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Vegan Riso al salto (Italian fried rice) is the cenerentola of Italian dishes. Made with leftover saffron risotto, the non vegan version of this Italian fried rice was born in a famous Milan restaurant (Ristorante Savini) in the 70s.
It was served to the guests that would attend the restaurant late in the evening, after a concert in nearby theatre "La Scala". It quickly became one of the most sought after meals of the Italian elite, actors, and famous people, that would go to the Savini restaurant and order this simple, ingenious, and irresistible dish.
The original Italian recipe for "riso al salto" fries the leftover saffron risotto in butter. Here we veganized this dish completely, making it as tasty, crisp, indulgent and delicious as the original Milanese recipe. Follow our recipe for Vegan Saffron Risotto before bringing "cinderella" to the dance (or to your table). Then fry it slow. The texture and flavour of this dish will blow your mind!
Ingredients & substitutions
Saffron risotto leftover: the original Italian recipe of riso al salto is only made with yellow saffron rice. If you want to make it completely vegan like us, then follow our delicious recipe for vegan saffron risotto. Make some extra, and use the left overs to make this recipe.
Olive Oil: we replace the butter with extra virgin olive oil to pan fry this vegan riso al salto. The result is incredible, and as crisp as the buttered version.
Use leftover risotto
Freshly made risotto will not work for this recipe as it contains too much moist. Make the vegan saffron risotto in advance, at least a few hours, and let cool down completely. It is best if you make it one day ahead. This will allow the rice to dry up and it will fry perfectly, creating an ultra crisp coating.
Fry it slowly
To get the best crisp caramelisation of the vegan riso al salto, you need to fry it on low heat for a long period of time (about 10 minutes per side) to allow the juices to evaporate. Also, this way and the starch of the rice will caramelise perfectly, without burning. The texture and flavour will blow your mind!
Mind the hot oil
When flipping the fried rice around you should be very careful about the hot oil dripping down the pan and on your arm. To prevent this from happening watch our video to learn the technique of flipping. Basically, you need to make sure the hot oil drips on an empty plate, before you turn the pan upside down.
Questions & answers
Riso al salto literally means "jumped rice". This refers to the original cooking method of the dish, which is to be shallow fried on a pan, and then flipped in the air, like a jump, to turn it around. We avoid the jump in this preparation, and use a plate instead to turn it. It tastes the same!
Riso al salto (Italian fried rice) is already made with leftover Saffron rice and it's best eaten right off the pan. The crispiness and flavour of this fried rice don't last if stored.
Vegan Riso al Salto - Italian gourmet fried rice
- Non-stick pan
- 200 g vegan saffran risotto < – click to see our recipe (leftovers from previous day)
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- Take the leftover saffron risotto out of the refrigerator.TIP: this traditional Italian recipe is specifically made with leftover saffron risotto. If you make the risotto from scratch for this recipe, then you need to make it thick, and let cool down completely before cooking this dish.
- On a non-stick pan, warm up 2 tbsps of olive oil. Add 3 to 4 tbsp of the leftover saffron risotto to the pan. Keep the heat to low.
- Flatten the rice to get a disc as big as the pan. The disc should be just over 1cm (0.4 inch) thick.
- Without turning it, and on low heat, cook for 10 minutes on the same side. While cooking, adjust the edges of the disc with your spatula to make it perfectly round. During this stage the rice might stick to the pan. It's ok if it sticks at the beginning. At around the 3 minute mark you should try to move the rice disc around. Be gentle. It might break at this point. If it does, stick it together with your spatula. Around the 8 minute mark, you should be able to move the rice disc around the pan, without the help of your spatula.
- Now it's time to flip it. Take a clean plate the size of your rice disc. Put it on top of the rice. Then keep your left hand on top of the plate, and with your right hand turn the pan around. ATTENTION: WHILE TURNING THE PAN, HOT OIL MIGHT DRIP ON YOUR ARM. To prevent this from happening, let the oil drip on a second empty plate, before you flip the pan completely. (See our video for proper technique).
- Put the pan back on the heat, add 2 tbsps of olive oil, and gently slide the rice disc in from your plate. Now cook the other side for another 10 minutes. Keep the heat on low to allow for a slow and very crisp caramelization of the rice.
- During the 10 minutes, make sure the rice doesn't stick to the pan. Moove it around occasionally. When the edges of the disc start to turn golden and crispy, your rice is ready.
- Flip over onto a serving plate, let cool down a minute, and enjoy as a main, or as a delicious starter. The side up should be cripy, golden and heavily caramelized.
Did you try this recipe at home? Let us know in the comments below, or take a picture and tag us on Instagram @italiaplantbased.