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Thursday, September 15, 2005

Top 5 TV Show - Hot Foods - Pepper Is Popular and a Hot Mushroom Fritter Recipe

Whether you spell it chili pepper or chile pepper, pepper is popular. According to Bobby Rivers, host of the Food Network TV show "Top 5" (aired Sep 14/05), Americans consume a billion pounds of spicy foods per year. It's only an observation, but the majority of hot foods consumed in North America tend to be snack foods, unless you factor in East Indian and spicy Asian cuisines such as Thai and Szechuan. To salute the love of spicy snack foods, here's a completely new recipe for a spicy mushroom fritter. They're like a little mushroom pancake. It's a variation on my great-grandmother's recipe.

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sauteed roughly chopped mushrooms and onion slivers (prepared in a bit of butter or olive oil and cooled).
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp finely diced halapeno chiles (fresh or canned). If you're using fresh chiles, you may want to remove the seeds.
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp crushed red pepper flake
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin (grind fresh for best flavour)
  • Water for the batter
  • 2-3 tbsp cooking oil (canola, vegetable, peanut, olive)

  • Prepare the sauteed mushrooms and onion slivers before hand. (Cook until soft, in butter or cooking oil, without seasonings.) They can cool at air temp or in the fridge, uncovered.
  • Place flour in a bowl, followed by the mushroom mix. Break one egg over top, then add the halapeno, salt and black pepper, and crushed red pepper flake.
  • Mix thoroughly so that ingredients are evenly distributed.
  • Slowly add a little bit of water at a time and mix in. Repeat this until a thick batter performs. Try this test: take a large spoon (tablespoon) and scoop up a heap of mix. Turn the spoon to 90 degrees. If the batter does not slide off, even slowly, then it's still too thick. Add a bit more water. You need to be able to deposit each spoonful into hot oil. But don't add so much water that the fritter will cause the oil to spatter. The spoonful of mix should still be able to hold together.
  • Heat up the cooking oil on high in a non-stick or cast-iron frying pan. Test a little bit of the batter in the oil. If it smokes immediately, it's hot. Turn it down to medium.
  • Spoon a few batches of fritter mix into the hot oil and dab each lump down gently, immediately to flatten into a small disk. Make sure to leave enough room for the flattening, and for turning over each fritter with a spatula.
  • Let fry about 3-4 minutes per side. (If the fritters are burning easily, turn the heat down, say to medium low, especially in a cast-iron pan as they hold their heat well.)
  • Remove cooked fritters to a plate lined with paper towel (kitchen paper).
  • Repeat with remaining batter.

Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream.

(c) Copyright 2005-present, Raj Kumar Dash, http://chilimonster.blogspot.com

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