes I added in the mushrooms/shallots and cheese. Stir well!

    stir well and make sure that your cheese isn’t clumpy

  9. After about 20 minutes, stir in the peas and one more tablespoon of butter. Again, stir well!
  10. Let the cooking cycle finish and it’s ready to eat!

It was soooo good! My apartment smelled great. The wine, black pepper, and butter were well balanced and tasted really nice.

You can see that the peas and mushrooms rise to the top, but the wine, pepper, salt, and butter stay nice and evenly distributed for a balanced taste!


  • It’s 2 cups of rice, so it serves two, maybe three people depending on appetite and if you’re serving anything else with it.
  • 4 cups of chicken comme was too much. The finished product tasted great but was a little too wet. Next time I’m going to try only 3.5 cups.

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