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THE MOST FASCINATING F&B INNOVATIONS IN 2020

From cloud kitchens specialising in regional cuisines to wine in a can, this year saw plenty of innovation and new beginnings in food and beverages, despite the pandemic—and probably because of it.

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They say that necessity is the mother of all invention. They also say, count your blessings, not your age. As 2020 draws to a close, we realise the true meanings of each of these sayings that we have been hearing since time immemorial, but never paid any heed to. This has been a year of survival for all of us and even with so many disasters, like establishments closing down, job losses, health going downhill and so much more, the silver lining in the otherwise dark cloud remains bright with all the innovation and entrepreneurship in the F&B space! Due to the lockdown and businesses remaining shut for a long period of time, there has been some time for us to think and gain perspective on one’s own life and profession, which for some has been a blessing in disguise.

This year, one witnessed some great new beginnings by many whose entrepreneurship stories are inspirational, to say the least. Professionals, who rolled up their sleeves and got their hands dirty and toiled hard, have come up with stuff that is sheer brilliance. Home chefs, food entrepreneurs, cloud kitchens, the launch of many new brands in the alcobev space…you name it and there has been a boom.

On my list of the most remarkable new initiatives this year are the following.

•  Saby’s Deli by Sabyasachi Gorai, which opened its doors this year, delivers some of the most amazing food across Delhi/NCR. Through Fabrica by Chef Saby—his restaurant solutions’ venture —he has curated some of the most talked-about restaurant brands now running successfully across the length and breadth of the country. With a long list of such acclaimed brands established post-Olive, including Sodabottleopenerwala, Olive Bistro, The Wine Company, The Beer Café (Delhi, Mumbai, Pune), and Amreli (Hotel Diplomat, New Delhi), Chef Saby constantly endeavours to innovate and create unique dining concepts and destinations to cater to epicureans in the country. Saby’s Deli does the most divine Chipotle Crusted Roast Chicken, Icelandic Salmon Steak and Ponchikis that are worth writing home about. The Ponchikis are filled to the brim with pastry cream filling and dark chocolate ganache and is a real winner.

•  Sugandha Saxena’s  Okhli, which specialises in Kayastha cuisine with a curated menu, also launched this year. While she is known for her desserts, Sugandha is extremely passionate about Kayastha cuisine. My favourites here are the Mastane Mutton Kofte which are a sheer delight, followed by her signature Gulkand Kheer. While the former is a classic, age-old recipe, the latter is her innovation. The koftas, she says, need elaborate preparations and, with no other stuffing in them except meat and spices, these beauties take her over half a day to prepare!

•  Parat by Harangad Singh deserves a mention for one of 2020’s best as the food they do is Indian, but without being clichéd, and rich, without being heavy! They have some of the most amazing street food, on one hand, like the Tawa Bhuna Chaap and Pota Kaleji, and, on the other, a spread of royalty with dishes like the Mutton Filfora. The depth in Harangad’s cooking is an outcome of exploring the roots of these dishes and their voyage through time and geographies. Diners who enjoy the shades of regional cuisine will enjoy the fresh approach in Parat’s menu!

•         Anchal Garg’s Cravings Next Door does not only have the best cream cheese platters, but also ones that are original and not just assembled. These platters are created from scratch in four flavours – green olives, Mexican mix, burnt garlic, mixed herbs – and each platter is curated beautifully and is completed with crackers, fruits, dried fruit, dips, etc. The salsa dip and the mixed herbs cream cheese are my picks of the season. This is Anchal’s first venture and innovation and passion now has a new address!

•         Tilt by Fratelli Wines are one of the coolest things to have happened this year. These affordable wines in cans, that come in red, white, rose and a bubbly, are for everyone! What I like about Tilt is that it takes the snobbery out of the beverage and makes it accessible for one to savour on-the-go, just like a can of beer. This concept is an absolute favourite of mine and I love it!

•         Oh! Deli has been conceptualised and created by the brothers Jasneet Sahni and Suneet Sahni to elevate culinary experiences in the comfort of people’s homes by delivering excellent quality produce at nominal rates so more people have access to better quality dining.  What I like is that they are doing a range that is varied and innovative, which is meant for all: carnivores, herbivores and omnivores. The variety we get at Oh! Deli goes from marinated grilled chicken, American barbeque chicken wings to mutton seekh kababs to cold cuts of pork to spring rolls, vegetarian sausages, falafel and other ready-to-cook products. While they are already running two successful restaurants, Pikkle and Lanterns, in Delhi, Jasneet, a chef himself, has hand-crafted each recipe to ensure variety and quality in terms of flavours. I love their pork sausages and ribs, the Moroccan lamb burger patties and the American barbeque chicken wings, as well as their pricing and cleanliness, above all.

•         Village Degh by Osama Jalali launched this year with a bang. From the Kathal Kababs to the Silbatta Chutney to the packaging of the food in clay pots in the wooden peti to the intro on parchment paper, the concept is a winner all the way with the flavours and tastes it promises. As a food historian himself, Osama Jalali has created a brand which gives us the best of desi khana with a tinge of innovation and stories.

• Vaibhav Bhargava’s Monochrome Dumplings from Anamiva, Goa also makes the cut for this year! The concept was created to bring two different flavours together, segregating them through the eternal black and white. The white part has a filling of chicken, while the black has a stuffing of prawns.

•         Cuisine N Art (CNA) is a kitchen based in Gurgaon, launched by Preety Khanna and her husband. They call themselves a team of catering professionals with a strong commitment to creativity and innovation. With a background in F&B, they had been doing exceptionally well till the pandemic hit them and they got into the kitchen scene, serving everything from tea to snacks in their society on a daily basis. They’ve started delivering as well and specialise in Galawati Kababs and Malai Kofta, which are exceptional. The best part is that, for their society, CNA serves even tea and snacks like French fries, which are homemade along with lunch and dinner every day.

So, on one hand, 2020 has given people a new perspective—be it in terms of eating, buying, cooking, cleaning, etc—and on the other, it has brought forth key strengths and talents in many. I choose to overlook the odds because a pandemic is in no one’s control. Basically, those who chose to make lemonade or cocktails out of the lemons we all got doled out this year have not only reaped huge benefits but also firmly established themselves in a big way.

Yes, 2020 definitely has changed much more than just the way we have been living for decades; it has changed our mindset and the way we live and eat, all of which contribute to our overall wellbeing. The best part though is that it has given us a whole lot of analysis and a terrific attitude to take the coming year head on!

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Gastronomically Speaking

IMMUNITY BOOSTING RAGI PANCAKES FOR COVID TIMES

Chef Shantanu Gupte

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Name of the dish: Ragi Pancakes (235 calories approx)

Description: It is a low calorie recipe. Ragi, also known as finger millet, is an excelled source of protein and fibre amongst other goodness. Especially in these pandemic times, it can help in boosting body immunity. Try this simple & healthy recipe, I am sure you will love it.

INGREDIENTS:

• 3/4th Cup (125g) Ragi flour

• 1/2 Cup (90g) Blended Oats

• 01 number Egg (Medium)

• 1/2 Tsp Baking powder

• 1 Tsp  Honey

• 1 Pc Ripe Banana

• 1 Pc Diced Mango

• 2 Tbsp Skimmed Milk

• 1 Tbsp Yoghurt( for garnish)

• 1 Pinch (2 g) Baking Powder

• 1 Tsp Oil

METHOD: 

• In a bowl mash the ripe banana completely till soft.

• To it add Ragi flour, Oat flour, egg, honey & baking powder.

• Add milk as per required consistency of the batter. (it should coat the back of a spoon.)

• Now lightly fold in the diced mango (1/2 quantity & reserve half.)

• Pour oil in a non-stick pan on medium heat. Pour a ladle of the batter & cook on one side till bubbles start appearing & sides are cooked.

• Flip the pancake & cook the other side in the same way. The pancake should have a nice golden-brown colour on both sides.

• Garnish with a dollop of yoghurt, mango & a sprig of mint

Tip: Drizzle more honey on the pancake if required.

The writer is founder, Shiifu & Chef Shan Cakes.

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Why honey is the ‘elixir of life’

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A lot of people I know have what we call a ‘sweet tooth’. It has been a difficult time for many with outside food being a big ‘no no’ and the worrying thing about immunity too, considering how unhealthy white sugar can be. Even though this pandemic has seen a major lifestyle change across all age groups, there is no real replacement for sugar. While brown sugar, gur or honey have been used to replace the white stuff, there’s still no real substitute since most of these are commercially produced that have either been diluted or have substances added to get the right consistency and colour, which takes away the honey’s natural healing properties. Most of the honey we find in grocery stores is pasteurised. The high heat may kill unwanted yeast, can improve the colour and texture, removes any crystallisation, and makes each batch look, taste and feel exactly the same. However, this cannot be achieved without additives due to which many of the beneficial nutrients are destroyed. 

Called as the “elixir of life” by some, raw honey is that miracle product which never spoils. Literally. Never. So many health benefits, but we never really get our hands on the original stuff easily. The cost to begin with plays crazily on one’s mind, assuming how unaffordable it could be! Then, the worry about getting the genuine stuff remains questionable till it is certified. Despite the odds, the good news is that some good Samaritans have taken it upon themselves to bring the world of this beautiful liquid gold into our homes with due certification of being raw and without any additives.

Vipin Pachauri and Nisha Sodhi brought in Organic Potli at a time when we were drowning in Kadha—the peak of Covid—and it was such a relief to get these raw honeys from different orchards (too), each with a different colour and taste. “We realised that it was high time that we take nature’s bounty to people because a lifestyle change is the need of the hour. Honey is extracted by the honey collectors who have permits issued by the forest department for limited areas. The wild honey in Uttrakhand is collected from ranges of forest from Tanakpur to Dehradun,” says Vipin. “When we say a ber honey or a wild-flower honey, it is actually an orchard from where the hive is. Since the bees are from that orchard, there is a slight tinge of that taste in the honey; it’s not an added flavour that is being referred to.”

Honeylicious is the brainchild of Abhigyan and Anshuman Bali, a company they formed some time ago again with the motive of taking pure, raw, unpasteurised honey to the world; their original business having been the supply of honey to big organisations for bottled honey. Honeylicious boasts of a wide range of honeys, starting from the fruitier variety like litchi, ber, multiflora and jamun to the more spicy, robust ones like eucalyptus, saunf and ajwain. The best part: All their honey are harvested by the people behind Honeylicious themselves—in short, they are beekeepers!

“This is our passion; we have other businesses, but this is the best thing we have done for the people of India. It would be a great thing if the people of this country are able to make a lifestyle change for a healthier tomorrow. Our model is simple: we take our boxes to the farms with the right flora; the bees produce honey, most of which we take out easily and leave some back so that the process can go on; the honey is strained using a cloth; and, the honey is ready! Extreme care is taken to ensure that bees are not harmed in any way,” says Anshuman Bali.

On the same note, Vipin adds, “We have been working professionals. However, as a habit, we have been sourcing fresh and pure food items and ingredients directly from the farmers thereby giving them a chance at better livelihood opportunities. Hence, we wanted to bring this experience of wellness to as many people as possible. Hence, every time you order from us, you act as a catalyst of change empowering and supporting the local communities in a big way. All our products are prepared fresh and are hygienically packed in small batches without the use of chemicals, preservatives, enhancers.”

If we take, for example jamun honey, it has a slight aftertaste and the aroma of the fruit, while ber honey is lighter in colour with a nuttier taste and the wildflower honey is goldenish in colour and very sweet. My personal favourites are the eucalyptus (which is also their signature honey), jamun and ajwain honeys: while the former is very dark in colour with a strong taste and smell, which is very extremely therapeutic, the latter is so flavourful that it can be consumed as it is.

With the kind of lifestyle changes we see today, honey seems to be playing a bigger role than jaggery because unlike the latter, which is seasonal, honey can be extracted and consumed all year. While city folk are getting extremely conscious about what they consume nowadays, the first big change that is prescribed by health consultants (could be doctors, yoga teachers, dieticians or nutritionists), is to avoid sugar. Sunita Mehra, a publishing professional, says: “I stopped having sugar in my tea years ago, but I have a sweet tooth and I become weak when it comes to desserts. However, if there are some sweets that are made with gur or raw honey, I will be able to have my desserts guilt free.”

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12 SUPERFOODS THAT MUST BE A PART OF OUR DAILY RECIPES

Nowadays, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, people are asking about immunity-boosting recipes and tips like never before.

Chef Kaviraj Khialani

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Health and its importance has been a cause of concern like never before since the past many months now for all of us and we all have realised that the prime importance of what we eat is what directly affects our mind and body as well. I have come across people with queries on immunity boosting recipes and tips like never before in so many years and the interest of people in taking their diets and components of their foods so seriously is a really good revolution in the well-being of the world trying to prevent rather than end up with cure.

The essence of nutrition and healthy eating has been around us since ages now and be it consulting an expert, following prescribed lifestyle patterns, having to stick to a fitness regime etc, they have all been somewhere overtaken by how the overall system can be stable in order to follow other suggestions and add to the experience.

“Superfoods” is one term we have been hearing since the last few years and this new term has kind of generated interest in many of us to explore and try and imbibe their qualities into our daily intakes as well. This term simply refers to the foods which have been found to be full of high content of nutrition density and composition like vitamins, minerals, fiber, Omega 3 fatty acids and not to forget the anti-oxidants which are so very important for our body.

The concept of “superfoods” is also so titled to gain attention and quick response from those who wish to live a super lifestyle and always believe in elevating the journey to the next level. There are some very simple and daily ingredients too from our kitchen which have been shelved on that showcase of being “superfoods” and I’m sure we know most of them already.

This article is focused on giving us an overview of which of these “superfoods” should be on our shopping list and be a part of our recipes in daily cooking as well.

TOP 12 SUPERFOODS

1. Avocado: also called as alligator pair, it is a fruit which is full of goodness and positivity to add into dips, salads, shakes, health shots, dressings and also salsa.

2. Broccoli: has been known to us much before cauliflower and its power packed fiber content helps us to stay fit, use it in soups, stir fries, salads, baked dishes and also a broccoli basil pesto is a good substitute.

3. Berries: while some of us stick to the colour of the berries, to me overall they all fall in a great must have category. Be they be being black, blue, strawberries, cranberries etc, all of them come handy in our fruit salads; have them just like that, add them in between meal munchies and to breakfast bowls!

4. Eggs: while some of us are for the egg whites, few of us consume it on the whole; the difference is just an option, but overall, eggs are full of essential nutrients with quality proteins and unique anti-oxidants. From boiled, scrambled, poached, sunny side up, double fried to curried forms, it works well.

5. Turmeric: from the fresh one being the best, to the dry and to the powdered form in our masala box, all forms have been found beneficial in many ways in our diets, from having turmeric water, detox versions, adding to curries, subzis, marination, pulao’s and other preparations. Of late, we have heard of turmeric latte!

6. Olive oil: people still have a few doubts on how to adapt to olive oil, especially when it comes to Indian cooking and recipes. I believe it’s an easy to adapt commodity, start with a light olive oil, mix it in a ratio of 60% percent regular oil with 40 % percent in cooking dishes to slowly accommodate its taste into our system and gradually modify it to your tastes.

7. Nuts: the crunch factor in our meals has always been welcome in various ways, from a health bar to having them slivered or sliced into our muesli or cornflakes/porridge, to being used in vegan cooking etc to start the day, some of us also soak nuts overnight and have it in the morning with breakfast for best benefits. Walnuts, almonds, raisins, apricots, peanuts, pine nuts, cashewnuts and the like must be included in our diets.

8. Seeds: the beneficial uses of variety of seeds available to us from chia, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds etc have a great role to play nutritionally from sprinkling it into our health shakes, smoothies, raitas, breakfast choice of cereals and our choice of freshly tossed salads too.

9. Salmon: one of the best rated “superfood” when it comes to seafood for its omega 3 fatty acids and being dense on its high quality nutrition, salmon fish is easy to use, simple to handle and tasty in varied preparations like simply marinate and grill, a nice crusty outing and bake, an interesting citric flavoured sauce to a poached version and to be converted to salmon cakes with dill cream dip.

10. Legumes: these are a part of our home kitchen shelf contents and we must ensure noting it in our reminder list during our month start grocery shopping. Involve them simply cooked with mild spices, add them to lunch menus, brunch menus, salads, soups, fillings for parathas, side dishes. Variate them to suit your taste; do not over spice or over cook them.

11. Ginger: is one of those root wonders we have in our kitchens which must be a part of our day and routines. From adding it to chai, a fresh squeeze of it to a detox water or a kadha as we make for cold coughs, I prefer adding them grated into my subzis, curries, rice, paratha stuffing, ginger has loads of medicinal properties and can help us self-cure ourselves and boost our immunity as well.

12. Green Tea: to some people, the concept somehow still isn’t too clear on how to consume, how much to consume, when to consume and what to add into green tea? Firstly, we need to understand on making a good cuppa of green tea, no sugar, no spices, no acids, no milk as such to add into it, avoid honey, jaggery as well. Have it first thing in the morning after a glass of simple lukewarm water. Have a cup a little after meals during and at the end of the day.

While there are many more ingredients like sweet potatoes, oat meal, yogurt etc which have also been included in the list of “superfoods” the idea is to be a bit aware, conscious and wise in our eating styles and work on making it better each day and stay safe and stay fit!

Chef Kaviraj Khialani is a Mumbai-based author, writer, academician, and food, health and lifestyle consultant. He has worked with some esteemed brands like the Taj group of Hotels, and Kuwait Airways as a sky chef, to name a few.

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Simple ways to include turmeric in your diet

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Turmeric is known as the wonder spice because of its magical properties which benefit us in different ways. It is used as a medicinal herb from old times. Dry turmeric is rich in vitamin A, Thiamine (B1), Riboflavin (B2), vitamin C also contains a good amount of calcium, phosphorus, iron, sodium and potassium. Recently science has started doing research with clinical proven studies, saying it contains compounds known as “curcuminoids” used as a medicinal spice to treat different associated diseases and illness.

Anil Khandelwal, Health and Wellness Expert, YOGIC SECRETS shares science-backed benefits of turmeric: Turmeric has curcumin in it which is a natural anti-inflammatory that helps to fight against inflammation caused by any disease or illness. Turmeric boosts the antioxidant capacity of the body as it neutralises free radicals on its own but also stimulates your body’s own antioxidant enzymes.

Curcumin in turmeric may improve cognitive function and also helps to protect brain functions by boosting the level of BDNF in the brain. Turmeric is a wonderful magical spice for joint health as it helps to treat symptoms of joint-related problems and reduce inflammation.

To check gastric problems: helps to relieve gas formation in stomach and indigestion discomforts.

Very powerful to treat Bronchitis: Take 1 tsp of turmeric powder with warm water 3 times a day it will make phlegm melt.

To give protection against Cancer: Add 2 tsp of turmeric powder in a cup of water stir and take it regularly twice a day. It has active compounds (curcumol and curdione), which have strong cytotoxic effects against certain forms of cancer.

To relieve pain and itching of skin: Mix turmeric powder with lime juice and little water to make a smooth paste. Put it directly on to herpes lesions, eczema, psoriasis, pimples, and even leprosy sores.

To relieve sprains and internal injuries: With just 1 spoonful of turmeric powder in 2 cups of milk simmer it, let it cool and drink it daily in the morning and evening for best results.

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RECIPE CORNER

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FARRO AND MUSHROOM BURGERS

INGREDIENTS: 

• 3/4 cup/125 g Farro

• 1/2 kg. /1 lb Red Potatoes (about 3 large)

• 1 sprig fresh Rosemary

• 1 sprig fresh Thyme

• 6 tbsp/85 g Unsalted Butter

• 1 tsp freshly ground Black Pepper

• 1/2 kg/1 lb Button Mushrooms, finely chopped

• 1 1/4 tsp Sea Salt

• 5 to 8 tbsp/75 to 120 ml extra-virgin Olive Oil

• 3 small Onions, finely chopped

• 1 tbsp dry White Wine, dry Vermouth or water

• 1/2 cup/50 g finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese

• 1 cup/50 g Panko Bread Crumbs

• Makes 10 patties

NOTE: If you can’t find Farro, you can make the burgers with quinoa or millet instead.

METHOD: 

Bring 2 1/4 cups/540 ml water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the Farro, return to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until the farro is tender, for about 30 minutes. Turn off the heat, fluff the Farro with a fork, cover, and set it aside.

While the Farro cooks, boil the Potatoes. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil, add the Potatoes, return the water to a boil, and cook until a paring knife easily slips into the centre of the largest Potato, for about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside. Once the Potatoes are cool, peel them and place them in a large bowl.

Remove the needles and leaves from the Rosemary and Thyme branches, and place them in a large frying pan along with the Butter and Black Pepper over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Once the herbs start cracking, after about 1 1/2 minutes, add the Mushrooms, and Salt. Cook the Mushrooms until they release their liquid and the pan is dry again, 6 to 7 minutes, stirring often. Transfer the mushrooms to the bowl with the potatoes and set aside.

Heat 1 tbsp of the Olive Oil over medium-high heat in the frying pan. Add the Shallots and cook until they are soft and just starting to brown, about 2 minutes. Add the Wine (or Vermouth or Water) and stir to work in any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Turn off the heat and scrape the Shallots into the bowl with the Mushrooms, and Potatoes. Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese along with the Farro. Use a potato masher or fork to mash the ingredients together.

Form the mixture into 10 patties. Place the Panko in a shallow dish and press the top and bottom of each patty into the panko to evenly coat. Heat 1/4 cup/60 ml olive oil in a clean large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 5 patties and cook on each side until nicely browned and crusty, 8 to 10 minutes total. Remove the patties from the frying pan and place them on a plate. Repeat with the remaining patties, adding more oil between batches if necessary. Serve hot.

-By Chef Suvir Saran

SOYA MUSHROOM KEEMA 

INGREDIENTS:

• 1/2 cup Soya Keema

• 5-6 Button Mushrooms

• 2 tbs Peas 

• 1 medium-size Onion

• 3 medium-size Tomato Puree

• 2-3 Garlic Cloves

• A small piece of ginger

• 1/2 cup Curd 

• Fresh Coriander 

• 1.5 tsp Ghee

• 1.5 tsp Oil

 SPICES:

• 1 tsp Cumin Seeds 

• 1 piece of Cinamon Stick 

• A small piece of Mace 

• Black Cardamom and Green Cardamom 

• 1 Bay leaf 

• 1 tsp Red Chilli powder 

• 1.5 tsp Coriander powder 

• 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder 

• 1 tsp Garam Masala

• Salt per taste

 METHOD:

Boil 1 cup water & cook 1/2 cup Soya Keema for 5-7 minutes. Drain water and wash Soya Keema with clean water. Squeeze out all the water (Keema should not be too watery)

In a pan, heat Oil and Ghee. Add Bay Leaves, Cinnamon Stick, Mace, Both Cardamoms, Cumin Seeds for few seconds and then add Garlic Cloves. Cook Garlic for one minute. Add finely chopped Mushroom and Onion. Add salt per taste

Cook for 10 minutes till you get a golden colour. This step is very important, don’t miss it. Now add Coriander Powder, Garam Masala, Turmeric powder, and Red Chilli powder. Mix and cook for few seconds. Now add Tomato Puree and fresh Peas. Cook Tomatoes for few minutes. 

Add pre-cooked Soya Keema. If required, add some water. Cover and cook for 10 minutes on a medium flame. Add Curd and fresh Coriander. Serve with Masala Bread

-By Meghna Kamdar, Chef & Food Blogger, Supporter of the Right To Protein initiative

BERRY REFRESHING

INGREDIENTS: 

• 1 glass Buttermilk 

• Chopped Ginger

• Chopped Green Chillies

• 1 spoon Indian gooseberry (Amla) powder 

• Curry Leaves

METHOD:

• Take a mixer jar and add a glass full of Buttermilk to it

• Add some chopped Ginger and a Green Chilly 

• Add a spoon of Indian gooseberry powder to this mix

• Churn the ingredients well

• Make a tadka of Curry Leaves, and Mustard Seeds and pour it on the Buttermilk mix

• Serve chilled

-By Chef Jatin Mallick, Chef & Co-owner, TRES 

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DISCOVER A WHOLE NEW WORLD OF CHOCOLATES

The various types of chocolates in the market are made by adjusting the ratios of cocoa butter, cocoa powder, sugar, and other ingredients.

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The quality of chocolate we use in baking is all-important in determining the quality of the end product. The proportion of high-quality beans in the blend is very important. The cacao tree’s seeds, or nibs, are used to make chocolates. They’re roasted and ground to make chocolate liquor, a liquid or paste that can be divided into cocoa butter and cocoa powder. The various types of chocolates in the market are made by adjusting the ratios of cocoa butter, cocoa powder, sugar, and other ingredients. The FDA maintains industry guidelines for chocolate labelling to keep it legal.

Chef Anees Khan

The different types of Chocolates used for baking cakes are:

BAKING CHOCOLATE – This chocolate is used in baking. Often known as dark chocolate or unsweetened chocolate. There is no added sugar to this strong chocolate liquor, which contains 50% to 58% cocoa butter. Cooking and baking are the best uses for this product.

BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE – This chocolate has a bitter aftertaste. It’s the darkest of all chocolates for eating. It has the most intense chocolate taste and at least 35% chocolate liquor. Some luxury labels produce 70% cocoa butter and cocoa solids or more. It›s ideal for baking, cooking, and eating.

SWEET CHOCOLATE – It has more added sugar than semi-sweet, and contains at least 15% chocolate liquor. It’s best for cooking, baking, and eating.

COMPOUND CHOCOLATE – Compound or coating chocolate is a product made from a combination of cocoa, vegetable fat and sweeteners. It is used as a lower-cost alternative to true chocolate, as it uses less-expensive hard vegetable fats such as coconut oil or palm kernel oil in place of the more expensive cocoa butter. This also comes in dark, milk and white variants and is used in making confections, cakes, piñata, and garnishes.

COUVERTURE CHOCOLATES – The technical name for the type of chocolate used to make cakes, candies, bars is “couverture” and is made with cocoa solids, cocoa butter, sugar, vanilla & lecithin. Dark, milk and white couverture are used to make a vast majority of cakes, gateaux and desserts. Favoured by candy-making pros. Contains at least 32% cocoa butter, which makes it very glossy and allows it to flow more easily when it›s melted and tempered. It comes in bars or coins called pistoles. It’s best for melting and baking.

MILK CHOCOLATE – To offer it a sweet and creamy flavour, it contains at least 10% chocolate liquor and at least 12% milk solids. This is the best for eating.

WHITE CHOCOLATE – Since it lacks chocolate solids, it is not considered “full” chocolate. At least 20% cocoa butter is present. Foodie Fact: White chocolate can no longer be branded as such when the cocoa butter is substituted with other, less costly fats; instead, it’s marketed as almond bark or confectioners’ coating. It’s ideal for baking, cooking, and eating.

COCOA POWDER – Can be sweet or bitter. Made by drying and grinding chocolate liquor and removing most of the cocoa butter, but must still retain 10% to 22% cocoa butter. «Dutched» or Dutch-process cocoa is treated with an alkalising agent to make it darker, less bitter, and more soluble in liquids. It’s best for baking and drinking.

COCOA NIBS – Cocoa beans are roasted and broken up to make this drink. Gives cookies and cake garnishes a crunch. It’s ideal for baking.

The writer is Chef and Founder of Star Anise Patisserie, Lokhandwala and Colaba.

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