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”)

Mustard-Chilli-Honey Dip (Curd based)

Given that I love curd based dips, it was perhaps inevitable that I would take a look-a-see at my kitchen ingredients and decide to play around with some new ones. I love the strong tangy taste of mustard, so I decided to use that this time.

Ingredients:

Hung curds: 200gm

Mustard: 1 tea spoon (tsp)

Olive oil: 1/2 tsp

Garlic: 2 medium cloves, finely diced

Green chillies: 2 diced

Honey: 1/4 tsp

Balsamic Vinegar: 1/2 tsp

Oregano: 1/2 tsp

Cheese: 1/2 of a standard cube, diced.

Pepper: ground, a pinch

Salt to taste

Method:

In the mixer’s chutney jar, put about a 1tablespoon (tbsp) of the hung curds and add the other ingredients.

Blend at medium and then high speed for about 1 min; check to see that all ingredients have been reduced to paste.

Put/pour the remaining hung curds into a jar or pot (please ensure that both are dry), add blended portion into it, take a stirrer or spoon and mix both well (you could gently shake the jar to ensure even mix).

Refrigerate. When needed scoop out with dry spoon, use with Salad greens, toasted breads, crackers even paranthas. Refrigerated, it can last for a week.

Tangy Dip (curd-based)

One of my absolute eternal favorite dips is made with low-fat curd (it is a staple for me and ever-present in my fridge–keeps for over a week), so here is how it is made

Ingredients
Low-fat curd: 400 gm
Garlic cloves: 3-4
Green Chillies: 1 medium-sized (if desired add 1/2 tsp chilli flakes)
Oregano: 1/2 tsp (dried)
Balsamic Vinegar: 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Method
Put the curds into a strainer to drain all the water out; once all water is drained, spoon about 2 tbsp of the waterless curds into the mixer’s chutney jar, add peeled and chopped garlic, green chillies, oregano and vinegar, blend well.
In a separate bowl, gently whisk the remainder of the waterless curds, add blended part to it, add salt to taste, whisk in salt and blended portion. Scoop into a bottle or bowl. Refrigerated, the dip can last for about a week or it might not depending on the number of people dipping into it 🙂
Use with salad greens, kebabs, on toasted breads, cream crackers, anything you would like to combine it with.

Ah, yes, one absolute essential ingredient: lots and lots of love for the food that you are creating