Tag Archives: texture

Let’s Get Cheesy…….

Cheese is something I have an incredible weakness for. It is a versatile ingredient, eaten and relished standalone, as well as used widely in cooking. My fridge is always well-stocked with several varieties. After all it comes handy as cheese makes an excellent ingredient to add both flair and flavour to the menu.

I relish it in dips or fondues. Perks up my taste buds instantly. Every type of cheese, fresh, semi-soft, washed rind, blue, semi-firm, or hard, has its special characteristics and properties. And yes, each variety of cheese has a unique, taste, texture and nutritional profile.

Cheese Burger Pizza

Some of the cheese dishes from my list of favourites are Swiss Fondue, Tiramisu made with mascarpone cheese and even a pizza generously topped with cheese. Or a crust filled with cheese. Pastas, pizzas and salads are incomplete without cheese.  Who can resist a well-made cheese toast for breakfast or a cheesy omelette for that matter? Another way to relish cheese is with crackers, nuts, fruits, bread.

A somewhat underutilized version is cream cheese. Can work wonders in desserts especially the New York cheese cake, which lends a great texture and richness to the dish.  The texture appeals to me a great deal.

Most varieties of cheese can be enjoyed cooked or uncooked. It depends on personal preferences. Few cheeses taste divine once heated, whereas some lose their distinct taste with application of heat. For example the pizza mozzarella is enjoyed in a better way if served warm.

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Gouda, Cheddar, Colby, Gruyere, Parmesan, are the hard varieties. European cheeses like Cheddar, Ricola, Emmental, Gruyere, Mozzarella are equally popular in India now and easily available at gourmet stores too. That is heartening to see though I wish these were a bit more affordable.

I need no reason or occasion to savour cheese. I love it anyway, anytime. I still love my Kraft cheese even though my palate has now accepted many more newer varieties.

‘Jack’ of all fruits

I was never a fan of jackfruit as a child. It’s only after getting married and travelling to Goa often, that I discovered the goodness and versatility of jackfruit. Phanas they call it. Rich in minerals, dietary fibre, vitamins, it contains no saturated fats and cholesterol. so eat it guilt-free.

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One can consume it as chips, as seed flour used in kebabs and puddings, in shredded form for gravies and stir-fry preparations. Not surprising therefore, that Chef Crystal Mendonca of The Peninsular Grand Saki Naka, Mumbai has created a special summer menu with several jackfruit delicacies in it. Thai stir fry jackfruit, jackfruit biryani and even jackfruit halwa. Must try some out. Chef Deepa Suhas Awchat too has created delectable recipes with jackfruit.

This spined oval fruit, is actually quite remarkable. The unripe one is edible, as is the ripe fleshy one and the seeds can be put to use as well. The fleshy part is so starchy that it needs to be cut with a knife that has been oiled.

I enjoy jackfruit chips which people in Kerala make in abundance. The fleshy jackfruit is pretty similar to chicken in texture.  Pannsachi shak is a seasonal delicacy for villagers in several pockets of Goa. I too have developed a taste for it. Once tasted a channa and jackfruit sukke on our way to Goa near Sawantwadi at a wayside eatery. The flavour still lingers in my mouth. Interestingly, the Mangaloreans prepare patholeos using jackfruit. People in Andhra prepare it with mustard and red chillies. It is fiery but lip-smacking.

A friend of mine once taught me to make jackfruit koftas and believe me they turned out really well. In fact one could safely pass them off as mutton koftas( meatballs) because of the colour and texture. Jackfruit pakoras with chutney are a perfect evening snack for summer.

Did you know that jackfruit is the national fruit of Bangladesh? I did not. Well we all learn new things everyday. Don’t we?