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Recipe: Zelda's Mushroom-Stuffed Ravioli

January 24, 2024 13:04 IST
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Photographs: Zelda Pande

Increasingly, when you are abroad, what you want most to bring back home in your luggage to India is not a pair of funky new shoes or stylish jeans or some silly tchotchke for your home, but items of food.

Grocery stores abroad, especially Europe, abound with all kinds of gourmet goodies -- be it plump, soft asparagus, marzipan, truffles or intriguing Wensleydale cranberry cheese or something yet more exotic -- and there is a huge desire to take it back to share with loved ones or cook with later.

The food in my luggage has steadily been growing, with each trip, and my suitcase now resembles more and more a travelling foodie bhandar and brims with some unusual type of pasta, different varieties of cheese ie not the usual cheddar etc, fresh cherries, avocadoes, cookies, exotic chocolates, an unusual wine, cat treats, dog goodies, Irish fudge, truffles, French madeleines (for a certain colleague who hoards them for his chai), vanilla extract, brandy butter et al.

It's the same phenomenon leaving India too, when I visit my daughter in Ireland or sister, nieces and cousin and his wife in the US -- suitcases overflow with organic haldi, banana chips, murkku, home chuda, dosa batter, paneer, flat puris for sev puri, frozen sabudana wadas, sev, laddus, homemade sambar powder and garam masala, theplas, frozen veg burgers, my mango pickle, channa jor garam, stuffed parathas, makana, amba mohur rice, millets, nutmeg.

Don't ask too hard how I pack it, but it all usually survives very well without any explosions or the food going off -- umpteen precious channa jor garam packets for my cousin travel always in splendid solitude in my hand luggage so they won't get crushed. And the custom guys have either been very kind or not bothered me (New York airports have Gujarati custom inspectors, who will check all the passengers on a flight that has originated from India, and not bat an eyelid seeing Indian sugar or Amul butter in your bags and ask intricate knowledgeable questions like does your aam achaar have the seed in it too?).

In fact, the family has become quite famous for what travels back and forth that is wholly edible. My mom would bring specials pears for her son-in-law and avocado plants for her garden. She always carried dahi joran in her purse, much to the annoyance of edgy customs dogs at US airports who would go into a frenzy the moment she touched a toe on US soil.

One time she carried a small sillora (grinding stone) in her purse too because she didn't want to add to the weight of her suitcase. And back in the day when not much was available here for making Italian food or Western faves, she would lug large bottles of balsamic vinegar, salad dressing, tins of sauerkraut and a mind-blowing range of candy and chocolate for her granddaughters.

Once during COVID-19 days, I brought a whole fresh meal of stuff from Dublin for my younger daughter -- ready pasta, veg sushi (yes, we veggies crave veg sushi) and a dessert of Marks and Spencer raspberry and cream trifle. I was quarantined in a hotel in Mumbai and she was in Alibag. She empty-stomached, ravenously hungry, crossed the water, jhatpat, to have the meal and returned thereafter happily satiated, a day well spent, without seeing me, although she sweetly left me a packet of my favourite Haldiram's Khatta Meetha chuda.


Making the ravioli

I often bring packs of frozen ravioli and tortellinis from abroad, that I have with my daughter too as a sumptuous day-after-my-return celebratory meal.

Ravioli made from scratch at home tastes simply divine. But the ability to buy really tasty stuffed pastas, right off the supermarket shelf abroad, makes bringing some back with you highly tempting. You do get some of these on order in India, however they are expensive and not entirely the bowl-you-over type. Plus each ravioli bought and sampled is a lesson in learning how to do it yourself back in India.

Last time I brought some Lidl grocery store mushroom ravioli and eventually recreated it at home and it was totally delicious. Do try my version of it. Ravioli takes a little time to make but does not require much skill and the results are always memorable.

Making the ravioli

Lidlish Mushroom Ravioli

Serves: 2-3

For the ravioli covering

  • 1½ cups maida or all-purpose flour + a little extra while rolling the ravioli
  • ½ cup or less water
  • Pinch salt

For the stuffing

  • 1 packet or 180 gm mushrooms, use both stems and head, chopped very fine
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp crushed garlic
  • Several dashes Tabasco
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • Few drops truffle oil, optional (please see the note below)
  • 1 tsp freshly crushed black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3-4 tbsp chopped greens of spring onions
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh basil
  • 3-4 tbsp cream cheese
  • 4-5 tbsp ricotta, preferably, or else grated paneer
  • 5-6 tbsp grated cheese, preferably Parmesan cheese
  • Dash oil to add to the water while boiling the ravioli

Making the ravioli


  • In a large frying pan, warm 1½ tbsp of the butter and add the garlic over medium heat.
    Fry for a few minutes and add the mushrooms and fry for about 10 minutes, till all the water it sheds dries up.
    Season with the salt, pepper, Tabasco, nutmeg, truffle oil.
    Add the parsley and the basil and fry for 3-4 minutes more.
    Take off heat and add most of the chopped greens of the spring onion; reserve a little for garnish.
    Then mix in the ricotta and the cream cheese.
    Keep aside.
  • Knead the maida, water and the salt into a stiff dough – gradually add the water, as little as possible, because the dough should be dry and hard not soft.
    Keep aside covered for 15 minutes.
  • Roll out 1/3 of the dough as thin as you can get it, on a ledge or flat surface, powdered with a little extra maida (keep the rest 2/3 dough for the next two rounds of rolling out).
    Cut into thin long strips (please see pics above).
    Place about 1 tsp or less of the mushroom-cream cheese-rictotta stuffing on the start of the strip and then the next tsp about an inch apart and continue adding as you go down the strip.
    Place another strip of rolled-out dough on top and seal the side edges and cut into 1''x 1'' ravioli pockets and seal the top edges tightly, preferably with indentions of a fork.
    Repeat for all.
    Roll out the next two lots of dough and create the next two batches of ravioli pockets -- you will get about 30-25 ravioli pockets in all.
  • In a large saucepan, boil water over high heat and add the dash of oil.
    Add in about 8-10 ravioli pockets at a time.
    They will sink to the bottom.
    After they boil and rise to the top and bob on top for a few minutes drain with a slotted spoon or jharia into a covered bowl.
    Repeat for the balance pockets and add the remaining 1½ tbsp butter and chopped spring onion greens to the cooked ravioli and lightly toss.
    Plate, about 8-10 ravioli pockets per person (they are filling) and serve hot, garnished with cheese.
  • If you have mushroom stuffing left you can garnish the ravioli with that or better store for future use (maybe for making cheese toast). 

Zelda's Note: Truffle oil adds quite a bit flavour, but is really hard to locate in India and is very expensive. If you have someone coming from abroad, ask them to bring you a tiny authentic bottle of the stuff and store in your fridge. It’s a good addition to cheese toast and other pasta dishes or risotto recipes.

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