[Updated 19 February 2021]
When you're craving something indulgent, there's nothing better than some cheesy comfort foods to hit the spot. ? Cheese isn't commonly found in local Southeast Asian recipes, but its gooey texture and variety of flavours have made it an easy ingredient to add to your favourite dishes for an extra kick.
Whether you're sprinkling some parmesan onto a slice of pizza, or doing the perfect pull-apart of a grilled cheese sandwich, there's just something about cheese that makes it irresistible! Keep reading for 12 amazing cheesy dishes you can try out yourself to give you and your family a special treat ?
1. Grilled cheese sandwiches
Grilled cheese sandwiches are one of the fastest and most convenient comfort food recipes you can whip up as you really only need 2 ingredients for the base: bread, and cheese (preferably cheddar or mozzarella). Plus since it's a sandwich you can customize it to your tastes! There are dozens of grilled cheese recipes online such as this one from Cookie and Kate
that includes a crunchy, crispy cheese crust, or Bon Appetit's
version that takes this humble snack to the next level by adding pickled jalapeño peppers and mustard. Check out Bon Appetit's
article on cheese that are perfect for melting if you want to get that perfect cheese pull!
2. Mac and cheese
A classic bowl of mac and cheese? Yes please! ? You can find instant boxes of these from brands such as Kraft or Maggi, but you can easily make your own too. Seth Lui's
easy version includes recipes you can easily find at local supermarkets, and its larger serving size is perfect for sharing. For something fancier, Mom On Timeout's
baked mac and cheese uses panko crumbs to create a crispy crust that pairs perfectly with the gooey cheese mixture.
P.S. Singaporeans, check out the mac and cheese from Mama's Boy Bakes
if you don't feel like cooking! They're offering islandwide delivery during the circuit breaker period and they even have flavours such as Korean and truffle.
3. Cheesy Korean ramen
We all love Korean noodles
- so it's time to take your Shin Ramyun or Ssamyang to the next level by adding some cheese into the mix. ? Ssamyang already has 2 flavours that include cheese (Cheese Hot Chicken, and Carbo Hot Chicken) but you can take any bowl of noodles to the next level by adding a slice of cheese once it's done cooking. Let it sit for a while to melt into the soup - and voila! Le Creuset
also has a recipe that turns instant noodles into a one-pot meal fit for a feast.
4. Pasta bakes
One-tray pasta bakes are some of the easiest dishes to whip up. Plus you can cut down on dishwashing time afterwards (as you're serving it straight from the dish) and you can even use them to prep meals in advance for the week ahead. They're also kid-friendly too! Crazy for Crust
uses penne pasta which is great for holding the sauce and cheese inside it, so you can get a mouthful of delicious goodness in every bite. ? Kitchen Sanctuary's
version even takes just an hour to prep and cook - perfect for a quick and convenient dinner!
5. Cheesy fries/wedges
If you're looking for a quick and healthy snack, potato wedges or fries are the way to go. ? Of course you can always try recreating KFC's classic version of it (New Malaysian Kitchen has a recipe for that here
!) but you can also customize it the way you want. Add in bacon bits, sour cream, or even sweet chilli sauce - just don't forget the cheese! Cheddar cheese is perfect for this dish as its strong, sharp taste adds a kick to the potato. Six Sisters' Stuff's
wedges recipe even uses a microwave so it's ready in just 10 minutes!
P.S. For a healthier option, bake or microwave your potatoes rather than deep-frying them. If you have an air-fryer, that's also perfect for achieving that crunchy, golden-brown outside without too much excess oil. Find more microwave recipes to try out here
to save on your cooking time!
6. Cheesy garlic knots/bread
Yummy bread, gooey cheese, and an aromatic herb blend of butter and garlic? Count us in! Garlic knots or garlic bread are a popular side dish at pizza or pasta restaurants, but you can easily make them at home too. Tasty's
recipe is simple enough for those who don't cook regularly - all you need is pre-prepared pizza dough, butter, olive oil, and a combination of cheese and spices to your liking! I recommend using an Italian seasoning spice blend (popular brands such as McCormick usually have their own take on this) as you can recreate that Italian restaurant taste without any fuss. If you're up for a challenge, Kitchn's
version goes through how to make your own bread rolls from scratch!
7. Kaasstengels (Kueh Keju)
These Dutch-Indonesian cheese tarts are definitely a staple on our table during festive seasons. ? Literally meaning 'cheese-stick', you can find them in all sorts of shapes now - but what remains consistent is how the yummy cheese balances out the crumbly tart base! What to Cook Today
has a good recipe for beginners who want to try making their own, and it only takes about 40 minutes from start to end! Resipi Citarasawan
even has a recipe for cheese-topped kueh bangkit to give the traditional snack a cheesy twist.
8. Pisang keju (Pisang goreng with cheese)
You may not be able to visit a bazaar anytime soon but you can still make this classic treat on your own. ? Pisang goreng (fried banana fritters) have been around for ages, but in recent years there's been a trend of adding cheese and other condiments on top to make it even tastier! Fairprice
both have simple recipes to get you started - you can even add in your own toppings such as chocolate sprinkles or condensed milk. No bazaar? No worries ?
9. Cheesecake (Classic New York version)
We're ending this article with one of the most well-known cheese-based desserts - the cheesecake! There are actually dozens of types of cheesecakes, each with their own unique taste and qualities.
The classic New York version is one that's become famous worldwide for its super dense and creamy texture. ? Once Upon a Chef's
recipe is pretty beginner-friendly and you can top your slice with berries or jam (although purists prefer no toppings at all) for some extra sweetness!
If you want extra convenience, just order your cheesecake directly from one of these 20 halal bakeries and home bakers in Singapore
10. Cheesecake (Fluffy Japanese version)
A complete opposite to the dense, rich New York version is the fluffy and light Japanese-style cheesecake. Famous for its 'jiggly' texture, some describe biting into a slice of it like biting into a cloud, or a dream-like combination of cheesecake and soufflé. ? Perfect sweet treat after a heavy meal.
Just One Cookbook
has a recipe you can try out which requires using a water bath to bake the cake. Using a water bath is what helps keep the cake light yet moist, but don't worry if the top of the cake cracks during your first attempt as it can be difficult to pinpoint to perfection. It'll still taste great!
11. Cheesecake (No-bake version)
If you're not confident in your baking or oven-handling skills don't worry because there are n0-bake versions of cheesecake available too! Usually containing no eggs, no-bake cheesecakes are formed by chilling them in the fridge and usually have a smoother texture.
Many recipes use condensed milk or gelatin to help thicken or stabilize the mixture (look out for halal gelatin in supermarkets or baking goods speciality stores) but Sugar Spun Run's
recipe is gelatin-free and doesn't contain condensed milk either! ?
12. Cheesecake (Basque version)
Lastly, here's a cheesecake that's becoming a new food trend recently. Unlike other cheesecakes that strive to have that perfectly white un-cracked top, the Basque cheesecake is famous for its burnt, cracked, and caramelised top that gives it an amazing flavour!
Though it may seem complicated, it's actually much easier to make than traditional cheesecake and the bright side to this recipe is that there's really no way you can mess it up! ? Extra cracks? That's just part of the charm! Buttermilk Pantry's
recipe is pretty easy and straightforward, and they even provide tips that will be helpful if you're a novice baker.
P.S. Some bakeries and home bakers (such as Love4Bakes in Singapore) have hopped onto the Basque cheesecake trend too! Keep an eye out for some of them, and if you can, order to help them keep their business afloat during this #StayHome period. ?
Whether you're tucking into a bowl of crispy baked mac and cheese, or indulging in a sweet slice of cheesecake after a tiring day, these recipes are sure to hit the spot. ?