Risotto Style Spicy Coconut & Mushroom Rice

Coming from an African background I have often been fascinated with the use of wine in cooking.

Funke Koleosho's Risotto Style Spicy Coconut & Mushroom Rice

I am only a social drinker and do not really drink that often but I have to confess there are some wines which I quite enjoy to drink especially for their rich, sweet and fruity flavours. Most times that I explore Italian or French cuisines and I encounter the use of wine, I would wonder how I could possibly cook some of my favourite Nigerian dishes using some of my favourite wines.

Apparently, the use of wine actually does help to develop tastes and flavours in the dish. You don't have to worry about getting drunk as the alcohol evaporates during cooking, leaving the much desired flavours characteristic of the wine you use. It is therefore really important for you to choose only the wine you actually would enjoy drinking, in your cooking!

Anyhow, I have concluded in my mind that the use of wine in traditional Nigerian cooking will be a "heinous" crime as I think the wine will cause "total damage"!!! In fear of not wanting to be pronounced guilty by the die hard traditional Nigerian foodies for tampering with their much loved traditional foods, I came up with a fusion dish of sort, taking ideas from Italy, Asia and of course Nigeria.

The result is a dish which looks and tastes like risotto, using an ingredient quite often used in Asian cuisine, and regionally used in Nigeria......coconut milk.

You must try it... no meat or fish required, simple, comforting and healthy! Suitable for vegetarians.

What you need
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 200ml coconut milk (you can buy this in a can or make your own if you can)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 200g of button mushrooms (more or less depending on preference)
  • ½ medium sized red onion
  • 2 cups or 500g Arborio risotto rice
  • 1 cup of your favourite dry white wine (optional – use more stock as an alternative)
  • 2½ cups or 500ml of vegetable or chicken stock 
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Chives for garnishing
For the spicy sauce base
  • 1 400g of canned peeled plum tomatoes (in tomato juice)
  • 1 large red sweet pepper (wash and remove seeds and stalk. Cut into large chunks)
  • ½ scotch bonnet chili (wash and remove seeds. This is optional but be careful when handling. Use some chilli powder as an alternative)
  • 1 small onion (peel and cut into chunks)
  • 50-70ml of coconut oil
  • 500ml of vegetable or chicken stock

What to do

You will make this dish in 2 stages.

Stage1: Prepare the spicy base sauce
Blend the plum tomatoes (with the juice), pepper, scotch bonnet chilli (if using), and onion using a blender. Then heat about 50-70ml of coconut oil in a sauce pan and add the blend, 500ml of stock and stir. Allow to cook for about 10 minutes under high heat. Then turn heat down and simmer for a further 10-15 minutes or until sauce thickens or is reduced. Taste and adjust salt. Set aside.

Stage 2: Cook the rice

  1. In a separate pan, heat two tablespoons of coconut oil and add the chopped garlic and thyme. Fry under low heat to allow the flavours to infuse into the oil. This should be about 5 minutes. 
  2. Then add the risotto rice and turn the heat up. Stir the rice continuously to avoid burning and after about one minute of frying the rice, add the wine. This will cause some bubbling and sizzling. Stir again to enable even distribution. 
  3. When the bubbling has subsided, add the stock and stir in. Add the pre-prepared spicy pepper sauce (from stage 1) and stir in. 
  4. Cook for a further 3-5 minutes under high heat, then turn the heat down to continue cooking by simmering the rice. 
  5. Cover the pot tight with its lid and allow to simmer for a further 5 minutes. Then add the coconut milk. Stir in and continue to simmer. 
  6. Then add hot water to the rice a little at a time until rice is cooked/soft. Add the mushrooms and chopped red onions last. Stir well. Add some salt to adjust taste. 
  7. Cover the pot tight again and under low heat, continue to cook the rice until the mushrooms and onions soften. 
  8. Garnish with some chopped chives and serve hot with more steamed mixed veggies. You can use diced roast chicken as an alternative to mushrooms.


  1. This sounds lovely. Going to give this a go. thanks for sharing this recipe.


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