Cottage Cheese Mousse (aka Chuha)

I learnt the original recipe from a friend, but it called for the addition of gelatine, not something I am very fond off, so I decided to play around with it and see what the outcome was.  Well, the outcome was as edible as the original recipe, except that this one is a more fluid, smooth, paste/spread-like consistency and not something that needs a knife to cut into like the set gelatine one. And yes, I prefer this one.

Time taken: ~15 min to prepare

About 30 min to chill (preferred serving)

Ingredients:

Low fat cottage cheese aka paneer: 100-150 gm

Jalapenos: 1 big whole

Green olives: about 4-5 small whole

Capsicum: 1 small, diced

Cucumber: 1 small, peeled, diced

Garlic: 4-5 cloves, diced

Green chillies: 1 medium, diced

A dash each of oregano and chilli flakes

Salt/pepper to taste

Extra Virgin olive oil: 1/4 tsp

Method:

Dice/cube the cottage cheese, then mash it, keep aside.

Dice/slice and then blend the jalapenos, olives, capsicum, cucumber, garlic, green chillies. Into this blend add the mashed cottage cheese (you can choose to whisk by hand or use the blender/mixer). Into this blended mixture, add in the salt/pepper -whisk, add in the olive oil, blend/whisk for about less than a minute.

Scoop out either into individual ramekin dishes or main bowl, garnish with shredded celery/mint/coriander. Place into refrigerator to chill for about 30 min.

Serve with toasted bread, cream crackers, khakras, salted biscuits, or enjoy it plain. You can use other vegetables like carrots or tomatoes (if using tomatoes, please remove pulp or the end result will be a little more watery than the consistency shown here).

Stays in the refrigerator for about a week, please use  clean dry cutlery to take out (if it lasts that long). This is my basic recipe, given my mood and contents of my refrigerator this varies. You can, if you wish, spice it up or down. Goes well with most wines, given its cheesy base!

I call this one the ‘Chuha’ (in Hindi, Chuha means mouse! punning on the word “mousse”)

Chatpata Baby Potatoes

Baby potatoes are in season; I remember mom making them in their jackets as a vegetable with the main meal, of course for hungry kids, they did well as fillings between slices of bread.

Ingredients:

Baby potatoes: 250-300 gm

Cumin seeds whole: 1 tsp

Cumin/coriander powder: 1/2 tsp each

Roasted cumin seed powder: 1/2 tsp

Garam masala: 1/4th tsp

Red Chili Powder: 1/4th tsp

Amchoor: 1/2 tsp

oil: 1 tsp

Salt to taste

Method:

Wash baby potatoes thoroughly under running water, scrubbing gently if required; place in pressure cooker, add water to cover, place pressure cooker on flame and cook on high flame until 1st whistle, turn flame to simmer, cook for another 2-3 mins, turn off flame.

Once pressure cooker has cooled down, open, drain water, allow potatoes to breathe awhile, then halve. Set aside. Place a wok or kadhai on flame, spoon in whole cumin seeds, allow to roast and crackle. Then add in cumin and coriander powder, add 1/4th tsp oil, allow masala to roast, then add in halved potatoes, garam masala, roasted cumin seed powder, red chili powder and the remaining oil, stir gently to allow potatoes to be coated with masala. Lower heat and continue roasting, turning ever so gently (or if you prefer toss). Cook for about 2-3 minutes, then add in the salt, continue to roast, tossing/stirring gently. Add amchoor, stir in fully, allow to roast for another 2mins on low flame, turn off flame.

Can be served as a side dish, as starters, or used as filling for sandwiches. If serving as a starter, you may want to sprinkle juice of half a lime before serving.

Lightly Tossed Paneer Salad

This is a lightly tossed paneer hot salad that goes well with wine, and drinks and is easy and quick to rustle up (you can add/subtract the salad ingredients, being a weekend, my fridge is kinda empty, stocking up left for the Sunday :-)! )

By now it must be evident that I am a paneer (cottage cheese) lover. It’s a versatile ingredient, if it can be called that, easy to add into other dishes or on its own.

Ingredients:

Paneer – low fat (cottage cheese): 200-250 gm, cubed

Onion: 1 medium sized, finely sliced

Cucumber: halved, finely sliced

Garlic: 1 clove, finely diced

Tomato: 1 medium, sliced into eights, length-wise (for garnish)

Green olives: 4, quartered, length-wise

Jalapenos (pickled): 4, crushed

Salt: to taste

Red chilli powder: a pinch

Red wine Vinegar: 1/4 tsp

Olive oil to saute: 1/4 tsp

Optional: 1/4 tsp chat masala

Method:

Put a saucepan (i use the anodized ones, you can use a non-stick, if you so want) on heat, add diced garlic, roast dry, add finely sliced onions, saute for about a minute; add the cucumber slices, let saute further, toss in the paneer, add olive oil, saute for about a couple of minutes till paneer starts acquiring a slightly brownish tinge, turn down flame; add the olives and jalapeno, saute for a further minute, add salt, red chilli powder, red wine vinegar and if using, the chat masala, lightly toss pan contents, allow to cook for a further min on low heat.

Turn out on full plate or bowl, use sliced tomatoes to ring salad, serve hot. Good with wine (that’s what I served it with)

Cheers!

The Felton Road 2008 Riesling