Chocolate and Cardamom Panna Cotta

Food Network’s Reza Mahammad serves up a fusion dessert inspired by his fave spice
Thursday , 11 April 2013
Panna Cotta
Panna Cotta
Garlic, onion and ginger are the holy trinity. This is the core. And some chilli too!
Garlic, onion and ginger are the holy trinity. This is the core. And some chilli too!

INGREDIENTS

220g dark chocolate,
70 per cent solids
400ml whipping cream
200ml milk
100g castor sugar
1 tsp ground cardamom
3 gelatin leaves

FOR THE ROSE SYRUP
6 tbsp rose syrup
½ tsp ground cardamom
1 lime, zest and juice

TO SERVE
Pomegranate seeds
2 tbsp slivered pistachios
Rose petals
Mint leaves

METHOD
1 Melt the chocolate with the cream, milk and sugar in a heatproof bowl suspended over a pot of simmering water.
2 Once melted, whisk lightly until the sugar dissolves, then stir in the cardamom.  Meanwhile, soak the gelatin leaves in cold water for 5 minutes. Squeeze out the excess water and dissolve in the warm chocolate mixture. Pour into moulds and allow to set in the fridge for at least an hour.
3 Bring all the ingredients for the rose syrup to a boil with 2 tbsp of water and then bring to the boil and then allow to infuse for 30 minutes.
Strain into a jug and reserve for plating.
4 Unmould the panna cotta and place in centre of plate. Spoon around the rose syrup and garnish with the pomegranate seeds, rose petals and a sprinkling of pistachios.

The United Tastes of Reza 
Fresh from his travels through the African continent, Reza is bubbling over with excitement about his new show Reza’s African Kitchen which is currently on Food Network. He explains that it’s not just about food, but entertainment and culture, “We’re looking at life through the prism of food.”
From reluctant horse rides in Botswana to perusing artisan cheeses in trendy Johannesburg, Reza’s recipes meld these destinations with his love for Indian flavours. He is, undoubtedly, the Spice Prince of India! As he uncovers the customary dishes and local produce of the countries he visits, Reza reinterprets them from his perspective. This is how we come to the creative, yet achievable recipes for lamb shank rogan josh and the cardamom (Reza’s fave!) chocolate panna cotta.
The premise of food being inspirational, but still attainable is central to Reza’s show. The new flavours, ingredients and textures he uncovers inspire him to make the dish his own. And this is his advice for homecooks. “All that complex stuff is great, but you’d expect it in a restaurant. When you’re doing it for the homecook you don’t want it to be so far removed that you actually put people off. You have to minimise. When a recipe has so many ingredients you have to keep the method simple – there has to be a balance.”What’s Reza’s top tip for following a recipe? Look at the method before anything else. “The first thing everyone does is look at the ingredients, I say don’t bother, rather look at the method. Is it doable? If you’re comfortable with the method then you get the ingredients – look at the method first before you go out and get all the ingredients. Even if you have 10 or 20 ingredients you may just have to put them all in a bowl.”

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