Risotto & Satay Sauce

Now here is a dish that has had more names than you could shake a stick at. It always used to be called a Pilaf and could usually be found tasting of cardamons and mild curry spices, we also made a version with tomato paste and bay leaves instead of the turmeric and spices which we called risotto and was usually served with a Mediterranean style sauce. Over the years the edges seem to have blurred and the two have become one, made mainly like the old eastern version but labelled with the Italian name. That’s the Eighth Day for you, a land of deep weirdness. If you want to be more traditional in your approach try adding a couple of cardamon pods and a teaspoon of garam masala or curry powder to the rice with the bay leaves, or miss out the turmeric and add a dessert spoon of tomato puree. You can also ring the changes by serving this with the tomato and coriander sauce from the Filo pie recipe.


8-10oz (225-300g) short grain rice, brown or white
1 large onion
4oz (100g) mushrooms
1 red pepper
2 courgettes
1 floret of broccoli or cauliflower
1 large carrot
2oz (50g) pumpkin seeds
½ spring cabbage
1 tablespoon turmeric
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper
1 pint (600ml) water
olive oil

Satay Sauce
1 jar (9oz, 350g)of smooth peanut butter
½ large onion, or one small one
1 clove garlic
1 lemon
1 large sprig parsley
¼ pint (150ml) water
2 tablespoons soya sauce
sunflower oil
black pepper
cayenne pepper


  1. Wash and drain the rice, put in a suitable sized pan with the bay leaves, turmeric and a pinch of salt, and, if using brown rice, cover with plenty of cold water, bring to the boil and simmer until done. If using white rice cover with 12-15 fl oz (350-450ml) cold water, bring to the boil and then allow to cook, covered on the lowest heat until all the water is absorbed at which point the rice should be cooked.
  2. Peel the onion and chop it finely. Wash the vegetables, if the carrot is not organically grown peel it. Cut the courgettes and mushrooms into slices, the broccoli into florets, the cabbage into fine shreds and the carrot into thick matchsticks. Cut the pepper in half lengthways, break out the pith and seeds and then cut the halves across their width into slices.
  3. Turn on the oven and set to 180°C 350°F Gas Mark 4, put the pumpkin seeds on an oven tray, drizzle on a little oil and put them in the oven to brown. Keep your eye on them as you carry on with the rest of the recipe, don’t let them burn.
  4. If you have a wok put it on a high heat with a spot of oil and fry the onion very quickly, stirring all the time. After 1 minute add the pepper, broccoli and carrot, stir fry them for another 2 minutes then add the courgette and mushroom and cook on for a further minute before turning off the heat.
  5. If you do not have a wok sauté the vegetables in a frying pan in a little oil, or you can cook the carrot and broccoli in a little boiling water for a couple of minutes, keep them crispy. Once cooked strain and mix all the vegetables in a large bowl.
  6. Add the shredded cabbage and the toasted seeds to the other vegetables and mix all together then mix in the cooked rice. Put the mixture in an oven proof dish and cover with foil and cook in the pre heated oven for 20 to 30 minutes.
  7. Whilst cooking make the sauce. Peel and finely chop the onion, crush or finely chop the garlic. Wash and chop the parsley and squeeze the lemon.
  8. Put a heavy bottomed pan on a medium light, add a dash of oil and fry the onion and garlic until soft.
  9. Add the water, soya sauce, peanut butter and a good pinch of both black and cayenne peppers, stir the mixture together and bring to the boil.
  10. Simmer for 10 minutes then add the lemon juice and chopped parsley, cook for a further minute then remove from the heat. If you prefer a really smooth sauce you can blend it before serving.
  11. This easy satay sauce can be used on a variety of dishes, grilled marinated tofu and a few noodles for example would be an excellent starter. We would not recommend it with the pea pie, the results could be fatal.

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