Friday, March 25, 2011

Evil evil of them all !!!

No women can deny the fact that they love their chocolates as much as their men love to drool over super hot shot gorgeous looking women...if not more.We all give in to our temptations sometimes but chocolate is something we give in to most of the times.I know of some women who religiously eat their dark chocolates everyday as their secret formulae to keep their skin glowing and swear by its feel good effects too!! I'm pretty sure theses claims are true but i always eat my chocolates for only one good reason.... that they are sinfully delicious.But more often than not...i like using chocolate in some form in my desserts instead of eating bits out of the bars.
Now there is no dearth of ways we can use chocolates to create desserts it a rich chocolate truffle cake or gooey and warm chocolate brownies(that both me and my sister loved to eat with a chilled scoop of icecream during our mid night hunger pangs) or a more complicated melting chocolate centre cake.Whatever it is,chocolate has always given me numerous ways to express,feel and enjoy and i can vouch i'll never be tired of trying more ways to do that.
Here is a very quick recipe for a  dark chocolate souffle that i made last evening after i had this sudden urge to eat it(though i can always cover up by saying my kids wanted it!!) and all it took me was ten minutes of preparation and fifteen minutes for it to come out of the oven.....and in less than two minutes it was on its way to our tummies.Now a souffle is suppose to be light,airy and puffed up and is meant to be eaten immediately after it comes out of the oven or else it goes flat after a few mts and then is a big dissapointment.
here is the recipe:

Super Easy Double Chocolate Souffle


a stick of butter(about 125 gms) / half a stick of butter(75gms)+a tblspn oil
2 tblspoon all purpose flour
a cup of shredded dark chocolate
3/4 cup of milk
a tspn of vanilla extract
2 eggs(at room temperature)
a tblspn of rich cocoa powder
a tablespoon and half of castor sugar


  • The first step is to make the base creme sauce.In a pan melt the butter(or butter and oil).Once melted add the flour and mix well.Cook it for a minute at low heat stirring continuously.Now add the milk slowly,stirring the mix so that no lumps are formed.Once all the milk is consumed and starts to bubble away,add the sugar , switch off the heat and let it cool.
  • Meanwhile breaks the eggs and seperate the yolks  from the whites.Add the yolks to the creme mixture and stir well.Now add the chocolate shards,vanila extract and cocoa to it and mix well again.
  • Whip up the egg whites in a seperate dry bowl to soft peakes.Scoop some of the whipped white into the creme and chocolate mix now and stir to incorporate.
  • Now transfer the dark chocolate mix into the bowl of remaining egg whites.Carefully fold them all together taking care not to remove any air out of the mix.

  • Grease the ramekins or small bowls with butter and dust with sugar.Discard the excess.Now pour the chocolate mix into theses  ramkins or bowls almost  upto the rim and transfer them to a preheated oven.Cook them at 220°C/400°F for appx 12 mts or until a toothpick comes out clean.

  • Dusted with icing sugar,the souflle should be served with alarming quickness.It is quite a task to bring it on the table and click without the souffle settling down by a few centimeters.By the time i had the shot ready it had already begun to fall flat but is still in good shape.They dont say"souffle never waits for anyone" for nothing!!

Health tip:

Well its wonderful taste aside, chocolate contains phenylethylamine - the same chemical that is released in your brain when you fall in love; leading to that increase in the pounding of your heart, feeling of a sudden gush of excitement. "Love Chemical" is what some would call it. It is also believed by researchers that phenylethylamine in turn causes the brain to release mesolimbic dopamine in the pleasure centers of the brain, another chemical where its presence is at peak during an orgasm.
Nevertheless, the sweetness from chocolate also triggers the release of endorphins. Think about those blissful feeling you had after a wonderful session of lovemaking. That is the effect from the production of endorphins in your body. Perhaps that is why some women actually remarked that they felt a feeling of elation when eating chocolate.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Pretty pumpkin!!

Brutally woken up by the doorbell ringing right into my ears when i was having one of my rare afternoon siestas a few days back, i came to open my door all grumpy. But my frown soon gave way to a broad grin as soon as i found what was on the other side of the door.I was greeted by the sight of a shiny golden,beautifully ripe and just out of the farm pumpkin from my neighbour.Thanking profusely for the generous and friendly gesture i came back and thanked my stars for giving me such considerate neighbours who actually thought i would be the deserving one.I really do rather love being gifted a big pumpkin over a fancy bouquet of flowers or even scented candles for that matter(no puns here).But it was far too big for my entire family's i cut it into half ,kept one half for me and rang the bell next door, spreading  around the same bonhomie  that i had just received (i totally do intend the pun here..;-)  ) .

we all in my family love our pumpkins and often use it in sambhar(a spicy curry from south india) and all sorts of curries and sabzees(veggie side dishes).I've even used it in desserts and cookies...but what i love is a spicy carribean inspired hearty soup that uses white lentils(urad daal) too.It is my own replacement for chicken soup for the soul when i'm unwell for it just lifts up my spirit and opens up all the senses including my tastebuds and to top it all,it is very nutritious. It is very filling and satisfying too.Here is the recipe:

p.s.  it also uses some raw mangoes,that are in the season here right now...yay!!!

Pumpkin Medley
(sweet,tangy and spicy pumpkin soup with lentils)


  • 400 gms of yellow pumpkin,cleaned ,peeled and diced
  • two medium sized red onions,julienned
  • chopped celery-half a cup
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • half a raw mango, peeled and finely diced or pureed(as a substitute you can use juice of a lime or some tamarind pulp or even fresh and tangy green tomatoes;although each will slightly change the overall flavour of the soup)
  • cayenne pepper/smoked paprika or red chilli flakes - 1¼ tspn or more if you like
  • white lentils(urad daal without the husk)-2 tblspn
  • grated jaggery(or honey or sugar)-2 tspn
  • turmeric powder-1tspn
  • cumin powder-1 tspn
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fenugreek seeds -1 tspn
  • olive oil
  • vegetable stock


  • Soak the white lentils in some water and proceed to heat a broad pan,pour over about two tablespoons of olive oil and when its hot enough,add fenugreek seeds.stir for 10 seconds.
  • Add garlin cloves,onions and the celery to the pan.Reduce the heat and let the aromatics sweat over for 5 mts.
  • Increase the heat and add the pumpkin dices now,stirring in between till the some of the dices get a light brown color on them.Lower the heat now and add the turmeric powder,paprika,cumin and the jaggery and stir for two minutes.
  • Add three cups of vegetable stock now and let it simmer for 5 mts.
  • Strain the white lentils now and add them to the pot.Cover and Simmer for another ten mts.The lentils should be cooked through yet firm by now. If not ,then give it another 3 to 4 mts.
  • Now add salt,the raw mango and pepper according to how sour and salty or spicy you like it.
  • While stirring the soup,mash some of the pumpkins using the back side of the spatula so the soup gets all mushy and a little thick.

Serve the soup very hot(this will serve around four people) with a little dollop of chilled yoghurt and some chopped parsley accompanied by toasted bread of your choice.sumptuous.

Health tip:

I will not get into the details this time,but will just tell you that this vegetable is a must have if you want to keep fit and healthy,have great immunity,great skin and a good oral health.Pumpkin not only has many antioxidants(like alpha and beta carotene) that help to slow the ageing process,it has vital nutrients like potassium and zinc that keeps hypertension and depressions at bay(now i know why i need it the most when i am all bedridden!!) and prevent osteoporosis,so have plenty of them.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Street Foods From Around!!

Super fresh,quick and devilishly lip smacking is why street food remains on the top of my choices when I'm starving and want a really quick bite;fact remaining that the hygiene conditions on theses sidewalks are not necessarily something to rave about but yes,there are exceptions. I was just thinking about the scrumptious samosas(now an international fav),pakoras(fritters),jalebis(a spiral shaped sweet with dripping goodness..ha ha)and not to forget the whole range of chaats that makes me drool every time i mention them,when i realised that every country and every street on this world(yes and that includes so called french by lanes famous for dishing out the most sophisticated cuisine of the world)has their own favorite street foods and so i just thought i would do a small series on street foods from around the world and see if we would  love to make them in our humble kitchens(obviously altering a few to suit our taste buds) as much as we love to devour them on streets and also keeping in mind that we have a cholesterol to take care of!!

Here is the first one from the series and from one of my favourite destination for food : Malaysia.

Banana fritters are a common thing on the streets of Malaysia and have become so popular that many Thai restaurants feature them on their desserts menu serving them with a scoop of vanilla icecream. I'm also posting the link where you can get the original recipe and it also has some great pictures.The one that I'm giving you here is its healthier cousin(and definitely not the most authentic) because i'm using whole wheat flour and baking instead of deep frying it.It tastes quite similar in terms of texture and flavours but not as good as the one on the streets coz they are the best anyways.

This is the link to original thai banana fritters recipe.I took sometime to find this one but i'm happy i did because it is totally authentic and well described.Do take a look.

Crispy Banana Parcels :


Half a cup of whole wheat flour
a tablespoon of rice flour
a good tablespoon and half of sesame seeds
a generous pinch of cayenne pepper/red chili powder
1/3rd tsp of salt
2 tablespoons of caster sugar
2 tablespoon of vegetable oil (one for adding to the dough and other for baking)
3 bananas
dessicated coconut


  • Mix both kinds of flour,salt,sugar,cayenne pepper and sesame seeds in a large bowl.Add one tablespoon oil and mix it well,crumbing it with your fingers.Now add water slowly to make a dough(the dough should be firm and not too soft).
  • Divide the dough into six parts.Dust a flat surface with flour and roll one of the balls into a six inch  by four inch(appx. size,depending on the size of bananas you have)long strip.
  • Cut the strip into half. Prepare other strips using this method till u have twelve such strips.
  • Slit the banana lenghtwise and then into half so that one banana is now divided into four parts each.
  • Coat the banana slices with dessicated coconut first and then place it onto one end of the strip,secure from the sides and fold over.Wet the other end with a finger dipped in water and seal the banana parcel.

  • When all the parcels are ready,place them on greased dish,brush them well with oil and bake them for 20 mts at 200Âșc.Alternatively the parcels can also be cooked on a griddle or a pan with a little oil on medium high heat from both sides.I did a few on the griddle as well so i'm putting both the pics.

It is usually served warm with a scoop of icecream,but incase you like it savoury,it can be served with yoghurt whipped up with some dried mint leaves and some chaat masala(a condiment made from cumin powder,rock salt and other spices) sprinkled over.For super busy..short on time people;this can also be made using ready made pastry shells;just remember to add some seasonings to the dessicated coconut before coating bananas with it.

Health tip:

Bananas contrary to what people generally believe is one of the healthiest fruit we have.Available all round the year ,it makes a perfect morning or after workout snack.It is a very good source of dietary fibre,Vit c,potassium,manganeses and vit B6.Being high on natural sugars(sucrose,fructose and glucose)it should ideally be consumed after exercise as it also promotes muscle formation.Care should be taken to not eat it with any of the major meals;fruits should be enjoyed on an empty stomach for maximum benefit.