Posted On Friday, August 10, 2012 at 08:48:32 AM
I have been in the food business for over 20 years now, and I’m amazed at how things have developed — for the good of course! As a fresher, I was often expected to perform miracles in the kitchen but today, I am glad I was allowed to do so — now I experiment and reinvent with so much more confidence.
Being a foreigner, there is an exotic element to Indian food that fascinates me endlessly. Here in India, I totally swear by methi seeds. They are just something else! I use them in myriad ways when I whip up something desi in my kitchen.
Then there is that lovely palak gravy with jeera rice which has come to mean comfort food for me. I also gorge on the popular butter chicken and chicken tikka masala but the cream used in it can make one feel pretty guilty.
But my own preferences apart, food for me, is my absolute passion. Since I love experimenting with fusion cuisine, one interesting success was this Mushroom Capuccino. I love mushrooms and wanted to break free of the typical mushroom recipes.
The unusual drink gives you the colour of the coffee but tastes nothing like it since it is basically a soup made from slightly sauteed shiitake and button mushrooms in olive oil.
And of course that milk foam on top for a cappucino twist, which gives it that slight creamy flavour too. While it is prepared in a mere 30 minutes it can definitely be polished off in less than a minute, and seems perfect for a rainy day.
One thing about soups? I simply do not agree with the use of cornflour. The main ingredient in your soup should be what is giving you the lovely thick texture and of course the flavour. Non-vegetarians, luckily, can rely on the magic of chicken or meat stock.
(As told to Anjali.Shetty@timesgroup.com)
|Pics: Rajesh Nirgude
• Dried Shiitake mushrooms: 300 gms, soak in water (keep the water)
• Button mushrooms: 500 gms, sliced
• Olive oil: 100 ml
• Red onions: 100 gms, finely diced
• Fresh sage: 20 gms
• Vegetable stock: 1.5 ltr
• Salt: to taste
• White pepper: to taste
• Whole milk: as per preference
• Crushed dried sage: a pinch
• Soak the Shiitake mushrooms in water till they are fully hydrated, drain and finely slice
• Keep them aside retaining the water they were soaked in
• Wash and slice button mushrooms and keep aside
• In a pan, pour some olive oil and gently heat, add onions and cook till light golden brown
• Add both mushrooms and sauté for a while
• Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil
• Add fresh sage and simmer for 30 minutes till the mushrooms are nice and tender
• Leave to cool slightly
• Pass all contents through a blender and blend until nice and smooth
• Check the seasoning and keep aside till ready to re-heat
• Take a coffee steamer and steam milk until frothy
• If you don’t have a steamer, heat the milk and pour into a plastic bottle leaving enough room for heat expansion — then shake well till you have the desired amount of foam
• Heat the mushroom soup, check seasoning and pour into coffee mugs
• Carefully spoon the milk foam over the top of the soup, dust with dried sage powder and serve with hot crusty bread sticks or grissini!
► Chef Karla Dutia’s relationship with cooking can be described with one word — passion.
Her natural flair for Western cuisine and understanding of Indian tastes sets her aparts, allowing her to create fusion food with a universal appeal.
With over 20 years of experience in the industry, she began her culinary journey as a rare female chef amongst men.
She worked in Dubai for 12 years before moving to India four years ago.
Since then, she continues to keep a zest for cooking alive as the Executive Chef at the Oakleaf restaurant at Oakwood Residence