Kim Chi Risotto // Midnight Cooking with Saigon Sally

We wanted an Asian-inspired carbohydrate accompaniment to go with the staple fried chicken dish we agreed on, and Adrian suggested risotto with kim chi. The kim chi and the Hainanese chicken rice sauce give this dish the most delicious zingy-ness, which is perfect to cut through the richness of the fried chicken.

After three years at Donovan’s, before his role as head chef at Saigon Sally and Tokyo Tina, Li knows how to make a good risotto. He insists on using carnaroli rice. “Never ever ever use Arborio rice… unless you’re making fertilizer or something,” Li jokes. “It’s too starchy. Carnaroli has better texture – it’s a longer grain [and] keeps its shape better.”


300g carnaroli rice

1/2 cup cauliflower florets, finely diced

½ cup shallots, finely diced

30ml Pernod

1.25L chicken stock

2/3 cup kim chi, roughly diced

150g butter

Garlic chives and fried shallots, to garnish

Salt, to taste


  1. Sauté the cauliflower and shallot in a heavy-bottomed pan until translucent. Add the rice and stir until mixed, and once the rice is too hot to touch, deglaze with Pernod.
  1. Add the stock to cover the rice, and turn up the heat to high for 8 minutes, or until all water evaporates (no need to stir). Leave to cool slightly.
  1. Once cooled, add the rest of the stock to a saucepan and heat until simmering. Add the rice mixture to the rest of the stock then cover and leave until all the stock has evaporated.
  1. Add kim chi and stir vigourously. Serve sprinkled with shallots and garlic chives with the fried chicken and blue cheese sauce crema on the side.

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