Sunday, March 27, 2011

Chocolate Chili Panna Cotta

Featured Ingredient: Dried Chili Peppers

Muffin Tin Mania is back in business. Tabi and I had a wonderful 10 weeks cycling through Thailand and Laos (doing our best to avoid roaming elephants). 

Probably the best part of cycling in SE Asia, other than avoiding the dreadful Canadian winter, is the abundance of flavorful and dirt cheap food. Particularly at the Thailand night markets where a hungry cyclist can stuff themselves silly for just a couple bucks. I really wish we had more street food options here other than the ubiquitous hot dog.

Of course, the chili is predominant in the cuisine over there. You have to learn how to communicate that you don’t want things too spicy or you’ll end up with a 5-alarm fire in your mouth. I have no idea how they tolerate the number of chilies they do in stuff like papaya salads. Sometimes 10 times as many as we ask for!

In honor of one of Asia’s most cherished ingredients, I thought I would make use of some Thai dried chilies to whip up this delish panna cotta. You’ll want to adjust the number of chilies you use based on how much heat you like in your chocolate desserts and how hot your red rockets are to begin with. You can also use chili powder or cayenne if you don’t have any dried chilies on hand. If you don’t have silicon muffin cups, I would really recommend using paper liners as these will be challenging to unmold without them.

I’m thinking next time I will use half cream and half yogurt to keep the fat calories lower. Does anyone have any idea if this would work out and set properly?  

Chocolate Chili Panna Cotta

Adapted from

1 cup low-fat milk
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) gelatin
2 cups whipping cream
1/3 cup sugar
4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 or more dried red chilies, crushed (I used a mortar and pestle but you could use the flat side of a chefs knife)

In a bowl, sprinkle gelatin over the milk and let stand 5 minutes. Stir cream and sugar together in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil then remove pan from the heat. Add chocolate and stir until melted. Stir chocolate mixture into milk. Stir in vanilla and chili.

Divide mixture among 12 silicon or paper-lined medium sized muffin cups. Chill in the refrigerator for several hours or until set. Serve garnished with cocoa nibs if desired.

1 comment:

  1. Welcome back Matt! Your trip sounds amazing. I hear ya on the "avoiding Canadian winters" - I've managed to for 3 years now. :)

    The panna cotta sounds wonderful - I haven't ever tried making any yet so I'm not sure about the yogurt...


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