On International Coffee Day, Sapna Sarfare thinks of ways of incorporating this powerhouse ingredient not just into your morning cup but also your food — right from snacks to main course and dessert
Ask anyone on how they start their day and the first word to come out of their mouth is coffee. It is the ultimate wake-up call. And the perfect way to celebrate this god’s gift to mankind is by naming a day for it. But coffee is not just a drink. It can be more than that. You have the option of having it in a snack, an offbeat dessert, main course or even a snack. The sky is your limit. Just understand the how.
An Intriguing Ingredient
One wonders about the change in coffee’s usability over the years. Chef Arpitha Harish, Chef de Cuisine Patisserie, Taj Lands End, Mumbai states, “The coffee standing is more in vogue today as compared to being a notable commodity earlier, to now attaining an almost understated opulence. There is a sense of pride when we use our home-grown estate names in our menus, and coffees from singular estates have a distinct flavour and aroma which makes our dishes unique.” You can vouch for that.
Chef Reetu Uday Kugaji, who is a Culinary Expert, Food Blogger, Mentor & Food Author, agrees with coffee being a very interesting industry in the fast changing culinary trends. “It is not limited only to beverages but is used in the dishes which could be a main course too, for example, Smoked Turkey with Coffee Glaze. Its usability has a humongous change over the years.”
Variety Of Difference
A coffee lover of some standing does know of different coffee beans, grinds, roasts and methods. And Chef Reetu feels the grind size can be influential in passing on delicious or unpleasant taste to any dish. “Personal choices can affect the kind of grind that one uses for imparting the flavor to a particular dish. If the contact time with the grind or the grind is too fine, it will definitely impart bitterness to the dish. Light roasts impart a more balanced flavor and aroma than a medium and dark roasted coffee.”
Chef Arpitha further reveals, “Coffee beans based on their roast and origin can range from being smoky and bitter, fruity and nutty or chocolaty and creamy. Once brewed, it is important to understand the result we are looking for in a dish. A cold infusion is best to bring out the nuances of flavor of the bean. It would work better with a similar flavor profile which could complement for example, berries.”
Of course, you want it in every dish, right from cakes to snacks, starters, offbeat drinks and even main course. Chef Arpitha suggests, “Coffee can be used in making rubs for meats coarsely ground, in a creamy smooth sauce enrobing a roast, a toasty salad dressing with nuts and even with rich cakes. Sometimes it could also be used in contrast to have two flavors that contrast each other like a green apple and lemon paired with chocolate undertone of the bean.”
Chef Reetu has seen coffee being included in cocktails, mocktails, smoothies, cookies, cakes, desserts and main dishes like Coffee Crusted Lamb Chops, Coffee Chicken, Coffee Crusted Fish and many more. “You may also prepare accompaniments, spreads, sauces and dips with coffee. One of my personal favorites is Coffee Onion Jam.”
Know tricks of the trade so that any dish with coffee does not become bad. Chef Reetu does feel the bean quality is a vital factor. “Also depending on that, the quantity of coffee to be added has to be kept in mind in order to balance the flavors of the dish. The primary reason being coffee must not overpower the flavor of other ingredients used in the offbeat dishes.”
Chef Arpitha warns that underestimating the strength of the brew of the coffee bean is the worst thing you can do. “Some beans when brewed produce a highly acidic coffee and once used with any dairy, it tends to break it up. Cold infusions are best to bring out all the potential of the coffee bean.”
Lift your coffee cup and think of more ways to celebrate coffee.
Medium Roast Monsoon Malabar Coffee Emulsion Enveloped Over Warm Baked Chocolate With Tangy Notes Of Yuzu And Green Apples
Dark Chocolate Manjari – 250 Gms
Butter – 100 Gms
Egg Yolks – 100 Gms
Egg Whites – 225 Gms
Sugar – 50 Gms
Create a meringue with egg whites and sugar. Stir in together chocolate & butter and fold in the egg yolks delicately over the mixture. Bake at 170 ° C in silicon pan for just 8 minutes.
Cold Monsoon Malabar Sorbet
Water – 650 Ml
Monsoon Malabar Brew – 150 Ml
Monsoon Malabar Coffee Beans – 60 Gms
Manjari – 500 Gms
Sugar –120 Gms
Dextrose – 20 Gms
Vanilla Pod – 1
Stabilizer – 2 Gms
Cold infuse the beans with water and add some if the cold brew into the infusion. Incorporate this mixture into the chocolate and make an emulsion. Spin in a sorbet machine for 6 minutes
Monsoon Malabar Coffee Emulsion
Milk – 350 Gms
Cream – 150 Gms
Glucose – 15 Gms
Sugar – 85 Gms
Egg Yolks – 120 Gms
Monsoon Malabar Beans – 60 Gms
Gelatin – 15 Gms
Cold infuse the milk and cream for 24 hours the coffee beans. Strain and heat the milk, glucose and cream in a pan and pour over beaten egg yolks and sugar. Soak gelatin and mix along with the above mixture. Pour into a siphon and store overnight.
Tangy Green Apple Confit
Yuzu Rind – 10 Gms
Lemongrass – 2 Sticks
Granny Smith Apples – 3 Kg
Citric Acid – 1 Drop
Sugar – 25 Gms
Cook together the apples, rind and lemongrass for 12 minutes. Puree this mixture and pass through a sieve to obtain light green fluffy compote.
ASSEMBLY: In a small coupe glass, first layer the dessert with the tangy apple compote. This could follow with a chocolate slab, followed by the chocolate cake. Over which a layer of the coffee emulsion could cover the cake. To finish quenelle the frozen coffee and chocolate sorbet over the emulsion; this could be garnished with frosted coffee beans and thin chocolate slabs.
- Recipe by Chef Arpitha Harish, Chef de Cuisine Patisserie, Taj Lands End, Mumbai
WITCH’S COFFEE (STREGA)
Black Coffee, hot – 375 Ml
Strega – 120 Ml
Demerara Sugar – 2 Tsp Or as desired
For the Garnish,
Whipped cream, chilled – 120 Gms
Nutmeg, grated – ¼ Tsp
For the Serving,
Irish Coffee Glasses with a Handle, Heat Resistant – 4
Pour Strega in the Irish coffee glasses. Add sugar in each glass. Pour the hot freshly brewed black coffee till the glasses are ¾ full. Stir to dissolve sugar. Whip cream with ½ tsp. of granulated sugar. Top the prepared glasses with chilled whipped cream. Serve the coffee in warmed glasses sprinkled with grated nutmeg. If you have a large midday meal, then this is just the right Witchy Coffee Concoction for you. It not only helps in digestion but also is absolutely delicious.
Strega is also known as Liquor Strega. It is an Italian herbal liqueur infused with the goodness of saffron and various herbs and spices. It aids in digestion especially after a very heavy and hearty meal. In Italian, Strega literally stands for “Witch”. You may add aged rum – 120 ml along with 120 ml of Strega. You may garnish it with grated lemon zest. This pale-coloured and mild-tasting raw cane sugar is named after its place of origin – Demerara in Guyana. You may add aged rum 120 ml if desired.
- Recipe by Chef Reetu Uday Kugaji, Culinary Expert, Food Blogger, Mentor and Food Author
Photo Credit for Witches’ Coffee: Chef Reetu Uday Kugaji (It is a representational photo and not the same drink.)