Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Start Smart

The first time we entertained, I decided to try my hand at something a little fancy to serve as a starter. The fact that our guests were friends who would be game enough to act as guinea pigs for my experiment, bolstered my confidence a great deal. I must confess here though, that I hit upon this idea for a starter quite by chance. Racking my brains for an appetizer that was simple to make, and yet had a touch of the exotic, I came up with a list of veggies that I thought would fit the bill. Topping the chart was mushroom, followed by zucchini coming a close second. Well, deciding between the two proved to be no contest, becos mushroom is my hubby dearest’s all time favourite. The plus point of this recipe is that the mushrooms can be prepared in advance and fried just before serving. Biting into the outer crunchiness of the mushrooms to discover the softness of the potatoes inside…. yumm!

Stuffed Mushroom Caps
(makes 10-12 pieces)


Mushrooms – 10-12 nos (select ones that have slightly larger caps)
Potatoes – 2 nos
Onions – 1 no
Garlic – 3-4 cloves
Green chilli – 1 no
Lemon juice – 2 tsp
Coriander (aka cilantro) – a few sprigs
Salt – to taste
Breadcrumbs – for coating
All purpose flour – for batter
Oil – for deep frying


1. Slice off the stems of mushrooms, scoop out the inside of the caps to make a nice hollow
2. Chop up the stems finely
3. Boil, peel and mash potatoes
4. Chop onions, chill and garlic finely
5. Heat 1 tbsp oil and sauté onions, chilli and garlic till onions are tender
6. Add mushroom stems and potatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes
7. Check salt, add lemon juices and sprinkle coriander
8. Cool the mixture and stuff into hollowed mushroom caps carefully using a spoon
9. Make a thin batter using flour and water
10. Dip the mushrooms into the batter and coat with breadcrumbs
11. Refrigerate till required
12. Just before serving, heat oil and deep fry mushrooms till golden and done
13. Stick decorative toothpicks into the fried mushroom and serve with sauce / chutney

My tips :

1. Methinks the array of stuffing options that one can choose to play around with is endless – cheese, paneer, mixed veggies, scrambled egg … it’s all a matter of letting your imagination run wild

2. A platter of mushrooms with assorted fillings can become a delightful starter – have your friends play a guessing game to identify what your stuffings are all about

3. Instead of mushrooms, I have also tried Bread Rolls using the same mashed potato filling. The batter / coating routine can be skipped in this variation. To get bread rolls that are crisp and crunchy, roll the bread slices with a rolling pin till they are stretched thin. Then stuff ‘em with any filling of your choice, seal the edges with water and fry till golden. Rolling them like this, makes for less oil absorption and quicker frying. With bread rolls, you can also opt for shallow frying. This wonderful tip came to me from my sister, P who is the biggest contributor to my culinary experiments (next to our mom, who is an amazing cook). P, my staunch ally and rescuer of cooking disasters, countless times over, your tips and recipes will be a staple feature of my blognicles (blog chronicles …. howzzat for coining a new term :)

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