However, now that it’s almost time for my husband to return I have been racking my brains for his homecoming dinner. I had almost made up my mind about the main course (peri peri chicken and rice) and dessert (banana cinnamon ice cream) but was confused about the appetizer, until I tried these stuffed mushrooms. Since the main course is going to be non vegetarian, I wanted the appetizer to be vegetarian. I had come across various recipes for stuffed mushrooms with different types of cheese and thought of giving it a “desi” twist by trying it with paneer and Indian spices. Since I didn’t want to take chances with an experimental recipe on D-day I tested it out today and thankfully it came out well. Now I just have to decide the salad. Any suggestions ?
Paneer Stuffed Mushrooms
Large white mushrooms – 6
Finely chopped onions – 2 tbsp
Finely chopped green chillies – 1
Finely chopped green bell pepper – 2 tbsp
Finely chopped red bell pepper – 2 tbsp
Finely chopped mushroom stems – 4 tbsp
Crumbled paneer (I used homemade) – half cup
Garam masala powder – 1/2 tsp
Red chilly powder and salt – according to taste
Cooking oil – 2 tbsp
Preparing the mushrooms-
1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2) Gently pull out the stems of the mushrooms. Do not discard the stems as they will be used in the stuffing. Use the pointed part of a knife to hollow it out properly.
3) Use the back side of a spoon to gently scoop out the gills (the brown spongy part) from the hollow part of the mushrooms.
4) Use a damp paper towel to wipe the outside as well as the insides of the mushrooms. Do not wash them as mushrooms soak up water like a sponge and you will end up with a soggy mess.
5) Lightly brush the mushrooms with oil and place them on a baking sheet lined with aluminium foil with the hollowed sides facing up.
6) Bake for 6-8 minutes, turning once in between, until you see water oozing out of the mushrooms.
7) Remove from oven and cool.
Making the stuffing –
1) Finely chop half the mushroom stems.
2) Heat oil in a wok or frying pan. Saute the onions till translucent. Add the green chillies,chopped mushroom stems and bell peppers and saute briefly.
3) Add the crumbled paneer, garam masala powder, red chilly powder and salt. Saute for a few seconds.Don’t worry if the mixture looks a bit dry. Even after preparing the mushrooms they will release water.
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2) Stuff the paneer mixture into the prepared mushrooms . Brush the tops with some oil.
3)Bake for 6-8 minutes till the mushrooms are a bit tender and the filling is heated thoroughly.
The most time consuming part of this recipe was cleaning the mushrooms. One has to be very gentle while wiping and scooping out the gills in order to avoid breaking the mushrooms. I think it might be a good idea to prepare and fill out the mushrooms beforehand and store them in the refrigerator. At dinner time they can simply be baked.
You can play around with the stuffing and add corn kernels or peas along with bell peppers. You can also sprinkle some grated cheese on top.