If you want to know how to make spicy risotto, this easy vegan risotto recipe is for you. Aji amarillo adds an incredible and complex heat to this recipe. What is aji amarillo paste? Read on to find out!
Just look at the beautiful yellow hue of this spicy vegan risotto! This recipe uses aji amarillo paste as the base. If you’ve never cooked with aji amarillo, you are in for a treat. So, what is aji amarillo paste?
Aji amarillo is a hot yellow pepper from South America and is considered a staple ingredient in Peruvian cuisine. The aji pepper from Peru is a component of their holy trinity: garlic, red onions, and aji pepper. The aji pepper can range from 30,000 to 50,000 on the Scoville scale. For comparison, a jalapeño is anywhere from 2,500 to 8,000. The aji pepper packs a punch!
You can make your own paste, but you can also buy it prepared. I’ve never attempted to prepare my own, but maybe one day! Now, all that said….in my experience, I have found that aji amarillo paste can vary widely in heat. Depending on the brand, you may only need a teaspoon of paste to feel the effects of the heat but for some brands, you may need a tablespoon. I recommend tasting to make sure of the heat before you start throwing it into all of the things.
What brand should you buy? I absolutely love Kosmos Gourmet brand of aji amarillo paste. It’s loaded with heat, so a teaspoon or two goes a long way. The flavor is absolutely delicious. Try this in my risotto recipe (below) or try this mixed with mayonnaise for an incredible burger or grilled chicken sandwich condiment.
How to Make this Easy Spicy Vegan Risotto Recipe:
Making this recipe is a breeze. First, prepare the kale chips. While the kale chips bake, prepare the risotto. Simply sauté shallots until softened. Add the aji amarillo paste and fry until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the rice and cook until golden brown. Then, simply ladle in the stock, one cup at a time.
Simmer between each incorporation until the stock is absorbed. Continue on until all the stock is incorporated and the rice is al dente. From there, simply add the peas and cook until bright green. Allow the risotto to rest briefly. To serve, pile onto plates and add the parsley-lemon garnish and crispy kale chips on top. It’s that simple!
Spicy Vegan Risotto
- Sheet pan
- Small pot
- Glass measuring cup
- 5 ounces curly kale, leaves chopped
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil, divided
- 2 shallots, peeled and minced
- 1–2 tablespoons aji amarillo paste, depending on your spice preference
- 1 cup carnaroli or arborio rice
- 3 cups vegetable stock, warmed up
- 8 ounces fresh or frozen green peas
- ¼ cup fresh parsley leaves, minced
- 1 lemon, juiced and zested
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 300ºF.
- Pour the vegetable stock into a large, heat-proof bowl or glass measuring cup. Transfer to the microwave for 2 minutes until warmed through. Set aside.
Cook the Kale Chips:
- Arrange the kale leaves on the sheet pan in an even layer. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon avocado oil and use your hands to massage the oil into the leaves. Sprinkle with salt. Transfer to the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the leaves are crispy.
- Turn off the heat and leave the chips in the oven as you finish the risotto.
- Heat the remaining avocado oil in a small pot. Add the shallot and cook for 1-3 minutes until just beginning to soften. Add the aji amarillo paste and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
Cook the Risotto:
- Add the carnaroli rice and cook for 1-2 minutes until the rice is coated with the paste and begins to toast slightly. Reduce heat to low.
- Add a ladle of the warm vegetable stock and stir continuously until the rice absorbs the broth. Continue on, alternating adding stock and stirring, until the liquid is almost completely absorbed.
Cook the Peas:
- Stir the peas into the risotto and cook for 2-3 minutes until any remaining liquid is absorbed and the peas are bright green. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat and rest the risotto for 5 minutes.
Prepare the Garnish:
- In a small bowl, combine the minced parsley, lemon juice and zest, and a pinch of salt and stir to combine. Set aside.
- Divide the warm risotto between shallow bowls. Add a teaspoon of the parsley mixture on top and garnish with the crispy kale chips. Enjoy!