Happy Chocolate Day!

It’s World Chocolate Day and we’re uber excited (not that we need a reason to have chocolate, but if you’re looking for some, then click here).  We’ve been shopping for all things chocolate and whipping up a storm in the kitchen. And we thought maybe you’d like to chocolate up your meals tonight too. Here are some Zoinkalicious! Recipes you’d love to make at home :

1. Tall, Dark and Handsome: 

Start off your meal with a chocolate liqueur drink which pairs very well with pretty much anything. Who doesn’t love a chocolate drink anyway?

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet cocoa mix, for glass rim
  • 2 shots vanilla vodka
  • 1/2 shot coffee liqueur
  • 1/2 shot chocolate liqueur

Method:

  1. Wet rim of martini glass on a damp paper towel and dip into cocoa mix; set aside.
  2. Add remaining ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Stir and strain into martini glass.

2. Spinach Salad with Chocolate Vinaigrette:

Ingredients:

For vinaigrette:

For salad:

  • 8 cups bagged baby spinach, washed
  • 1 1/3 cups freshly diced mango
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Method:

1. In a large bowl whisk together cocoa powder, sugar and vinaigrette. Add spinach and toss to coat.

2. Add mango, cranberries and walnuts. Toss together and transfer to a serving dish.

 

3. Chocolate Crostini with Sea Salt:

The biggest challenge with presenting this chocolate sea salt crostini recipe is getting people to stop thinking, “dessert,” and start thinking, “great special occasion savory snack.” For this to work as a savory bite, the chocolate must be very dark, bittersweet, and world-class.  Also, use only extra virgin oil to give it that perfect taste.

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 ounces dark chocolate
  • 1/4 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 12 thin baguette slices, toasted
  • medium-coarse sea salt

Method:

  1. Melt the chocolate with the orange zest and olive oil in a small, heavy-bottom pot over ultra-low heat (if you’re a double boiler-lover, feel free to use one here), swirling it around occasionally.
  2. Give it all a good stir once it’s super soft but not completely melted and take it off the heat.
  3. Spread chocolate mixture on baguette slices and sprinkle with a generous pinch of sea salt.

 

4. Chicken in Chocolate Sauce: 

No, don’t wrinkle that face. Unsweetened cocoa powder with the sherry, spices and garlic glaze the chicken beautifully leaving you with an unforgettable taste in your mouth. The silkiness of the chocolate  combined with the  tenderness of the chicken is absolutely orgasmic.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken pieces, cut in strips
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 6 ounces dry sherry
  • Salt and pepper
  • Bay leaf
  • Cloves, to taste
  • Cinnamon, to taste
  • Thyme, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Method:

  1. Sprinkle chicken strips with spices. Add garlic and sherry and let marinate.
  2. Heat oil in a saucepan and brown chicken pieces. Add onion and continue cooking over low heat.
  3. Add marinade. Cook 20 minutes. Stir in cocoa. Cook 10 minutes. Remove chicken with slotted spoon. Reduce sauce, serve over chicken.

 

5. Super Gooey Chocolate Brownies:

Nobody can resist chocolate brownies, especially super gooey ones. The crispy choco base over the brownie and the gooey moist centre makes this for the perfect comfort dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 120 gms. unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup flour, or pancake mix
  • 1/2 to 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

 

Method:

  1. In a saucepan melt butter and chocolate over low heat, stirring occasionally. Add the sugar, stirring until dissolved. Remove from heat. Allow the mixture to cool 15-20 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Stir in the flour and chocolate chips. Pour mixture into a well greased 9 x 12 inch pan.
  2. Bake 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool and cut into squares.
  3. The brownies will solidify over time, to re-moisten, microwave for a few seconds and sprinkle over some icing sugar to serve 🙂

 

So these are our Chocolate based recipes this Chocolate Day. Try them and let us know how it goes! 🙂

Recipes Courtesy:

http://www.cooks.com
http://www.foodnetwork.com
http://www.cdkitchen.com
http://www.nourishnetwork.com

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Rolling in the meat!

Ever had one of those days where you’re at work and thinking of a nice, juicy kabab  packed in with onions, chillies, pepper and wrapped in a chapatti roll served hot up? Well, we certainly do. At least 3 times a week (refer the delivery orders during lunch time at our office to get a more accurate number). These soft, fluffy rolls have been a favourite of ours since childhood, and so yummy that made us fall in love with them at first bite.

So how did the legendary roll originate? The Kati Roll is said to have started its life from the Nizam Restaurant in Kolkata, a popular eatery founded in 1932 that sold kebabs and parathas and other Mughlai food in the heart of Kolkata. There are many stories about how exactly the roll got started. Some centre around harried office commuters who wanted something quick and portable, some mention British Babus who were too fastidious to touch the kabab. The most likely origin is probably more mundane, but in any case someone decided to roll things up at some point. Nizam enjoyed a virtual monopoly of this method of serving a kabab for decades, but it eventually became commonplace in Kolkata and later spread elsewhere.

The Kati part of the name came later. Like everywhere in India, Nizam’s used iron skewers to make their Kababs; they were easy to maintain and lasted a lifetime. However, as Nizam’s popularity grew, these long heavy iron skewers started becoming a problem; far more was required than could be handled. In 1964, Nizam moved to bamboo skewers that were lightweight and available in large numbers. These skewers are referred to in Bengali as Kati or stick, and the names Kati Kabab and kati roll soon stuck. The name eventually became synonymous with any kind of Paratha rolled with stuffing (even when neither Kati nor Kabab was involved) such as the egg roll or the potato roll, and later even for other breads such as Naan or Roomali.

The good samaritans that we are, we decided to help you out and prepare a list of places where we love Kaati Rolls we love in Bangalore.

1. Kaati Zone:

This is one of our all time favourite places for rolls in Bangalore, and the variety is impressive. You can also choose whole wheat rolls and play up with sauces on your rolls. The meat here is succulent, spices are just right and the taste is spot on. Try their Turkish Chicken Kabab with the Pudina Punch sauce and Chicken Tikka rolls. Super yummy! 🙂 (they have many outlets across the city, you can check their site http://www.kaatizone.com/zones.html  for more details)

2. Siddique Kabab Corner:

Ok, so  this place doesn’t score high on ambience but blows the charts for a rating on some of the yummiest rolls in Bangalore. This place is just the right place for some well done meat and rolls. Priced at a measly Rs.25 (last checked), their famous and absolutely delicious Nizam Roll, Beef Sheek Roll and Bhuna Rolls draw people from all walks into this small joint. You have to try them to believe them! (located in Frazer Town)

3. Chakum Chukum:

This place though literally a hole in the wall, serves some great rolls in Bangalore. Opened by a couple who wanted to bring the real taste of Kolkata rolls to Bangalore, the taste and consistency of these rolls is pretty good. You can even get them to spice up your roll with plenty of diced chillies. Their Double Mutton Double Egg roll is definitely to write home about. (located in Indiranagar)

P.S. The service here might put you off a little, just giving you the heads up.

4. Lazeez:

Frequented by JNC and Christ College students, Lazeez is a popular hotspot for college goers. Been around for more than a decade now, this place has some great rolls and definitely doesn’t hesitate to load up on the meat front. Succulent meat with plenty of spices make the rolls here simply fabulous. Our favourites here are the Double Chicken Roll and the Mutton Shammi Roll. (located in Koramangala)

So those are our top 4 favourite places for rolls in Bangalore. What are yours? ‘Roll’ in your answers below. 🙂

Know Your Lentils!

Being based in India, lentils are quite the staple for us. And not just that, it’s also a great comfort food bringing back fond memories for us where our Mums used to chase us to feed us Daal-Chawal. So once we did move away from the comfort of our homes, we all crave for that yummy Dal, but for the life of us can’t figure out what Daal is even used in the first place. We had one of our team members in the supermarket once calling her mother and asking, “Ma, what Dal do you use to make that Dal at home?” Yeah, true story.

Hence, this is a simple guide for the few kinds of Dals you have and will come across your life, and what you should do with them.

Moong Dal

1. Moong Dal: 

India’s signature vegetarian dish, the Dal Fry, ordered fondly by North Indians while living in South India and the ‘perfect’ vegetarian gravy is made by this beautiful yellow Dal. These are actually mung beans that have been skinned and split, so that they’re flat, yellow, and quick-cooking. They can also be fried and make for unhealthy yet delicious snacks that finish quickly in the house. Yes, this is the dal you use to make that dal at home.

Toor Dal

2. Toor Dal:

This is the dal which most South Indians would you be familiar with, as it is the main ingredient that goes into the much loved Sambhar. Whole toor lentils are yellow with tan jackets, but they’re usually sold skinned and split.  They have a mild, nutty flavor, and they’re often cooked as a side dish or ground into flour.  They’re sometimes sold with an oily coating, which you should rinse off.  They are also known as Pigeon Peas to the rest of the world.

3. Urad Dal

Urad Dal

Black Dal/Kali Dal, again very popular in both North and South India, and absolutely delicious when cooked right. These lentil-like beans have black skins covering creamy white interiors.  Whole urad dal derive their strong, earthy flavor from the black skins and are often used in curries.  Split urad dal retain the skins and also have a strong flavor.  You would use this dal to make your favourite Dal Makhani. This dal also goes into making those yummy Idlis and Dosas.

Channa Dal

4. Channa Dal:

Another variation of the Dal curries, the Channa Dal often has a nuttier flavour to it. With their sweet and nutty flavor, these are the most popular dal in India.  They’re made from splitting a small relative of the chickpea in half.  They’re a dull yellow and are renowned for causing flatulence (erm…), which Indians try to counter by adding asafoetida to the dish (yay!).

 

5. Rajma: 

Rajma

Ok, so this is not considered a lentil per se and are known to the world as red kidney beans, but this staple is considered Rajma dal in India. The red bean is not of Indian origin and was brought to the Indian subcontinent from Mexico. They are a good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber, and also slow the rise in blood sugar after a meal, help memory, provide antioxidant effects, give you energy, and provide fat-free high quality protein. See? Tasty is good for your health too! 😛

Before we sign off, we wanted to share the recipe of an awesome Dal Makhani dish that will make you lick your plates clean! 🙂

Dal Makhani

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup whole black lentils and a handful of dried red kidney beans, soaked overnight

    Zoinkalicious! Dal Makhani

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium-sized tomato, finely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • Fresh coriander leaves, chopped for garnish
  • Water, as needed
  • Salt, to taste
Method:

1. Heat oil in a pressure cooker and saute onions till lightly browned. Stir in salt, chilli powder, ginger-garlic paste, and tomato paste and fry for a few seconds.

2. Add in the chopped tomatoes and cook for a few minutes to combine well. Add lentils and beans, and enough water to cover them. Pressure cook for 15-20 minutes till lentils are soft and done. Stir in milk and let it come to a boil.

3. In a separate pan, make a tempering by heating butter and whole garlic cloves slit in the middle. Stir the tempering into the lentils and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

4. Serve warm with soft, fluffy Naans.

 

10 Reasons Why We Love Chocolate! :)

It’s as simple as gets, although we are certain no one really needs a ‘reason’ per se to love chocolate.

"I'd give up chocolate. But I'm not a quitter!"

10. Chocolate makes you happy:

Chocolate contains tryptophan, a chemical in the brain that is used to produce the neurotransmitter, serotonin. High levels of serotonin stimulate the secretion of endorphins, and produce feelings of elation. Serotonin is found in the antidepressant Prozac, and the designer drug “ecstasy” produces its effects by increasing serotonin levels in the brain. So… antidepressants, illegal drugs, or a Hershey’s bar.  You pick.

9. Chocolate may help people live longer:

 In a Harvard University study conducted in 1999, researchers tracked 8,000 men and found those who ate chocolate lived almost a year longer than those who didn’t. Although scientists don’t know why the men lived longer, they speculate it has to do with the antioxidants found in chocolate.  I speculate that it’s because these same men had enough chocolate around their house that they had no shortage of woman willing to come around and cook them healthy meals and clean their bathroom once in a while.  But that’s just a theory.

8. Chocolate is really good for you:

Dark chocolate contains chemicals that lower the risk of cancer and heart disease.  Flavanoids and antioxidants in dark chocolate have been shown to make a difference in cardiovascular health.  Scientists now recommend that you have a chocolate cookie or biscuit so your body gets more of those life-lengthening chemicals.  Skip those cookies & milk since some studies show that milk cancels out the healthful effects of eating chocolate by preventing those helpful chemicals from being fully absorbed in the body.  Hey – nobody said the science of chocolate was going to be simple!

7. Chocolate is a cardiac stimulant of heart:

Not that we actually care, but various beneficial substances are contained in chocolate. For example, some antioxidants and flavonoids can help us reduce the chances of getting cancer and cardiovascular disease. The substances contained in cocoa can also help us prevent the formation of heart disease. Therefore, if we feel tired, we can eat chocolate to support our heart.

6. Chocolate has just the right chemistry:

According to a study by the University of Michigan, chocolate contains chemicals called opioids.  Opioids are also found in opium which can dull pain and give you a feeling of well-being.  Therefore, people who eat chocolate produce natural opiates in their brains that can soothe their nerves and make them feel good.

5. Chocolate makes us feel more alive:

The caffeine content alone of dark chocolate can increase pulse, heart rate and alertness; chocolate also contains phenylethylamine, a chemical that has effects much like amphetamines. It’s a feeling of alertness, not unlike the feeling you get in the early stages of romance—very different from a slap-in-the-face coffee buzz.

4. Chocolate equals love:

Speaking of love, the association might not be completely physiological. Women crave chocolate more often than men do. Women are also habitually given chocolate as birthday and Valentine’s Day presents. In our culture, chocolate is thought of as a romantic gift. It’s outside the realm of mundane, day-to-day food, reserved for special occasions–and, for women especially, it’s associated with love and romance. That could be another reason why women particularly love chocolate: deep down, it makes them feel loved, cared for, and pampered.

3. Being Addicted to Chocolate won’t get you arrested:

Hell, it’s a drug alright, but you can get away with it. Nobody is going to say anything to you if you eat 2 whole bars of chocolates by yourself and get a sugar rush (er, we’re not counting your dietician or trainer, if you have one). You could bask your joys in bites of chocolate or drown your sorrows in that delectable cocoa taste, and can have as much as you want. Either way, you won’t get into trouble with the law.

2.  Chocolate is great for your sex life:

Even the Aztecs believed that chocolate has aphrodisiac properties.  There might be some truth to those old legends.  Recent studies have shown that women who eat a little bit of chocolate a day have significantly more sex than women who don’t.  Possibly because their boyfriends who show up at their doorsteps have a box of Truffles in hand maybe those brain-soothing chemicals found in chocolate encourages the brain to release more of those “feel good” chemicals as it’s eaten.  Chocolate just makes us feel good – which is a key ingredient for a healthy sex life.  The Moral of This Story?  Feel good, Look good, have good sex!

1. Chocolate melts at 97°F.:

That’s right, just below body temperature.  So it actually does melt in your mouth.  That also means if you put a Hershey’s Kiss on your sweetie’s stomach, it will slowly melt into a little pool of chocolate. Uh oh… you’d better clean that up.  And who knows where things will go from there! 😉

While we love chocolate, we also recommend you have it in moderate quantities (minus those occasional binges). Some dark chocolate a day would keep you happy and positively glowing! Do you have any other reasons as to why you love chocolate? Do leave your comments below. Team Zoink! would love to hear it! 🙂

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/317031

The Joys of Comfort Food!

You know when you have those bad days and you feel Murphy is stalking you and you really feel like banging your head somewhere? Happens to us too. Imagine after that awful day, you seat yourself amidst the warm interiors of your home and bite into some wholesome goodness of food that brings back sweet childhood memories and takes you to your ‘happy place’. Your happy place. And this Zoink! post is going to be just about that – truly loved comfort food.

With everyone being busy to finish work by year-end deadlines, targets to be met, plenty of gifts to be bought and lots of crazy family togethers to attend, we figured that a reminder on the simple comfort food you like will put the cheer right back in you this holiday!

P.S. These foods are in a random order, so there is no ranking here.

Yummy Parathas!

1. Parathas:

This love affair began for us when we were children and volunteered for child labour in the kitchen and happily flattened out those dough balls (while we stole some to make our own dough models). Delicious Parathas stuffed with onion/potatoes/cauliflower/fenugreek topped with that blob of ghee make us very happy, even now.

Bless your soul, Maggi Noodles!

2.  Maggi:

Nothing speaks comfort food to Indians than hot and delicious Maggi. This nationwide loved dish is immensely popular and  has more than a thousand variations among many homes, and is the one dish many find solace in. Maggi with cheese, with chillies and capsicum, with corn and paneer, with chicken strips and tofu, with butter and sweet and sour pickle – the list is endless. And so is our appetite for Maggi. It remains the number one comfort food for many of us till date.

Creamy delicious mashed potatoes!

3. Mashed Potatoes:

You know that creamy consistency of starchy delicious potatoes that you would just ball up in your mouth when you were in the kitchen with your Mum? We remember it too. Those hot potatoes mashed up nicely, smoothened out with heaps of butter, cream and milk, and a pinch of nutmeg, to give it that immaculate flavour. Somehow, no dinner was complete without this.

Mom's hot, comforting Chicken Soup!

4. Hot Chicken Soup:

Mum’s perfect cure for you when you were sick, and something you’ve never outgrown. Drinking the perfect, well seasoned hot chicken soup takes us back to those childhood days when we were sick, cuddled up in bed, and Mom would walk in with a large bowl of her cure-it-all soup and nurture us with plenty of TLC. And we want all of that TLC again. Hence, there will always be a special place that chicken soup occupies in our hearts.

Rajma Chawal

5. Rajma Chawal

For a lot of the North Indians, Rajma Chawal is what speaks of home. The aroma of this rajma with all of those special masalas conjure up a sort of a Homecoming dance by many North Indians, who appear to look deeply languished, but ready to fall in love again. Somehow one bite of this delicious red rajma gravy with that semi-burnt spicy Bhindi makes us agree wholeheartedly.

Curd Rice with Pickle!

6. Curd Rice:

This is the South Indian equivalent of the Rajma Chawal. As children, many were allowed to skip whole meals as long as they downed curd rice. It’s a part of the meal that is considered indispensable to most South Indians, as it was what their mothers fondly fed it to them narrating all these animated fun stories and assuring them that they’ll all be ‘heroes’ some day 🙂 We still spot many curious customers at restaurants who stare at that larger than life European/Indian/Chinese buffet and grin when they find their precious curd rice and run to it like gleeful Rugrats.

And that, is Zoink!’s comfort food that makes us happy. Sure, with a country as large as ours (read: subcontinent) there are going to be more than a hundred different types of comfort foods that appeals to all of our readers. And we can’t wait to hear them all from you. Do leave your comments below! J

And, wish you all a happy and Zoinktastic! New year!