December 28, 2009

Mushrooms Stuffed with Cheese | Mushroom Recipes - Quick Easy Snacks

These mushroom stuffed with cheese recipe has been in my mind forever now. I think I am very smart so what I do occasionally is, read a recipe and if I like it, I read the ingredients again and fool myself into thinking I can remember them all when I go shopping. Here's what happened the last time I did that.

Mini Portobello Mushrooms

I saw this recipe on Pioneer Woman and instantly knew I'll be making it. I read through the ingredients list and thought they were easy, especially since I had some brie left over after making beetroot salad. Turns out that's the only ingredient that's common between her version and mine.

Brie Cheese

She used button mushrooms - I used portobello mushrooms
She used parsley and green onions - I used cilantro (coriander leaves) and totally forgot the green onions
She used brie - I used very little brie and then some mozarella
She didn't use onions - I did

But the bottom line is, this turned out super yummy! Its a quick appetizer and sure to win over any mushroom-lover. You can also make big batches in one go, so its awesome when you are entertaining.

Here's my version of mushrooms stuffed with cheese

Mushrooms Stuffed with Brie Cheese
Serves 2

12 mini portobello mushrooms
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 small block of brie cheese
3 tbsp grated mozarella
1/4 - 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh coriander leaves
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp butter
Salt to taste

How I Made It:
1. Wash and remove the stems from the mushrooms. Pat dry with a dry kitchen napkin.

2. Melt butter in a skillet and add the mushrooms. Sprinkle with some salt and toss them around until well coated with the butter.

3. Arrange these on an oven-proof dish stem side up and set aside.

4. In the same skillet, add minced garlic and onion and fry lightly for 30 seconds. Then add the chopped coriander leaves and sprinkle some salt. Toss around for a minute until the leaves soften. Take care not to fry or burn it.

5. Cut the brie into small squares and lightly press into the mushrooms, where the stems were removed from. Top off each mushroom then with grated mozarella. Finally sprinkle the coriander leaves mixture evenly.

6. Bake in a 180C/350F oven for 15 minutes/until the cheese is melted and soft.

This is one good-tasting appetizer. Its very forgiving so you can use pretty much any meltable cheese and any herb that takes your fancy. And yeah, apparently any kind of mushroom too :)

December 22, 2009

Hyderabad Style Bagara Baingan Recipe - Step by Step

Bagara Baingan is a relatively mellow Hyderabadi dish that uses young brinjal or baingan and a masala paste with peanuts. I tried this with roti and it was a delicious combination! A friend of mine had been asking me for a good bagara baingan recipe after trying it in Hyderabad so I was kinda forced into making this but boy, am I glad I did. Try this easy bagara bainga at home, you surely won't be disappointed. 

This recipe is loosely based on a recipe I saw in a Nita Mehta book at the library. I didn't borrow it so made this based on what I could remember from her recipe. The amount of ingredients are all my own approximation but it turned out very tasty, a perfect combo with roti, pulao or biryani (like they serve it in Hyderabad).

Bagara Baingan Recipe
Serves: 2

6 purple baby brinjals
2 tbsp white sesame seeds
2 tbsp peanuts
2 tbsp grated coconut
1 onion, chopped fine
1" piece of ginger
2 garlic pods (or 2 tsp ginger garlic paste)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp jeera/cumin seeds
1 tbsp coriander powder/malli podi
1 tsp red chilli powder (or to taste)
A small lemon sized ball of tamarind
1 tbsp oil
Fresh coriander leaves for garnish


1. Dry roast the peanuts and sesame seeds separately until golden brown. Set aside to cool. Then, grind together with the coconut and little water to form a smooth paste.

2. Extract the tamarind paste in 1 cup warm water. Grind the ginger and garlic together if using fresh gg paste.

3. Fry the brinjals in oil until soft but still holds shape. Drain and set aside. In the same oil, fry the onions and ginger garlic paste until golden. Then add the ground paste and fry for a minute.

4. To this, add turmeric powder, chilli powder, jeera, coriander powder and salt. Mix well and fry for another minute.

5. Add the tamarind water, mix, then add the brinjals and cook closed for 5-10 mins. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves before serving.

Step by step pictures for making Bagara Baingan

First, dry roast about 2 tbsp of white sesame seeds / til / ellu until golden brown. Set aside.

Then, dry roast 2 tbsp peanuts until roasted and brown. Mine was raw and unsalted so if you are going to use the salted kind, then make sure you keep that in mind while adding salt to the final dish. Set aside.

Next, heat 1 tbsp oil in the same kadai and throw in the washed and slit baby brinjal. We are using the same kind used for ennai kathirikkai kuzhambu. Fry until soft and set aside.

In the same oil, add 1 onion, chopped fine.

To this, add a 1" piece ginger and 2 garlic pods ground together. Alternately, add 2 tsp readymade ginger garlic paste.

While you let that fry, grind the sesame and peanuts with 2 tbsp grated coconut to a smooth paste.

Which looks like this. Yes, you can add a little bit of water while grinding.

By now, the onions would have started to brown. Add the ground paste and mix well.

To this, add 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp jeera, 1 tbsp coriander powder and 1-2 tsp red chilli powder, with salt.

Mix well and stir for a minute until the paste thickens.

I know this looks kinda gross so let's quickly get this over with. Add the tamarind water made with a small lemon sized ball of tamarind and 1 cup warm water. Ok next step, quick!

*Please ignore the stains on my stove. They are from a dish I made just before this. Thank you*

Ah, not so bad once its mixed. So mix well and then..

.. add the fried baby brinjal.

Cook closed for 5-10 mins until the gravy thickens.

Done! Serve bagara baingan warm with a garnish of chopped coriander leaves. This tasted really really good and I really think I should make more curries with roasted peanut paste as the base. The sesame really helps enhance the taste too!

Ranjani made a video of this recipe so if you want to check it, click here.

December 16, 2009

Cooking Class - Palate Sensations Singapore

One of the managers in my team at work won an award because she is a pretty awesome manager. What does this have to do with cooking classes? Well, she is a food-lover, in addition to being totally hilarious, and decided to treat her team to an afternoon of cooking as a group. Again, where do I fit in? Well, she had some available slots in the group and guess who jumped at the chance?! Me! There you go, now I fit into the picture totally, don't I?

And that's where it began.

Joann had filled me in on how nice their kitchen is but even then I was all *gasp* and *double gasp*. I mean, take a look..

Every surface either squeeks or is filled with food and/or kitchen gadgets. No complaints!

There's one entire wall full of Le Creuset stuff. Saucepans, bowls, pans, stock pots, and the list goes on and on.

The opposite wall was dedicated to Scan Pan. I hadn't heard of the brand before this but now, I am down. I go to their website every other day and just ogle.

This is probably my favourite section though. This shelf takes up so little space yet houses so many (important!) heavy things. Imagine how helpful this would be in a tiny kitchen. A food-lover's kitchen cuz otherwise, you don't even need so many kitchen gadgets!

The last shelf, dedicated to Kitchenaids. Not one, not two, but four of them. Four. FOUR!

They also had four ovens. *Dreamy sigh*

We made pizza from scratch, chicken tacos with avocado, fritatta with tomato salsa, and pear and cherry cake with a spiked glaze.

The ingredients were measured and laid out neatly before we got there.

So we cracked open a bottle of girly bubbly and got started!

I spent some quality time with the Kitchenaid as it kneaded the dough for the pizza. He even told me I will soon acquire his cousin. I hope he's right. Then again, a Kitchenaid is always right. Right?

The dough was super soft and very easy to work with after left alone to rise for a while. There was a lot of poking and touching to get acquainted.

The cake came along really well too. The batter was entirely whipped up in a Kitchenaid too. He was yellow but we didn't get a chance to chat. By the way, I made this cake the next weekend and will post soon.

The fritatta was super easy to whip up. It was partly cooked on a stove and then baked (Scan Pan is oven proof too, how cool is that?).

When the cake was done, the chef did this for two reasons. 1) To loosen it gently from the ramekin and 2) So that it stays warm when we are ready to attack them!

These were for the tacos. Fresh vegetables.

The tacos themselves, with sour cream dip, shaved parmesan and the avocado dip.
Ah the pizzas. Each one was unique because we all got a blob of dough and could pick and choose our filling.

This is the chef's version. Minimalistic with two variations - simple tomato and cheese on one side, and thinly sliced potatoes on the other.

Then we got started. There were hearts..

And half moons..

And tons of different shapes, colours, textures, fillings..

Mine? Well very simple. Tomato base, fresh rosemary, and oodles of cheese. Pizza = cheese to me :D

PS: I got quite pally with the Silpat too. We may meet again in the near future for a cookie or two.

If you are ever looking for cooking classes in Singapore, Palate Sensations (the link no longer seems to be working) is a definite must-try. Its pricey but totally worth it!

December 14, 2009

Cheddar Cheese Soup Recipe

This is from Nita Mehta's Soups, Salads and Starters. I was slightly skeptical when I read the name of the soup but since I had some cheddar cheese lying around and really wanted to use it up. The soup was a pleasant surprise, not as heavy as I expected but quite filling and creamy.

Cheddar Cheese Soup
Source : Nita Mehta's Soups, Salads and Starters
Serves : 5-6

What I Used:

2 onions, chopped
3 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
25gm (1 cube Amul cheese) cheddar cheese, grated
2 tbsp butter
1 cup milk (I used low fat 'cuz that's all I had)
5 cups water
1/2 cup sour cream (I didn't use this)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp salt

To Garnish:

25gm (1 cube Amul cheese) cheddar cheese, grated
Fresh coriander leaves (optional)

How I Made It:

1. In a pressure cooker pan, add the butter and brown the onions lightly.

2. Add potatoes and saute for 1-2 mins. Then add the water and pressure cook for 3-4 whistles. Remove from fire.

3. When cooled, blend the pressure cooked onions and potatoes in a mixer to a puree, along with the water used for cooking them.

4. Strain the puree (I didn't do this) and set aside.

5. Boil the milk separately. Bring the strained pureed soup separately to boil and add the milk, stirring continuously. Simmer for 2-3 mins on low flame.

6. Add grated cheese, salt and pepper.

7. Finally add the sour cream, if using, keeping the soup on very low flame and stirring continuously. Remove from fire.

8. To serve, grate top off with some grated cheese and toasted croutons with coriander leaves if using. Serve hot.
This goes to Monthly Mingle - Soups, conceptualized by Meeta and hosted this month by Sunshinemon. Thanks for reminding me, Sonia :)

December 8, 2009

Marie Biscuit Condensed Milk Pudding Recipe

Marie Biscuits, chocolate, and condensed milk are an amazing threesome, a match made in heaven. There are a number of dessert recipes with marie biscuits and condensed milk but this pudding is probably my favourite because of how easy it is to make. In fact, I started making this recipe when I was about 12, standing at the dining table, being watched over by my grand mom who shared the same love I have for this easy dessert.

This pudding is an ideal dessert you can make with kids. It requires very minimum effort too. If you are looking for an no-bake marie biscuit dessert, then please check out Marie Biscuit Chocolate Logs this biscuit brownie recipe.

Here's most of the stuff you'll need. Cocoa powder or bittersweet chocolate, Marie biscuits or digestive biscuits (clearly the recipe is very forgiving!), about 1 tbsp butter to grease the tray or ramekins, condensed milk (low fat if you are in denial like me and think that actually makes this dessert guilt-free), and some chopped nuts (its not in the picture, there's nothing wrong with your eyes).

I used ramekins this time but you can use pretty much any cake tray that you have in hand.
Grease the ramekins with some butter.

Powder the biscuits and lay it in the ramekins, about 1" thick. Gently press down with a spoon. You can also mix the biscuit crumbs with some butter, make it bread crumb like and then press it down, only, you'll be using up much more butter if you do that.

Now we have the condensed milk. Ahhh... the best part. Pour it in, about 1/2" thick. Go on, trust me on this one.

Ok now comes chocolate, the best part! What, I said, condensed milk is the best part? Hmm.. well they are like two sides of the same coin, very complementary :D

You can either use shaved bittersweet chocolate OR..

About 1 tsp of unsweetened cocoa powder.

Layer the chocolate over the condensed milk.

Top this off with a layer of chopped cashewnuts.

Bake in a 180C oven for about 20 mins. The condensed milk will bubble up so make sure this is nicely browned and then we are done. That's them just out of the oven. Remember my oven?

Now we are done. Scoop it out and dig in.

For complete recipe with measurements, check out the Mom's Delight Recipe here.

Note: you can use some grated coconut as a layer after the condensed milk if you have any handy. Also, if you want to cut these into squares (I prefer it squiggly and loose so that I can scoop it out), then mix the powdered biscuits with about 2 tbsp butter and rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Layer this at the bottom of the tray or ramekin and gently press down. This should give you a good solid base so that its easy to cut into squares once baked and cooled. Make sure this base is 1" thick. My mom makes it this way to it works.