Skip to main content

Like Water for Chocolate

Laura Esquivels' first novel could have been a simple love story of two star crossed lovers. Instead, Tita and Pedro become characters in something that's part fable and part fantasy. Set in Mexico, and published in monthly instalments, the novel has a chapter for each month of the year.

Because so much in Tita's life in linked to the kitchen and the food she cooks, every chapter starts with a recipe. The dishes may look ordinary at first glance but their effect on the book's cast is nothing short of magical. With every passing month, the book's magic draws you to Mexico and its strange ancient traditions.

So much in the book is linked to weddings that I decided to bake Mexican wedding cookies in honor of the book.



Also called snowballs, these are really gorgeous cookies. The recipe comes straight from Lottie & Doof, although I replaced pecans with walnuts. As a quick recap, toast 1/2 cup walnuts and chill them. Measure out 1/3 cup icing sugar and use 2 tbsp of that to mix with walnuts. Grind the walnuts+sugar finely in a processor.

Beat 100 grams softened butter with the remaining sugar. Add 1/2 tsp vanilla essence and mix it in. Add the ground walnuts, mix well and then add a cup of plain flour. Mix everything until thoroughly combined. Roll into 1-inch balls, place on a baking sheet lined with parchment and bake in an oven preheated to 170C for 15-20 minutes (or until the cookies get to light golden).

Let cool completely, then sift icing sugar all over the cookies.

If you'd like to see more Mexican treats, head over to the book club for other members' take on the book.

Comments

Anonymous said…
They do look like snow balls! So pretty! :)
notyet100 said…
Will look for this book :) cookies look delicious
Unknown said…
These look adorable! I've always wanted to try these cookies :D

Popular posts from this blog

Tales of A Female Nomad

This month, our book club goes on a nomadic tour. We traveled with Rita Golden Gelman, a writer who sold everything she owned after the shock of a divorce and became a nomad. Not a tourist, because Rita stays away from everything that a tourist does and instead, tries to live the lives of people she visits.

From Mexico to Israel to Galapago Islands, Rita goes the way least traveled, always preferring to stay as a boarder with natives. And sometimes, going to places not even locals will go, places so secluded yet beautiful that Rita's description takes your breath away, urges you to become a nomad yourself.

Yet even nomads sometimes find their roots. Rita found hers in Bali where she spent eight years. Starting as a boarder with a prince, she eventually became a part of the family. I instantly knew I wanted to cook something Indonesian. I picked Nasi Goreng, the Indonesian fried rice.



There are as many recipes for Nasi Goreng as there are cooks. Some use tomatoes, others tamarind.…

The Bread Whisperer

What do an electrical engineer, a monk and an IT trainer have in common? These are all the things Abhilash was before he turned his attention to bread baking. Not the one to pick an easy path, Abhilash started with the most temperamental of breads - the sourdough - as his baking adventure. At first, he was baking these loaves for himself. Accolades from friends and family quickly followed and much to the delight of this writer, he turned his passion into a full time career six months back.

For the uninitiated, a sourdough bread is made by fermenting the dough with naturally occurring yeast, making it harder to perfect than the bread made with commercial yeast. The bread's signature tang and the open crumb, with lots of holes, is only made better with a high hydration dough that is super tricky to master. While extremely popular around the world, good sourdough is an elusive commodity in Mumbai and there are only a handful of bakers I would trust when I am looking for bread.

Thoro…

Mystery Fruit

This only happened a few times every year, just when the rainy season kicked in. A street hawker will come by, straw basket on head. He will yell "kaul chapni" and I will run out to buy a bundle of these. Stuck together like flowers, they looked like a bouquet. Every hole contains a little fruit. You break out the package, peel the tiny fruit that pops out and eat it. Done slowly, it can take you an hour to eat an head. Or did, when I was about 12 years old.

That was the last time I saw this fruit. I've never seen it again, didn't even know what it was called or where it came from. Three weeks back, Vikram Doctor wrote about a store in Khar that sells Sindhi foods. He described this fruit and I knew it came from my vivid childhood memories. And finally, I knew we were talking about lotus fruit.

Now talk about coincidences. Last weekend, I was passing by a lane in Bandra and for the first time in many, many years I saw the straw basket filled with my mytery fruit. It…