Skip to main content

Espresso


Fifteen years back, when the first chain of coffee shops opened in India, customers were understandably puzzled by the espresso that showed up on the menus. Until then, expresso (notice the different spelling) referred to a small, drum like machine that spewed out foamy, milky Nescafe coffees. Expresso stalls were de rigueur at weddings and in winters in Northern India, you could pick a styrofoam cup of steaming coffee in neighbourhood markets.

Espresso on the other hand is everything that's good with Italian coffee. By forcing a small amount of water with a lot of pressure through ground coffee beans, you get deep, dark coffee flavours crowned with a lighter foam called crema. Making good espresso requires a combination of sophisticated equipment and barista skills, which means that it remains a drink more suited for cafes than home brewing.

I am firmly in the sweet, milky coffee camp so while I don't relish espresso per se, I am a big fan of cappuccinos and lattes that are based on a good espresso. Now home espresso machines abound but they are never going to match the café quality. Instead, the way to get good espresso at home is something much simpler - a stovetop moka pot. The process is no harder than making a filter coffee. The moka pot comes in three parts. You fill the bottom container with water, fix the little perforated disc and fill it with coffee and finally, fix the top container and put the pot back together. This goes on the stove on a medium flame and five minutes later, the top container is filled with coffee.

My moka pot was crafted by Bialetti and it made the trek all the way from Italy to US and then through a friend visiting India, to all the way home. Before I could get that coffee though, and before you make your first cup of espresso with a moka pot, there is seasoning to do. To take the edge off fresh metal that will make the espresso bitter, you make 4-5 fake cups of coffee. I mean, they are real cups of coffee, except you don't drink them. Make, throw, rinse, repeat for the first four times and the fifth cup of espresso is all yours. You don't get much of a crema but the espresso compares with the best out there.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

I've found my perfect cookie

It's a bite sized cookie, with flavors of a pie, shape of a croissant and a pretty, pretty name. It's Rugelach. I first heard of this cookie when it became the baking pick for Tuesdays with Dorrie a couple of months back. The looks, the concept - everything was fascinating. And I've dreamed of making this cookie ever since. I ditched hundreds of recipes floating around and went straight to the master. It's Dorie Greenspan's recipe that I used, and ain't I glad I got it so perfect the very first time. So what's rugelach? It's cream-cheese pastry dough, rolled then cut into wedges, spread with jam and sugar and fillings of choice, rolled into crescents and baked. First the dough. Dorie did it in her processor, but I just went and did it by hand. Put 100 gms cream cheese and 100 gms butter out of the fridge until they were soft but still cold. Added both to a cup of plain flour (I omitted the salt because I use salted butter). Rubbed the flour and but

Announcing AWED : Britain

Before I ate my first Italian wood fired pizza, before I went to that swanky Japanese sushi bar for the first time, or the neighborhood Chinese joint, the first non-Indian cuisine I encountered was British. Not real food, mind you, but the tempting, oh so delicious descriptions in my favorite novels. From Enid Blyton to Jane Austen to P.G. Wodehouse, every favorite character in every favorite novel seems to have food on their mind. Yes, British food gets ridiculed a lot. But forget their main course dishes for now, and think of the full English breakfast and the elegant afternoon teas. Then try imagining the world without cucumber sandwiches or potato chips and you will realize you can't do without British food. Which is why when I saw that DK was looking for hosts for her monthly event AWED (A Worldly Epicurean's Delight) and there has never been a British AWED, I promptly signed up. The rules are simple really: Make any vegetarian or vegan British dish (eggs are

Aloo Paranthas

In all these years of blogging, I've somehow never managed to talk about aloo paranthas, the potato stuffed flatbread that's a standard breakfast in North India. Possibly because they are such a staple in our home, I found there wouldn't be enough interest in the recipe. But I've also realised over time that my mom's recipe is unique, using a combination of flavours and spices that make these paranthas delicious. But that's not the only reason for this post. I also wanted to tell you about a super cool party and some ways we found to make aloo paranthas even better and believe it or not, healthier. The party in question was hosted by Rushina at her cooking studio a few months back. For a while now, Rushina has been talking about the merits of cling film, parchment and something called cooking foil made by Asahi Kasei. Because we won't believe that you can really cook without oil but using science, she invited a bunch of us over for a potluck lunch.