What’s a sinful looking piece of dark chocolate cake doing on my plate? Well, it happens to be one of my favourite desserts and no one can stop me from having it! Indulge, for chocolates are meant for this. But stop short of addiction because too much sugar is harmful.
Chocolate is a flavourful substance derived by grinding the roasted beans from the pods of the Theobroma cacao tree. These trees are cultivated in Sri Lanka, Java and Samoa. After the beans have been removed from the mature cacao pods, roasting is done to develop the characteristic aroma of the fleshy part of the beans. The roasted parts from various lots of chocolate are blended together and then are stone ground to produce a chocolate liquor in preparation for further processing. So hence we have
• Dark chocolate
• Bittersweet chocolate
• Cocoa powder (Dutch and natural)
• Milk chocolate
• Semisweet chocolate
• Sweet chocolate
• Unsweetened chocolate
• White chocolate (made with cocoa butter, but does not contain any non-fat ingredients from the cacao bean and has an off-white colour. Many do not consider this to be a true chocolate because of the low content of cocoa solids.)
Chocolate contains alkaloids such as theobromine and phenethylamine, which have physiological effects on the body. It has been linked to serotonin levels in the brain. Scientists claim that chocolate, eaten in moderation, can lower blood pressure. Dark chocolate has recently been promoted for its health benefits, including a substantial amount of antioxidants that reduce the formation of free radicals, though the presence of theobromine can kill some animals like dogs and cats.
In case you discover that all your stored chocolate is covered with a white or gray discolouration do not despair. It is just that chocolate demands a lot of respect in storage so do it at 15°C. If the chocolate is processed then it helps in avoiding bloom. The biggest enemy of chocolate is moisture and when you are melting chocolate on a double boiler, be careful for even a drop of water in it will seize it and render it useless.
Melting chocolate at home brings me to that lovely chocolate sauce that we pour so lavishly on vanilla ice cream. Nothing but milk, cocoa powder, cornflour and sugar …or then try this ganache (cream in melted chocolate).
Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.