I came to know of phyllo or filo sheets very late in life. Growing up I have eaten all sorts of buttery puff pastries because that is what every bakery and canteen in India sell. Forward to now, I had a pleasure of attending one of the Lurpak cooking classes about a year back where I was introduced to thin crispy sheets I hadn’t worked with before. Chef Paul Frangie taught us to make famous middle-eastern Baklava carefully explaining us the nitty gritties of handling fragile phyllo sheets. As soon as I came home, I researched on how different is phyllo to a puff pastry and came to this article from Taste of Home which explain it all.
Phyllo sheets require a great deal of care. But that shouldn’t put you off the scrumptious things you can make with it and the fact that phyllo dough contains just flour and water with very little oil, it is way healthier than a puff pastry essentially made with butter. A roll of phyllo sheets is akin to having a packet of puff pastry dough in my refrigerator because of its uses. It helps me in preparing impromptu snacks for my family or last minute guests, looks elegant in a spanakopita on my Ramadan table or makes it for a wonderful lunch box food. Here’s what I learned from my experience of cooking with phyllo sheets –
♥ It is best to grab phyllo rolls from a frozen section than attempting to make on your own unless you are feeling adventurous.
♥ It needs to thaw completely.
♥ The dough is paper thin and dries pretty quick and turn into cracky mess you won’t be able to work with. Once you open the box and spread it out to use, cover the top with a damp tea towel to keep the moisture from drying out.
♥ Do not shy away from cooking sprays or brushing olive oil or melted butter onto the sheets as the recipe demand.
I love how caramelized onions and mushroom come together for a filling or a topping. Most often Little A and I use it for our canapes or roll it into a few layers of phyllo sheets to make a fast, savory and delicious appetizer. The other reason I love caramelized onions and mushroom is because it is so convenient to make it ahead of time (say 2-3 days before) and assemble when the need arises. Although mushroom works great for this recipe and is child approved, you can fill anything you like inside – think of cheeses, spinach, corn, herbs or chicken.
- White onions - 3 sliced
- Button mushrooms - 250 gms cleaned and sliced
- Phyllo sheets - 6 sheets from a roll
- Brown sugar - 2 tsp
- Balsamic vinegar - 2 tbsp
- Soy sauce - 1 tsp
- Chilli garlic sauce - 1 tbsp adjust more for spicy flavor
- Ketchup - 2 tsp
- Pepper to taste
- Sesame Oil - 2 tsp
- Salt to taste sauces contain salt, so we will just add it to the onions while caramelizing
- Olive oil - 1/4 cup
In a wok, heat a teaspoon oil. Add onions and saute until it turns translucent. Mix in brown sugar and salt; and leave on slow flame to caramelize. It should approx. take 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile remove the stalks of mushroom, brush them clean and thinly slice them.
Remove caramelized onions in a bowl and keep aside.
In a wok add the remaining oil and mushroom. Cook the mushrooms on medium heat stirring them continuously until they are cooked, without adding any water as mushroom leave water and cook on its own.
Add the sauces and caramelized onions after the mushroom water has completely evaporated. Saute for another couple minutes and turn off the heat when the mixture come together. Let it cool.
Defrost phyllo sheets and cut each sheet into half. Also at this point, pre-heat oven to 190 Degrees C.
Layer three phyllo sheets and further make three equal vertical cuts. Either spray the sheets with a cooking spray or lightly brush some olive oil all over.
Place about a tablespoon of mushroom and onion mixture towards one end and continue to roll.
Repeat with other sheets and place them in a baking pan lined with parchment paper.
Bake for 14-15 minutes, until they turn crisp and golden brown.
Serve with your favorite dip.