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Photo: Aliya LeeKong
Where risotto and quinoa cross paths.

We're super-excited for the brand-new cookbook out this week from one of our favorite chefs out there, Aliya LeeKong, chef and creative culinary director at NYC's Indian fine dining mecca, Junoon. Aptly titled Exotic Table: Flavors, Inspiration, and Recipes From Around The World — To Your Kitchen, this is one volume your kitchen library isn't complete without. And yes, we all have big crushes on her, but also her spectacular cuisine, like this risotto preparation made with quinoa. 

When I was traveling in Peru, I came across this truly delicious (and healthy) version of risotto using quinoa in lieu of the traditional arborio or carnaroli rice. Being a huge risotto fan, I played around with this substitution using different seasonal vegetables, but I always tend to come back to this simple mushroom version. The flavor is nuttier with earthiness from the mushrooms, and it has more texture than your traditional risotto. With quinoa's nutritional value, I love that I don't feel guilty when I whip this up on a weeknight.

Reprinted with permission from Exotic Table