I love cheese. In India, of course, cheese generally means processed cheese. Usually Amul, or maybe Brittania. Paneer is also called cottage cheese, but mostly it’s just called paneer. In my childhood, my parents enforced a ration of one 400g tin of Amul cheese per month, and I remember how exciting it was when we bought a new tin, and how disappointing when it got over. Those were the days when you had to use a can opener and work your way around the tin, then use a knife to lift up the cut metal sheet (which would have gotten wedged in the cheese). Usually, and this is where the fun began, some of the cheese would get broken off in the process. Slightly yellow in colour, soft and crumbly, that cheese was one of the best things I’d ever tasted. Some 20 years later, I still cannot resist the sight of a freshly opened pack of Amul cheese, or what I encounter more frequently now – a freshly peeled cheese cube. It is for that reason alone that I prefer cheese cubes rather than bigger packs.
Cheese spread is handy enough, but it doesn’t taste like the real thing. Cheeslings, on the other hand, I can eat by the pack. It was such a great ‘event’ when Mozzarella cheese (pizza cheese) became available in the retail market. It is rather lacking in flavor, I think, but melts easily and gives your homemade pizzas a fresh-from-a-pizzeria look! The best pizza I made used a combination of mozzarella and parmesan cheese, where the texture of one and the flavor of the other made a good balance. I don’t know if parmesan cheese is made in India. For me, it’s one of the items I request my brother to bring from the U.S. If it has to be imported, might as well do the importing yourself!
On a recent trip to a supermarket though, I was thrilled to see several varieties of cheese produced by something called Kodai Dairy. Being handmade cheese, it was quite pricey (still cheaper than the imported varieties available), but seemed to have a decent range – Cheddar cheese, flavoured cheeses (like green chilly), etc. Milky Mist also had a cheddar cheese. Bought to pack to try it out. Another new item available in the cheese section was grated cheese blends from Gowerdhan Dairy (GO Cheese!). Along with Cheddar, they had a Mexican blend, an Italian pasta blend and an Italian pizza one. When I had visited my brother a couple of years ago, he had a pack of Mexican four-cheese blend in his freezer and it seemed like a very useful thing to have on hand. And I had mourned that it wasn’t available in India…
So yeah, I picked up a pack as soon as I saw it yesterday! And then I couldn’t wait to try it out. Ever notice how you get hungry at odd times when you have bought a new snack/ food you want to try? My hunger-moment hit at 11:45 in the night, when I was in bed, about to fall asleep. For a few minutes I debated whether to try to fall asleep anyway or to get up and eat something. The moment I remembered the cheese, though, I HAD to get up! With very few ingredients on hand, and considering the lateness of the hour, I wanted something easy and quick. That’s where the Midnight Quesadilla came in. It is something I concocted in a hungry, sleepy moment!
– – Leftover dough to make 1 roti
– – 1 egg
– – 2 tbsp chopped onion
– – 1 tbsp chopped tomato
– – 1 clove garlic, chopped
– – 1 tsp oil
– – Salt and pepper (I used red chilly powder for colour. And because it was kept closer to the salt!)
And, of course
– – 1 tbsp grated cheese (I used Mexican cheese blend)
Heat a flat non-stick pan. Add a little oil.
Roll out the roti and cook one side.
Flip over. Break an egg onto the roti, and spread it with a spoon/fork. Quickly sprinkle the chopped vegetables, salt and pepper, and the cheese.
Fold it in half, but don’t press down. Otherwise all the egg will ooze out.
Let it cook on a low heat till the egg is done. Flip once to make sure both sides cook evenly.
Cut into wedges and eat/serve with tomato sauce.
I am a little paranoid about eating raw egg, so before I added the cheese, I flipped mine over and cooked the egg directly. Then flipped back, added the cheese, folded, and cooked till crisp. You can even cover the pan with a lid to speed up cooking. Mine was done in about 12 minutes from start to finish.
This is what the inside looked like.
It was perfect for satisfying midnight cravings, and reinforced my belief that everything tastes better with a little cheese on top!