Whoever prayed for snow, enough already! Why not bring the much awaited spring to our kitchen by making warm comfy Mushroom Risotto? That's what I did last night.
I had my first taste of risotto when my husband, Anand and I were in Brussels, Belgium during his work stint in Europe in 2001. We had just got married at the beginning of the previous year. So it was just the two of us.
Anyway, we chanced upon this fancy Italian Restaurant while driving around. It was an isolated restaurant in the middle of nowhere and the roads were empty probably because of the weather. I remember the evening clearly - it was a cold Jan evening and while we were sitting in that cosy dimly lit restaurant waiting for our dinner, rain was pouring down from the awning outside...
When the waiter served the steaming Mushroom Risotto on a large white plate it looked similar to a rice porridge. I was skeptical about its taste. Alas, looks can be deceiving. When I savored my first spoonful, it was simply heaven. I loved its creamy rich flavor and when it landed in my tummy it felt so warm and comfortable. How was it that I had not tasted this incredibly delicious food before? We actually ordered the same dish again because it was so delicious! It has become one of my favorite Italian dish ever since.
Mushroom Risotto has a chance of becoming heavy and creamy if the right ingredients and the right techniques are not used. Though it might seem time consuming ( because it requires constant stirring while pouring in the stock), it is well worth the effort and time.
This is the recipe for authentic Italian style Mushroom Risotto cooked skinny.
Ingredients ( Serves 4)
3 tbsps olive oil ( 2 tbsps for cooking the mushrooms and 1 tbsp for cooking the rice)
2 portobello mushrooms, washed and sliced thinly (See Note 1)
8 button mushrooms, washed and sliced thinly
1 medium onion, chopped finely
1.5 cups Arborio Rice (See Note 2)
6 cups Fat Free Vegetable Stock, warmed (See Note 3)
4 tbsps light olive oil butter
1/3 cup Light Parmesan Cheese
Salt for taste
Warm 2 tbsps of olive oil in a big pot and put in all the mushrooms, 2 pinches of salt and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Keep the mushrooms and its liquid aside.
Warm another tbsp of olive oil in the same pot and add in the chopped onions and fry for 2 mins. Put the Arborio rice into the pot and let the oil coat all the rice grains for another 2 mins. Season with salt sparingly (See Note 4)
Start adding in the stock slowly. Only 1/2 cup at a time. Stir constantly tilll the stock is absorbed by the rice grains and then add the next 1/2 cup. It's tedious but the stock has to be absorbed evenly. This whole process of the stock being absorbed will take 20-25 mins. That's right - 25 mins. (I can hear you going 'what?! ')
When the last 1/2 cup has been absorbed, reduce the fire to its lowest. Add in the mushroom and its liquid, light butter and Parmesan. Mix thoroughly. Check for seasonings.
Remove from fire and serve immediately garnished with parsley flakes. Any risotto is best eaten when it has just been cooked. A simple garden salad will suffice as a side dish.
1) You can substitute the mushrooms with asparagus as well.
2) Arboria Rice is the special rice used for cooking risotto. It is readily available in many grocery stores.
3) You can make your own veg stock. Look out for the recipe in my earlier posts.
4)Watch out for salt when adding during the cooking because Parmesan Cheese has sodium as well.
5) Risottos are very suitable for those who have a sensitive tummy( ie nothing fiery) and need to be on a bland diet.
I had button mushrooms leftover after cooking Mushroom Risotto last night. Scoured through my very own Tried and Tested Recipe Book 1 (TTRB1) and came across this easy recipe using leftover rice and mushrooms. It's actually very simple to cook when you are in a hurry.
Ingredients ( Serves 4)
1.5 cups Jasmine Rice cooked rather bitey not overcooked. ( See Note 1)
2 tbsp any good quality veg oil
1 medium onion, chopped finely
8 button mushrooms, washed and sliced thinly.
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced into thin short strips ( See Note 2)
1/2 cup baby peas
Light soy sauce and pepper for seasoning
Heat a big pot and start frying the chopped onion in oil.
Add the sliced mushrooms, bell pepper and peas. Let it cook for 5-10mins.
Season with 1 tbsp soy sauce and a dash of pepper.
Put in the rice, let the seasonings coat the rice and vegs.
Check for seasoning and serve hot with a tomato based curry.
1) Basmati Rice can also be substituted with Jssmine Rice. Cook as usual. Leftover rice is even better.
2) Red bell pepper adds color to this dish. But you can use any other color of bell pepper as well.
I absolutely love feta cheese. I like the tartness of this Greek cheese and since we can get the fat free or low fat version nowadays, I use it on everything from salads to omelets to soups and today, cutlets.
Riya, my younger daughter, asked 'Mama you put feta cheese in everything, huh?'
Contrary to popular belief potatoes are not fattening. It becomes fattening only if they are fried or served with butter or a rich sauce. Potatoes are rich in Vitamins C & B6, potassium and other minerals. The skin is a good source of fiber. Potatoes make an inexpensive, filling and nutritious starchy food.
This recipe for feta cheese and potatoes goes back again to Singapore. I am digging up all my fav recipes from the past to share with you. Anand and my girls are having a field day savoring all the different food I am preparing nowadays...
Ingredients (for 18 - 2inch cutlets)
1 large Or 2 medium Russet Potatoes
1/3 cup finely sliced scallions
1 cup low fat or fat free crumbled feta cheese
Salt & pepper to taste.
2 cups breadcrumbs - 1 cup for mixing with potato and another cup for dredging
1/2 cup skim milk
Oil for grilling
First boil the potatoes, remove skin and mash well.
Add the sliced scallions, feta cheese, salt, breadcrumbs and pepper. Mix well. Watch out for salt as feta cheese has quite a bit of sodium.
Shape them into balls and flatten into 2 inch size cutlets. Dredge them in the milk and then the breadcrumbs.
Shallow fry or grill with minimal oil. It's rather delicate so you must handle the turning over carefully.
Once it is golden brown on both sides, remove from pan and serve warm as a snack with tobasco sauce or chilli flakes.
It is rather heavy so I doubt you can eat more than 3 cutlets at one serving. Just for info.
For those who are not really aware of Indian culinary, Gobi Manchurian is the result of adaptation of Chinese cooking and seasoning techniques to suit Indian Tastes. This dish is made of cauliflowers but cooked with Chinese and Indian seasonings. Its taste can vary from mild spicy to hot and fiery based on personal preference. Gobi Manchurian is served as an appetizer, as a snack with beer or as an accompanying dish to mains.
It is a very popular fried dish in India. But it can be made both dry or with gravy. I have prepared the dried version here.
Yet, it is possible to bake Gobi Manchurian. In fact, a lot of food that requires frying can be baked. I attempted this because firstly Anand, my husband, is a health freak so we don't do a lot of deep frying at home. Secondly, I came across another Chef ( I don't want to mention names here) in Google+ who actually deep fried the cauliflower florets twice to make it crispier!! Found it so alarming. What hazardous health is she putting herself, her family and not to mention her followers to!! Of course, if you have an Air Fryer, that makes it all easier since it doesn't require any oil.
Ingredients (serves 3-4 as a side dish)
1 medium cauliflower, cut into small sized florets
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
Salt to season
1 chopped chilli ( reduce if you prefer less spicy)
1 medium onion chopped finely
1 more tsp ginger garlic paste
1 tbsp light soy sauce
2-3 tbsp tomato ketchup ( make sure it doesn't hv High Fructose Corn Syrup - see my post on the dangers of HFCS in Wellness Tip Of The Day )
2 tbsp good quality veg oil
chopped coriander leaves for garnishing
Preheat the oven to 425 deg F ( 220 deg C) and prepare two baking trays. Spray cooking spray or apply veg oil on them and set aside.
Mix the whole wheat flour, ginger garlic paste, cornstarch and salt in a mixing bowl. Watch out for the salt because you will be adding light soy sauce later!
Dredge the florets in this mix and place it on the baking tray. Bake for 25 mins or until cauliflower florets are browned and cooked.
Remove from oven and let it cool.
Pour the oil in a saucepan and fry chopped chilli and onion till light brown.
Then add in the ginger garlic paste and fry further.
In the meantime, mix the soy sauce and tomato ketchup in a separate bowl.
Pour this mix into sauce pan and let it simmer for 2 minutes.
The baked florets will stick to the tray. Scrape all of them and then add them to the saucepan.
Let the seasonings coat the florets for a few minutes.
Serve hot with any Indian dishes garnished with coriander leaves or as a snack.
Do post comments or pictures if you hv tried the recipes:))
Full of flavor and bursting with nutrition, these energy bites will keep you going throughout your day.
Ingredients ( Makes 25 of 1.5 inch bites)
1 cup oats, ground
1/2 cup flaxseed toasted and ground
1/2 cup Peanut Butter, any variety
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp Vanilla Essence
Choc Chips for garnishing
Put everything in a mixing bowl and combine with fingers for better mixing.
Then take s small amount, roll into a ball and flatten the bite on your palm.
Place it on a baking tray and garnish with Choc chip in the center.
Make the rest of the dough in the same way. It turns out rather gooey not like a crisp cookie.
I am just experimenting on this, so I am not sure how long they will last in room temperature. Will update you soon!
Hi guys! I'm Nilofar Iyer and I have shared my dishes here for you to cook for your own family and friends with love and most importantly with their long term good health in mind.