Sanjeev Kapoor is perhaps the most recognised face in India. He isn’t a Bollywood star although he probably has just as many supporters. No, he is a chef with impeccable culinary credentials and his own food TV network called Food Food. But this book appeals to lovers of chocolate across the globe.
Aah! Chocolate has its focus on that universal sweet delight. Good food in general crosses national boundaries and chocolate does just that in delicious fashion. Sanjeev presents simple recipes that will inspire even those who thought they had a collection of every choccy recipe ever penned. This chef draws from his Indian food background to introduce the reader to some Asian departures from standard European recipes.
We have all made chocolate cakes for birthdays, and chocolate brownies will never go out of fashion, but this book has some other simple sweets that have taste, beauty and impact. Chocolate has always been a classy ingredient and, let us not be a cocoa snob, we can admit to enjoying the less sophisticated milk chocolate and white chocolate, which technically isn’t chocolate at all. Sanjeev has garnished these pages with classics and innovation, using every shade of chocolate and hints of Indian je ne sais quoi (or whatever that is in Hindi).
Hot Chocolate Nut Sundae is a dish, or more accurately a suitable glass, that the kids will love to assemble. It’s ice cream with nuts and chocolate sauce as one would expect, but then add grapes and oranges and you have a dinner party dessert; but it’s the pomegranate that makes this exotic …and rather adult.
An afternoon drink for those hot London summers (one can dream) is Chocolate Lassi. This is pure fusion with chocolate being a European staple and lassi putting in a regular appearance at Indian restaurants across the world. This is quick to prepare, silky and decadent.
For those with a veritable addiction Aah! Chocolate has a triple-layer chocolate mousse. It’s easy to prepare but the end result of those labours will be a memorable, restaurant-quality finale for the smartest of gatherings or a romantic interlude. Sanjeev suggests a scattering of white chocolate chips as decoration, and I have used edible gold glitter to great effect.
Mithai are Indian sweets and Aah! Chocolate has a selection with chocolate as their key ingredient. They are distinctly Indian but that chocolate makes them an appropriate inclusion in a thoroughly English Afternoon Tea spread, or with a cup of coffee at the end of any dinner of whatever culinary hue.
Chocolate Burfi is a mithai for which to die. The only truly Indian ingredient is mawa (also called khoya) but this is found in all Indian supermarkets. It’s a set milk product used extensively for sweets from the Subcontinent. This particular preparation is a two-layer confection of white and brown burfi. A box of this would make a striking gift for any food lover although it’s doubtful you will want to give any away. Make a double recipe and have a clear conscience.
Aah! Chocolate is a book that will gladden the heart of any home cook and particularly those with a sweet tooth. Chocolate is romantic so consider giving this book to your special chocoholic in the hopes of a sample of the resulting treats in exchange. Sanjeev Kapoor is celebrated for his food style and imagination – Aah! Chocolate is a fine addition to his portfolio.
Author: Sanjeev Kapoor
Published by: Popular Prakashan
Price: Rs 595
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018