Like Water for Chocolate- by Laura Esquivel, has always been a book that I have savoured. A book that involves romance, tragedy and food. Three key ingredients that can hardly go wrong in a best selling novel. A sumptuous feast of a book that follows the main character Tita, and her life long love Pedro.
Writing about mindfulness recently, I was reminded of it, so I re-read it again. This book talks of emotions being felt when cooking and the taste of that emotion in the end result. Causing anyone that eats the food to be effected by it. When the main character is in love, the love comes out in her cooking. When she feels sad and bitter while making her sister’s wedding cake, the eating result is everyone is left with a tearful longing, ending with a collective vomiting.
The scene of the final wedding feast where everyone has paired off after eating chillies in walnut sauce, makes for wonderful imagery.
I wanted to cook like Tita. Or at least a little Mexican influenced. So with Mole on my mind I did an easy version. Not because I wanted it to be easy, but because time availability dictates what I can cook. (The monkeys are busy business.) I wanted to play around with the flavours of different spices, the chicken, and the chocolate. To be cooked as mindfully as I could, and to put as much love and attention in as I could muster.
Having never tasted a dish like this before, I was unsure of what to expect. But I liked every ingredient that went in, so it had a good head start.
Tasting it, after I had made the sauce, my taste buds weren’t sure what was going on. It had an almost earthy taste, I’m guessing from the 85% Cocoa I had put in. A curious taste that had my mouth, zinging from one side to another to find another different subtle taste to briefly savour. It had certainly been cooked mindfully, the monkeys were sidetracked and I could put all my love and attention into my little mexican novel cooking inspiration. But had I put too much?
Making the mole the the day before. The next day, I cooked it in a baking dish with chicken legs and added some tomato passata. I felt it needed the added zingy-ness that you get from good tomatoes. Cooked for about an hour at 200 C.
The end result?…
Not bad. I didn’t think “Woohoo Mama!”, and launch myself at my husband, but I didn’t start sobbing and vomiting either. It was certainly flavoursome, packed a chilli punch, and it was a stray out of the usual food street I walk. Served with some rice, flaked almonds and sesame seeds on top.
And when it really comes down to it… it was really all about the book anyway.
Chilli Chocolate Chicken
A good dollop of olive oil
1 diced onion
4 cloves of diced garlic
1 1/2 tps cinnamon
1 tps smoked paprika
1 tps nutmeg
2 tps cumin
2 tps coriander
1 tps dried chilli
salt to taste
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup masala
1/4 cup muscavado sugar
250mls vegetable stock
50 grams 85% cocoa chocolate
Everything cooked in that order, with the broken chocolate added in at the end when the sauce has been turned off the heat.
What an interesting sounding dish! I can’t really imagine how chocolate and chicken would go together..the only way to know would be to try it. I’m with you with the mindlefulness, though.
I don’t read alot of fiction these days, but when I did have enjoyed cooking what the lead characters are cooking in the book. It just adds a whole new dimension to the way a meal is enjoyed. My favourite has to be cooking from “Tatiana’s Table” by Paullina Simons. It is a final, follow on tribute to her characters in the Bronze Horseman Trilogy. Cooking for the soul, to be sure ;o).
Thanks Christine- I will look that book up at the library. Cooking for the soul always sounds good.
If you are ever after another food/fiction book. “The food of Love”, a really easy read that you would knock back in a day as it is so more-ish. If you have spent time in Italy, and can relate there are some sobbingly funny moments in it and the cooking is lovely.
I know exactly what you mean when you tasted it as I did the same. It’s quite strange but not in a bad way but not in an omg chocolate is so good kind of way too.
I’m glad someone else has said that, I thought it could have been just my cooking 🙂
I’ve read this book a couple of times and now I’ve seen this post I think it’s probably time to read it again. Food, love and good storytelling – aghh!
Its an excellent mix isn’t it.
I’ve always wanted to try Chicken Mole. I have quite a few recipes with all different versions, but I want to try it at a restaurant first so that I have something to compare it to.
btw. I bought the dvd many moons ago and have not watched it yet. I might just pull it out this week and watch it 😀
I hope you like the movie. The mole, yep, trying it in a restaurant probably would have been a better idea first, so I had something to compare it to.
Just talking to someone yesterday about “chocolate chicken” so interesting to see this. I read Laura Esquivel’s book twice (years ago) and recently picked up a used copy at the Goodwill to read again. I realize this post is over three years old, it just caught my eye.