Mushrooms a new super-food

Otago Polytechnic bachelor of culinary arts students (from left) Jessica Alesha, Sophie James and Euan Fraser. Photo: Supplied
Otago Polytechnic bachelor of culinary arts students (from left) Jessica Alesha, Sophie James and Euan Fraser. Photo: Supplied
For centuries, the Chinese have been using mushrooms for their natural healing properties and ability to increase the body's immune system activity.

With mushrooms being packed full of vital nutrients such as vitamin B, potassium and iron, these humble fungi are now being hailed as the new super-food.

In today's Cooking 101, Euan Fraser and Jessica Alicia bring you a mushroom and buckwheat risotto. The earthy flavour of mushrooms pairs naturally with creamy textures.

Today's mushroom risotto uses buckwheat - a plant that contains no gluten, has a high fibre content and is cultivated for its grain-like seeds - as an alternative to the standard arborio rice.

Incorporating a cashew nut sauce into the risotto re-creates the creamy texture of the traditional dairy-laden dish. The dish is finished with lemon zest and juice, creating the perfect guilt-free risotto for a dark winter's night.


Food styling/Photo: Sophie James
Food styling/Photo: Sophie James
Mushroom and capsicum buckwheat risotto

Serves 2-4


Mushroom and buckwheat base
¾ cup buckwheat
1½ cups of boiling water
3 cloves of garlic, lightly crushed
2 red capsicums, sliced
250g mushrooms, sliced
1 Tbsp oil

Cashew cream sauce
1 cup of raw cashew nuts
1½ cups of water

To finish/serve
1 lemon (zested and juiced)
Small handful of parsley (roughly chopped)

In a pot combine the buckwheat and boiling water and heat to bring back to the boil.

Turn down to low and simmer with the lid on for 15 minutes or until the water has gone or the buckwheat is soft.

1. In a pan, saute the garlic, capsicum, mushrooms and oil until soft.

2. Add the cooked buckwheat.

Cashew cream sauce
Soak the cashew nuts overnight. In a blender, blend the cashews and water. Reserve until it's time to serve.

To finish/serve
3. Add cashew base to the buckwheat risotto base and gently heat through. Add the salt and soy sauce and heat for a further 2 minutes.

4. Stir through the zest and juice of a lemon and finish with freshly chopped parsley.

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