Did you think chocolate is only for dessert? No, it goes well with chilli, thyme, and many savoury ingredients. Chefs and culinary experts share their insights on using chocolate in food, and the results are some mind blowing dishes.

CHOCOLATE TAGLIATELLE

Chef Alok, head chef at Mia Cuccina in Mumbai, shares a rich handmade pasta, enriched with
cocoa powder. “This is tossed in a creamy cheese sauce, and garnished with toasted
walnuts, pistachios,” he adds.

Chocolate

Ingredients:
For the pasta

  • 1.5 cups AP flour
    • 1/4 cups cocoa powder
    • 2 eggs (room temperature)
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • Water (as needed)

Method for pasta:

Sift and whisk the dry ingredients together. Whip the egg and olive oil till a uniform
liquid forms. Pour liquid ingredients into the flour mixture, and knead. Add water till the dough is
manageable and not sticky. Once the dough comes together, seal the dough in cling film, and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. Once rested, roll the dough out with a machine or using a rolling pin. Layer the rolled dough after dusting with flour, and cut into strands of about 1 cm thickness. Blanch this pasta in boiling water for six
minutes, or till the pasta is al dente. Drain pasta and retain half cup of pasta water.

For the sauce:
• 3 tbsp butter
• 3 tbsp AP flour
• 1 cup milk
• 1/2 cup cream
• 3/4 cups Gorgonzola cheese
• 1 tbsp dried oregano
• 1/2 cup of pasta water

To garnish:

  • Parmesan cheese
    • Toasted walnuts and pistachios

Method for sauce:

On a low heat, melt butter and whisk flour into it till a uniform, blonde paste forms. Continue whisking while adding the milk, cream, and pasta water to make sure no lumps form. Cook for about four minutes, and add
Gorgonzola and oregano. Take off the heat and gently toss the cooked pasta in the sauce. Plate and garnish with pistachios and Parmesan cheese. Serve hot.

CREAMY WHITE CHOCOLATE BABA GANOUSH

Chef Anees Khan, founder of Star Anise Cafe and Star Anise Patisserie, shares a smoky Middle Eastern brinjal dip with white chocolate. “Chocolate, when used in small quantities in savoury dishes, gives a wonderful flavour especially to smoky dishes such as a Baba Ganoush. Over the years, I have used 70 per cent dark chocolate in my meat sauces, and it pairs very well,” he adds.

Chocolate

Ingredients:

  • 1 large eggplant (brinjal)
  • 2-3 pods garlic peeled & chopped
  • ½ pcs green chillies chopped
  • 5 gms fresh coriander chopped
  • 5 gms chopped parsley
  • 1 pc onion chopped
  • 1 pc chopped tomato (no seeds)
  • 30 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ lemon juice
  • 15 ml Tahini
  • 5 gms fresh cumin powder
  • 20 gms melted white chocolate
  • 20 gms pomegranate
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Paprika to garnish
  • White chocolate flakes to garnish

Method:

Rub oil on the eggplant and poke all over with a sharp knife or a fork. Roast the eggplant until the interior is very tender throughout, and the skin is collapsing, for about 10 to 15 minutes (this might take longer if you are using one large eggplant). Set the eggplant aside to cool. Flip the eggplants over, and scoop out the flesh with a large spoon, leaving the skin behind. Remove excess moisture and any leftover skin from the eggplant.

Chop and mash the eggplant. Add the garlic, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, tahini, parsley, onion, tomato, coriander, green chillies, cumin powder, pomegranate, and the melted white chocolate. Mix well until creamy. Garnish with extra virgin olive oil, chopped parsley, paprika, and white chocolate flakes. Serve the creamy white chocolate baba ganoush with lavash, pita bread, and some freshly cut carrots and cucumber.

BARBECUE CHOCOLATE PULLED PORK SANDWICH

Chef Freny Fernandes, founder and chef at Monèr Dessert Bar & Bistro, shares her way to add richness and sweetness to a classic sandwich by using dark chocolate.

Chocolate

Ingredients:

For pulled pork

  • 2 kgs pork shoulder
  • 2 sliced onions
  • 2 diced carrots
  • 1 diced celery
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 bayleaf
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp onion powder
  • 3 tsp of hickory flavoured liquid smoke

Ingredients for sauce:

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 minced onion
  • 3 minced garlic
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp tobasco
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp chilli powder
  • 85 gms 70 percent dark chocolate

Method for sauce:

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it softens, about five minutes. Then add the garlic and cook until it is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomato sauce, cider vinegar, rice vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, hot sauce, salt, black pepper, and chilli powder, and stir to combine. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the sauce to the jar of a blender, and blend until smooth, then return the sauce to the saucepan. Let the sauce cool slightly, then add the chocolate, and stir gently until it has melted and has been incorporated completely (you will no longer see streaks of it in the sauce).

Method for sandwich:

Rub the pork shoulder with onion powder and garlic powder and then sear it in a pan till golden brown. Add aromats and seasoning. Add stock and cover it and cook it in a low oven at 1400 degree celsius for five to six hours. Remove from the oven, and it should fall apart and shred. Add a little chocolate barbecue sauce to glaze it. Take a bun, smear garlic aioli at the bottom, add pulled pork, and garnish with pickled jalapenos and onions.

CHOCOLATE HUMMUS FOR A CHEESE PLATTER

Chef Guntas Sethi Bhasin, a Le Cordon Bleu[1]trained chef and the founder & head chef at Chef Guntas in Mumbai shares a rich, creamy hummus with undertones of saltiness. “Pair the hummus with a variety of flavours through fruits, nuts, crackers, and cheeses of your choice,” she adds.

Chocolate

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 3 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 2 tbsp water
  • Garnish with sea salt

Method:

Grind everything, except the water, in a blender or food processor until the combination has reached a smooth consistency. Add the water at a time when you have it at the desired consistency. Add more maple syrup if you like the hummus to be sweeter. Serve with some sea salt sprinkled on top.

LAMB ARANCINI WITH WHITE CHOCOLATE AND CAPERS

Chef Aabhas Mehrotra, head chef at Foodhall (all outlets) hits all the notes — spicy, sweet, tangy, sour — with the presence of textures to hit the fifth note of umami as well in this dish. “Chocolate is an extremely versatile ingredient, and a nice bitter chocolate brings in great complex flavours and is extremely important to balance the dish right. Lamb brings in great earthiness in the dish, balanced with tomato paste and capers, and the sweetness from the white chocolate,” he explains.

Chocolate

Ingredients:

For Lamb Ragout:

  • 500gms lamb mince
  • 50gms onion (chopped)
  • 50gms carrot (chopped)
  • 25gms celery
  • 10gms rosemary
  • 1ltr chicken stock
  • 100gms tomato paste
  • 25gms red wine
  • 100gms Parmesan cheese
  • 20ml olive oil
  • 30gms parsley
  • Salt, pepper for seasoning

For crumbing:

  • 100gms flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 100gms bread crumbs

For finishing:

  • 10gms white chocolate
  • 5gms fried capers

Method:

Start by heating the pan and put olive oil. Add in the carrots and allow it to nicely caramelise, make sure the vegetables are cut evenly. Add in the celery and onions and let it sweat. Once nice and golden, add in the lamb mince. Note: 1 cup of water can be added to the lamb mince and mixed so that when cooking on heat, the lamb separates easily. Once the lamb is partially cooked for about 20 minutes and the fat has rendered, add in the chopped rosemary and tomato paste along with chicken stock. Let the mixture simmer for another 20 minutes till the water is absorbed and the moisture is dried. Once all the water is evaporated, remove from the pan, and allow it to cool. Make sure that the lamb is well separated from each other and is dry. Add in the fresh chopped parsley and parmesan cheese and mix together, if you feel the mixture is to dry, an egg can be added in the mixture. Always test the seasoning — pan sear a small batch and check for seasoning. This can be adjusted now.

Crumbing:

Once chilled, dunk the meatball into flour, make sure you dust the excess flour off. Now coat with egg, two spoons of water can be added in the egg batter. And now the bread crumbs, this process can be done twice for extra crispy coating.

For finishing:

Fry the Polpette/meatballs in sunflower oil. Present on the plate, drizzle white chocolate on top. Garnish with caper.