Food

Eat healthy and tasty

Eat healthy and tasty

Eat healthy and tasty  

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On the making of a creamy vegan dessert that ticks all the right boxes

People who have been a source of inspiration to me on my food journey have always encouraged me to follow a ‘fit for life’ plan, i.e. to adopt a healthy eating practice without falling prey to any one particular diet routine. By and large, that has allowed me to view an ingredient for what it truly is rather than follow extremes.

The one sustainable change that I have been able to achieve at home is to keep refined foods at bay for the most part. The only time I’m challenged by that is when one of the children requests cupcakes with frosting, as I am yet to find a substitute for that icing sugar. But all other desserts have undergone a happy make-over with no alteration to the taste. Coconut blossom sugar, karupatti, forest honey and agave syrup are all natural sweeteners that, along with whole grain flours, keep my cake and cookie recipes going.

Recently I saw a vegan food post on Instagram where a home cook blended bananas and avocado to make chocolate mousse by adding natural cocoa. What impressed me most was the texture. It looked so creamy and spot on that I just had to give it a try. Another motivating factor was that my kids will eat any fruit or vegetable, except the banana. Go figure!

So ‘operation vegan mousse’ began. The bananas needed a day to freeze before being blended. An opportune trip to the mountains helped me get a supply of avocados. All I could think of was how I was going to outsmart these banana haters. With no precise measurements to look at, the frozen bananas and avocado went into the blender. Within minutes, I had a smooth purée. After adding a few heaped spoonfuls of dark cocoa, I was rewarded with a satiny smooth chocolatey pudding-like mixture. Scared that the kids might get a sniff of the ingredients, I added a dash of vanilla extract for aroma.

Having succeeded in the vegan dessert experiment, I thought of taking it a step further and making a base for this creamy chocolate filling. After quickly blitzing walnuts and oats, I mixed the crumbs with a spoonful of virgin coconut oil, pressed them to the bottom of a greased pie dish and baked for a few minutes until brown. Once it cooled, the cold cocoa-blended mixture was spooned in and refrigerated for a few hours.

Soon it was time to taste. The first slices were wolfed down and then suspicion set in after one look at my smug expression. “This isn’t your usual chocolate cheesecake, is it? What’s in it then? BANANA?” Thankfully they know me too well to push their luck and that proved a happy ending to my maiden vegan chocolate tart.

More often than not, we think that healthy eating is about deprivation. It doesn’t have to be. Indian food is loaded with healthy ingredients that, with a little effort, can be special both in terms of flavour and presentation. Considering that we ‘eat with our eyes’, there’s no harm in indulging in pretty food every now and then, is there?

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Printable version | Dec 10, 2019 4:43:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/making-a-chocolate-mousse-the-vegan-way/article22620020.ece

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