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Mustard for zing

Monday, September 5, 2011

For a dish with heat, chillies are the common choice. But other ingredients have zing too. There's also the heat from mustard, which is different to that from chillies. Mustard has its place in certain dishes, and is sometimes even preferable.

    For the Don't Call Me Chef column, which comes out in print today, we wrote on spices and I chose mustard to feature. I made prawns with mustard which is inspired by Bengali cuisine.
    What else could I make with mustard? Well, the bread sticks came to mind when I was looking through the fridge and found some cream cheese that was already starting to grow mould. I believe that unless the mould has penetrated the cheese and if there's only a little bit on the outside, there's no need to throw it out. I just scrape off the mould and have never fallen ill from consuming the cheese.
    Both mustard powder and crushed mustard seeds are used. I use yellow mustard seeds because I didn't want the bread sticks to be too hot.

Makes 30-40 sticks depending on length

155g plain flour
Pinch of salt
½ teaspoon powdered mustard
Dash of paprika
60g butter
Cold water (about 80ml), to mix
60g cream cheese, softened
Freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon yellow mustard seeds, cracked
  • Preheat oven to 200°C and grease a baking tray or line with baking parchment.
  • This step may be done in a food processor. Put flour, salt, mustard and paprika in a bowl and mix well. Rub in butter so that mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, then add water, a little at a time, to form a stiff dough. Knead lightly and form a disk. Roll out on a floured surface to a rectangle 5mm thick.
  • Spread cream cheese even over half the dough. Fold over the other half to completely cover cheese. Sprinkle with black pepper and cracked mustard seeds. Roll out again until 5mm thick and the cheese just begins to show through. With a floured knife or pizza wheel, trim edges, the cut dough into sticks 5mm wide and as long as you like. (I got 32 sticks between 23cm and 30cm long.)
  • Transfer to prepared tray and bake until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

Pasta with mustard caper cheese sauce
I had a little cream cheese left over and when it was time for lunch, I thought I would put it into a sauce with mustard and capers. The sauce can be served on the side with grilled meat, chicken and even fish, but I tossed it through some vermicelli. For this dish I used both black and yellow mustard seeds, as well as powdered mustard.

Serves 1

Cooked long pasta for one (save some of the cooking water)
Chopped green onion leaves for garnish

1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 teaspoon mustard seeds (any colour or a combination)
1½ tablespoons cream cheese
5 caper berries, lightly smashed
½ teaspoon powdered mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
  • Melt the butter in a small pan over medium heat and fry the garlic until aromatic. Add the mustard seeds and toss them around to toast. Stir in the cream cheese and a few tablespoons of the pasta cooking water to get a thick sauce. Add the caper berries and powdered mustard; if the sauce is too  thick, add more pasta cooking water. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • When the sauce is the desired consistency, add the cooked pasta to the pan and toss through to coat well. Dish out and sprinkle with chopped green onion leaves.


On this site are a couple more recipes with mustard in them: Cheese and mustard scones and Mr Silu's Baked Crabs

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