Chocolate in a Savoury Recipe
By Samra Taban

It is almost impossible to perceive the taste chocolate would have when added to a savoury dish. We are joyfully accustomed to chocolate being a dessert, comfort food for some. Through the years, chocolate has been embraced as a universal flavour that crept into the local dessert preparations as well. It is a fascinating seed growing in nature, extracted from the Theobroma cacao tree and processed. You’d be surprised if you saw your beloved chocolate in its rawest form. Its flavour is nothing close to the finished product we blissfully enjoy. Chocolate is a by-product when the cacao seeds undergo fermentation. It is then mixed with milk, nuts and other delights to give us the gorgeous bars of sweet treats. Raw cacao nibs have a bitter taste and can be an excellent ingredient for cooking practically any kind of recipe, not restricted to desserts alone. If you purchase dark chocolate with a high percentage density of dark chocolate, you know what we are talking about! The same chocolate can be added in careful quantities to savoury dishes.

Time for a revelation- chocolate goes well with everything you make, even salads and steaks. The only thumb rule you have to remember while working with chocolate is a vision or a plethora of flavours that treat chocolate as a spice. Chocolate complements spicy food. It gives the dish an added kick. It strengthens the taste of chilli and the other spices in the recipe.

How to work with chocolate?

Dark chocolate uses very less milk so the flavour of the chocolate is quite dense. The only challenge is to get the quantity right. If you add too much, the dish would dominate of the flavour. While shopping for chocolate, do not compromise with quality. Higher percentage of cacao in a chocolate bar is preferable but it is mostly based on your taste. Cacao nibs can be toasted or crushed and added to the dish. They work excellently to coat select meats and vegetables. Also, remember to not heat the chocolate too much.

What are the recipes I can use chocolate in?

There is no right answer to this question. You can really get creative. It might take a bit of experimenting and some basic knowledge on how each type of chocolate pairs with another ingredient. This foundation is sufficient to serve a savoury chocolate recipe. For example, milk chocolate pairs great with roasted chicken. Keeping that in mind, tailor a recipe adding your touch. Some popular savoury recipes that can also be made with chocolate are baba ghannouj, chilli, stew, beef steak, risotto, pasta and of course, the classic friend chicken.

Chocolate has an emotional connect with us. Most people consider chocolate as their dessert. But, plain dark chocolate without the added sugar and other ingredients is simply bitter and liked only by those with an acquired taste. Chocolate can also be the star of your savoury dishes. If it is made enough and available commonly in restaurants, it might just take over the other courses of our meals as it has with our desserts.

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