World Chocolate Day 2017: These three amazing recipes will make you drool

There is nothing like chocolate to uplift your mood on a bad day. It works like magic and can turn your mood around in no time. As people around the globe celebrate World Chocolate Day, it gives us more reasons to indulge in some wholesome goodness.

Be it chocolate bars, ice-creams, cakes or even drinks, there’s hardly anything that can go wrong with this cocoa bliss. It is the ultimate comfort food and there are plenty of reasons why you should consume it. Recent researches have shown that eating dark chocolate may protect your brain from age-related stress and inflammation that are thought to play an important role in the neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.

So here are three mouth-watering recipes by Chef Akram Ali, Executive Pastry Chef, JW Marriott Kolkata for you to try.

Royal Cake

For the Mousse
240 ml – Water
640g – Sugar
640g – Egg yolk
1680g – Dark chocolate
2400g – Whipped cream

For the Praline Crunchy
1500g – Praline Hazelnut
375g – Dark chocolate
150g – Milk chocolate
600g – Paillete Feuilletine (Fragments of thin pancakes for praline)
One layer of Dacqouise Biscuits

For the Mousse:

* Melt the chocolate in a double boiler.

* Meanwhile, prepare the casserole with water and sugar in it and boil it to 120°C.

* In the mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks at maximum speed till soft peaks are formed.

* Carefully fold in the hot sugar mixture into the whisked eggs. Allow it to cool down for a while then mix vigorously with the melted chocolate mixture.

* Gently fold in the whipped cream.

For the Praline Crunchy:

* Put one layer of dacquoise biscuit within a mould on a tray.

* Mix the melted chocolate with the praline hazelnut.

* Add the paillette feuilletine, mix properly then pour it into the tray and spread it evenly.

* Add the dark chocolate mousse on top.

* Refrigerate for minimum one night before you unmold and cut it. The cake is ready to serve.

A fishy fable: If it’s monsoon, it must rain hilsas

Mood food is what we Indians thrive on. Like the lovers in Kalidas’ Ritusamhara (Garland of Seasons), our love affair with food and the emotions it evokes changes hues with the seasons. Inexplicable gastronomic longings tug at our heartstrings as the skies darken. It’s the epic season of the Meghdootam and the clouds come bearing tidings of hot masala chai and sizzling pakodas.

As the first drops of rain promise to turn into a downpour, I throw a casual question at my young friend Ipshita, a trendy woman of the times: “What do you feel like eating?” “Some sort of a roast with herbed potatoes and wine, with Julio Iglesias playing softly in the background,” she says, and then adds in honest admission: “Or, onion fritters with khichdi and fried ilish (hilsa), with some earthy folk music on the side”. Iglesias, take a back seat, the hilsa is programmed into a Bengali’s DNA.

HilsaIt’s the time of the ilshey guri, the light drizzle heralding the monsoon when the celebrated hilsa, heavy with roe, starts travelling upstream from the sea. Ipshita’s earthy song could well be — Halka haoway megher chhayay/ Ilshey gurir naachh/ Ilshey gurir nachon dekhey/ Nachchey ilish maachh (To the rhythm of a light breeze and the shadow of clouds/ The raindrops prance/ Seeing this delightful sight/ The hilsa fish dance). I have heard many lyrical descriptions of how, when the first drizzles hit the shimmering dark waters, the silvery hilsa spring out and dance delightfully and that’s when the fishermen net them.

As a newcomer in a Kolkata school, I had an epiphany. As I sat alone in a corner of the classroom during lunch break, I watched in fascination a Sindhi classmate unpacking the hot lunch that had just arrived from home. Tucking her serviette firmly in place, she proceeded to attack a large piece of fried hilsa with a fork and spoon. My first thought was how could a “non-Bengali” eat hilsa and that too with a fork? I waited, in morbid anticipation, for her to choke on the first bone. She calmly proceeded to navigate through it expertly, without offering me a single morsel.

Drinking coffee may lead to longer life: study

Your daily cup of joy may help you live longer, say scientists who have found that drinking coffee may lower the risk of death due to heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. People who consumed a cup of coffee a day were 12 per cent less likely to die compared to those who did not drink coffee.

This association was even stronger for those who drank two to three cups a day — 18 per cent reduced chance of death. Lower mortality was present regardless of whether people drank regular or decaffeinated coffee, suggesting the association is not tied to caffeine, said Veronica W Setiawan, associate professor at University of Southern California (USC) in the US.

The study, published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, used data from the Multiethnic Cohort Study, a collaborative effort between the University of Hawaii Cancer Center and USC’s Keck School of Medicine. The ongoing Multiethnic Cohort Study has more than 215,000 participants and bills itself as the most ethnically diverse study examining lifestyle risk factors that may lead to cancer. “Until now, few data have been available on the association between coffee consumption and mortality in nonwhites in the US and elsewhere,” researchers said. “Such investigations are important because lifestyle patterns and disease risks can vary substantially across racial and ethnic backgrounds, and findings in one group may not necessarily apply to others,” they said.

Since the association was seen in four different ethnicities, Setiawan said it is safe to say the results apply to other groups. “This study is the largest of its kind and includes minorities who have very different lifestyles,” Setiawan said. “Seeing a similar pattern across different populations gives stronger biological backing to the argument that coffee is good for you whether you are white, African-American,
Latino or Asian,” he said.

Previous research by USC and others have indicated that drinking coffee is associated with reduced risk of several types of cancer, diabetes, liver disease, Parkinson’s disease, Type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases. Setiawan said any positive effects from drinking coffee are far-reaching because of the number of people who enjoy or rely on the beverage every day.

“Coffee contains a lot of antioxidants and phenolic compounds that play an important role in cancer prevention,” Setiawan said. “Although this study does not show causation or point to what chemicals in coffee may have this ‘elixir effect,’ it is clear that coffee can be incorporated into a healthy diet and lifestyle,” he said.

Third edition of momo fest in Delhi-NCR extended by a day

Momo lovers have a treat coming up with Momo Festival, a three-day gala where several variants of the snack will be available under one roof.

Earlier, it used to be a two-day affair, but for the third edition, it has been extended by a day.

The variety of momos will be a balance of steam, fried, tandoori, gravy, vegetarian and non-vegetarian options, boasting a large number of variants including chocolate momos, vodka momos, changezi chicken momos, Darjeeling momos, vegetarian spicy lemon momos, pan (sweet pan) momos, shrimp momos, achaari momos and more.

GoBuzzinga is bringing together 25 momo vendors of Delhi-National Capital Region, offering more than 100 variants at the fest, which will take place from Friday till Sunday at DLF Mall of India, read a statement.

“It is amazing how much the vendors of Delhi have experimented with what used to be basic vegetable and chicken filled steamed dumplings. There are more than 400 different varieties of momos available in the streets of Delhi and NCR. And, we’ve brought together the most awesome ones at one venue,” said Shantanu Verma, CEO and founder at GoBuzzinga, the organising company of the event.

“This festival is a tribute to the rich tradition of street food of Delhi, and there are many more such hidden gems in the Capital that we hope to explore with our festivals. We are soon expanding in other cities too, and we are going to take these festivals with us as well,” Verma added.

Delicious variety of monsoon snack recipes

Dont just stick to tea and pakoras when the rain clouds gather. Add variety to your monsoon snack list, say experts.

Noah Barnes, Executive Chef at The Hungry Monkey, Naresh Guglani, Corporate Chef at Del Monte, and Neeraj Balasubramanian, Executive Chef at The Park, Visakhapatnam, suggest some snacking ideas.

* Tomato and cheese bruschetta: Place sliced bread on a baking tray, drizzle extra virgin olive oil, chopped garlic and any dried spiceavailable in the kitchen cabinet, bake till golden brown. Top with chopped tomatoes, cheese and chopped basil.

* Pizza pockets: Place pizza dough (cut in 3-inch diameter circles) on a baking tray, drizzle olive oil and chopped garlic, top with chopped tomatoes and pizza sauce, add generous amounts of big cubes of mozzarella and cream cheese. Fold to form a semi-circle (half moon) to seal the edges. Bake at 180 degree Celsius for six to seven minutes. Serve hot with cheese oozing out.

* Banana prune and chocolate toasties: Slice a few bananas, get some Del Monte Prunes, break a fruit and nut chocolate bar into small pieces and mix them. Apply butter on both sides of sliced bread or sliced brioche, fill the banana, prunes and chocolate mixture and make toasties in sandwich griller.

* Stuffed mushrooms: Mix breadcrumbs, chopped mushroom stems and grated Parmesan cheese with a table spoon of a pizza pasta sauce; stuff into mushroom caps, drizzle olive oil and bake at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes.

* Asian lettuce wraps: To make the filling, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, ginger, lemongrass and garlic, and cook for seven to 10 minutes, or until onions are soft and beginning to brown. Add tofu and water chestnuts, breaking tofu into small crumbles; cook for four minutes, or until heated through.

Stir in soy, hoisin and Sriracha sauce. Transfer to serving bowl. Place lettuce leaves on platter, and set out garnishes in small serving bowls. Let guests wrap tofu mixture in lettuce leaves, and top with their choice of garnish.

* Chicken pineapple and olive spears: In a saucepan over medium heat, add the ketchup, soy sauce, honey, mustard, sugar, garlic and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer and cook gently until thickened for about 10 minutes. Set aside and cool.

Heat an outdoor grill or a grill pan. Cut each chicken thigh into two pieces. Peel the pineapple and cut it into one or one-and-half-inch chunks. Alternating between the chicken, olives and pineapple, thread the pieces onto the skewers. Brush them with olive oil and season them with salt and pepper.

Remove the garlic cloves from the barbecue sauce and discard; put about half the sauce into a small bowl for later. Brush skewers with some of the sauce. Cook them on the grill, basting regularly with the barbecue sauce, until cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes. Serve with reserved barbecue sauce on the side for dipping.

The food at Trend is a marriage of local flavours and Asian and French techniques

At the less-than-a-month-old restaurant, Trend, at Ansal Plaza in Delhi, one may not recognise the dish but the smell and the taste sure seem familiar. The restaurant experiments inventively with traditional Indian recipes by taking a modernist culinary approach. The food is not a “Frenchification” of Indian cuisine but a marriage of local flavours and Asian and French techniques of preparation and presentation.

A simple version of the classic cheese souffle gussied-up with a small portion of charred asparagus was the first to make a dash to our table from the kitchen, which is helmed by chef Jiten Singh, who has previously whipped up delicacies at Olive Bistro and Amour cafe. It was made with parmesan, emmental and goat cheese in crisp potato cups. The asparagus made the rich souffle lighter on the palate — that demands to be accompanied by a drink. The tangy kokum sherbet we ordered only added to the winning start. If you favour yourself a hooch, you’d be better off approaching the restaurant in 10 days time.

Trend takes the customers’ time seriously. Dishes, at the right temperature, rallied out of the kitchen just as the one on the table met its end. An aesthetically plated rechad sole on a bed of corn kuchumbar was presented. The traditional Goan dish requires a fish to be stuffed with recheado masala but our strips were, instead, coated in it. The sweetness of the corn tossed with fresh tomatoes, cucumber and onions perfectly balanced out the intensity of the masala. Another dish, bedaubed with masala, was the seafood bowl “65”, a take on the popular chicken 65 from Chennai. The bird was replaced with aquatic creatures — squid, crab and prawns — that were not only cooked to perfection but also stood up well to the spice.

Trend Restuarant Ansal Plaza, traditional Indian recipes, Trend Restaurant Food Review, Restuarants in Delhi, Ansal Plaza restuarants, Indian Food, Indian Express NewsThe prawn crackers, upon which they were perched, enhanced the texture of the dish but were scrummy even when enjoyed by themselves, especially as some soaked the masala of the dish. The mains, too, spoil its patrons for choice — from risotto to Quail Dum Biryani; Sri Lankan Pork Curry to Scottish Tawa Salmon among a selection of pasta and “paper-thin” pizzas. We settled for the Mysore Mutton Masala Tiffin, which comprised Udipi Masala Roast Mutton, Malabar Porota, mutton achar and rings of raw onion. There is neither a flavour nor a texture that is misplaced here. The dish ensures a yearning for yet another bite of the mutton long after the last bite.

It was almost as if the dessert knew what it had to match up to. The Holy Coconut was the most gorgeous psychedelic mess — a couverture chocolate shell filled with a delicate coconut mousse and dotted with charnamrut coulis, sat amid white and milk chocolate soil, rose-raspberry coulis, dark chocolate cremeaux and pistachionut strugel. Dare to take all in one bite and there will be nothing short of a mad explosion of flavours in the mouth. Needless to say, we were blown away.

Flavour Odyssey

The lunch parties which filled the upper floor of Arth, the new Bandra restaurant in Mumbai, have had their fill of kebabs, biryanis and fish curries and have started making their way out. Executive chef Amninder Sandhu finally has some time to spare before she needs to start preparing for the dinner rush, which begins at 7 pm, and we sit down for a chat. Halfway through our conversation, a fragrant plate of chhole appears on the table. But, as I realise on eating the first spoonful, what look like chickpeas are in fact the tiniest potatoes anyone has ever seen. These are, Sandhu explains, pearl potatoes from Majuli in Assam.

When the chef and her team had visited the river island some months ago to research the food of the region, they had been fooled by the minuscule tubers as well. “We were trying out food made by the Mising tribe, and my team — all of them from Mumbai — got very excited at what they thought were chhole. But as soon as I took a bite, I realised these were potatoes. The funny thing is that I actually grew up in Assam and had known about these potatoes as a child, and still, had completely forgotten about them,” says Sandhu.

pearl potatoes, small pototoes majuli assam, tiny potato dish, badami aloo dum, arth restaurant, indian expressBadami Dum Aloo made with pearl potatoes being cooked on a charcoal stove… (Photo: Nirmal Harindran)

Part of Sandhu’s mission with Arth is to highlight little-known ingredients such as the pearl potatoes from Majuli by using them in unexpected ways; so rhododendron from Uttarakhand plays a starring role in a seekh kebab, while idiyappams from Kerala get a technicolor twist thanks to the use of purple yam. The larger goal, the 38-year-old chef says, is to dig through centuries-old traditions of food from across India — in terms of ingredients and techniques — and prepare the unearthed treasure for the modern palate.

Since it opened almost a month ago, the aspect of Arth that has been most discussed is the dramatic interior design by Gauri Khan. But the real draw, as it should be with any restaurant, is the food.

For Sandhu, who began her career with the Taj Group of Hotels in 2003, the restaurant is the culmination of an abiding passion for food revivalism, as well as an opportunity to break out of the image that she has built as a master purveyor of North Indian fare. “Most of my previous work was heavily focused on food from North India and it came to the point where most reviews would complain that because of my name, they could only expect a certain kind of food from me. I wanted to break out of that because what really excited me is the way Indian food changes as you travel from region to region,” she says.

This Dragon Chop Suey recipe is perfect to beat after office hunger pangs

In the words of food historian Alan Davidson, Chop Suey is “a prime example of culinary mythology”. There is a long list of conflicting stories about its origin and one account claims that it was invented in the 19th century by Chinese American cooks working on the transcontinental railroad. But anthropologist E N Anderson believes that the popular dish finds it roots in Taishan, a county in Guangdong province in China, a home to Chinese immigrants to the United States.

Whatever be its origin, we are glad that someone actually came up with this dish. It’s hearty and delicious and a perfect way to beat the after office hunger pangs. This recipe from is a good way to start your experiments in the kitchen.

20g – Carrot, sliced and blanched
30g – Baby corn, cut into diamond shape and blanched
5g – Red pepper, cut into triangles
10g – Green pepper, cut into triangles
5g – Yellow pepper, cut into triangles
30g – Bok choy, cut into diamond shape
10g – Fresh spinach, sliced
20g – Button mushroom (halves)
10g – Chinese cabbage, cut into triangles
10g – Beans, cut into diamond shape
20g – Broccoli florents (blanched)
150g – Boiled noodles
10g – Corn flour
1g – Salt
1g – Pepper
1g – Aromat seasoning
15g – Chilli paste
150g – Vegetable stock
3g – Light soya
2g – Chilli oil
5g – Chopped garlic
3g – Chopped ginger
1g – Star anise
10g – Tomato ketchup
3g – Cashew nut
3g – Rice wine vinegar
5g – Diluted corn flour
1g – Chopped spring onion
1g – Chopped red chilli
3g – Honey

* Add cornflour, salt, pepper and aromat seasoning to the noodles. Deep fry it till it’s crispy.

* Sautee garlic, and then add chopped ginger and chilli paste to it and stir. Now, add rice wine vinegar, light soya, chilli oil, tomato ketchup, honey, tossed vegetables and stock to it.

* Adjust the seasoning and then add the fried cashews.

* Add diluted cornflour to make the sauce. It should be red in colour and should taste sour and spicy.

* Garnish it with chopped spring onions.

Make your food bloom this season with edible flowers

People love flowers for their fragrance, colour and texture and just the fact that they can ease your nerves by simply looking at them. Now, you have one more reason to stare at those pretty ferns and petals and thats food.

Mrinmoy Acharya, Head Chef, Ciclo Cafe in Gurugram and Pankaj Jha, Senior Executive Sous Chef at The Suryaa in the capital share the various ways of marrying delectable food with gorgeous edible flowers so that you never run out of reasons to woo your loved ones with flowers.

*Pansy: Mild and delicate, this beautiful garden flower with velvety petals comes in purple, yellow, blue and white and is great for garnishing. Tastes like grapes and mint, this helps adding a slight taste to the dish. You can add these pretty flowers to your salad to enhance its flavour or just use it as a garnish on chocolate tortes or add to the plating while serving pastries or puddings.

*Nasturtium: One of the most popular picks in India, with its mild peppery flavour makes for an excellent pickling and culinary component. The bright yellow, orange nasturtium flowers are easy-to-grow and one of the tastiest herbs in the world. As the leaves of this flower are also edible, simply chop them and add to salad along with the flowers. You can also make desserts and appetisers more appetising by adding as a garnish.

*Marigold: Marigold of the sunflower family or calendula adds a lot to the plate because of its bright colour. Add to salad making it a refreshing summer floral dish or include it in custard to give a citrusy touch for a change.

*Crocus flower: These are easy to grow and look extremely attractive when a dish is served. Apart from using them in salads and main course. You can also mix this bud in beverages for flavouring and can also be used in making tea and wine.

*Snap Dragon: This fragrant specimen come in vibrant colours like red, yellow, pink and adds punch to your otherwise boring food. Mix it with liqueur, cranberry and lots of ice to make a delicious drink or add to pizzas and pies to give a fresh twist to the junk food.

Airlift: This Lucknow company is planning to deliver food using drones

When hunger beckons, is fast food home delivery your only hope? While you might be waiting impatiently at home for the food to arrive, the ones delivering it, on most occasions are busy dodging traffic snarls. Sometimes, doing it within the prescribed time becomes a major hurdle. Keeping this in mind, one Lucknow-based food delivery website has come up with a solution — drones!

Yes, Online Kaka, “aiming to bring the delicacies of old and modern Lucknow” to its people, “within the comfort” of their homes have come up with this innovative fix. The company understands the high-paced life and value of home delivery and aims to make it as hassle free as possible.

Talking to the, Ahad Arshad, co-founder of the company revealed their plans and ways and how it’s all going to change the delivery experience reducing time by at least one-third. “It was due to the delay in order delivery that we were forced to think of delivering food in other ways. The traffic has gone from bad to worse due to the metro construction, although it will be helpful in future, currently there are a lot of traffic issues,” Arshad said in an email interview.

drone, food deliver, drone food delivery,  food drone delivery, online kaka, lucknow drone food delivery, food news, lifestyle news, indian expressArshad along with his co-partner Mohd Bilal, procured two drones from China to start their project. However, they met with a few challenges. “We did a few trial runs on our location but it was not successful in the beginning, so we made a few modifications, like increasing the lifting capacity of the drones and much more,” he revealed. “A few days back we attached a box (with eatables) with the help of a pulley under the drone, as soon as the box will touch the ground, the box will detach from the drone, leaving it for the person ordering the food.”

The ambitious project will be operational only after it receives a nod from the government of India. They had already written a letter to the District Magistrate of Lucknow to allow them to run some trials with the drone. “The Civil Aviation Ministry is also in favour of drone delivery but it is also waiting for a nod from the GOI,” Arshad stated.

If approved, Online Kaka will be the first delivery service in North India using drones. A Mumbai-based company Francesco’s Pizzeria tried doing the same in 2014, but could not go ahead after police intervened. Dominio’s UK also had tried the aerial route way back in 2013.