Mmmmmm….the tantalising taste, the smooth fleshy feel, or the velvety texture…the arousing aroma, the suggestive shapes, or the evocation of pure luxury…There are many factors at play that tout a food for being an aphrodisiac. Some are more obvious than others; most of us consider the undisputed kings of aphrodisiacs to be chocolate and strawberries. Chocolate has been used to stoke the flames of passion for centuries and I’ve read that Casanova, ‘the greatest lover in the world’ would top-up on it before entering the boudoir. But surely, amore is not just for Valentine’s Day and strawberries dipped in warm chocolate, as sensually satisfying as they may be, don’t make a meal.
A flirt with powerful tasting Indian Vegetarian Foods may prove a novel experience for you and your partner, so here I give you some luring suggestions. Serve hot and leave your partner lusting for more!
Kesar Badam Milk
It only dawned on me how packed full of aphrodisiac ingredients this hot and aromatic milk is, when I started researching this topic. I couldn’t believe how well crafted this delicious love-potion actually is.
One of the key ingredients is almonds, which are associated with passion and fertility. The aroma of almonds is alleged to excite women and is therefore a common ingredient in creams and soaps. Well, I never. The other prime ingredient is saffron. Now, decadent saffron not only looks stunning when infused into milk, but apparently some studies suggest that it contains properties that stimulate libido and the erogenous zones.
It only gets better and better. This drink is sweetened with honey, known as Aphrodite’s (the Greek mythological goddess of love, beauty and sexual rapture) nectar. This liquid gold is even mentioned in the Kama Sutra and the Perfumed Garden, where it is said that honey spiced with nutmeg (funnily enough another ingredient in this milk) is said to heighten orgasm.
Lastly, exotic scented cardamom is added to the drink. So now I understand why I’ve seen (in Indian movies) this drink being served on wedding nights and confusingly perhaps is why this drink is served at engagements…hmmmm….
Anjeer (fig) halwa
This sumptuous sweet dish is bursting with fleshy figs. In some Southern European countries wedding guests throw figs (instead of rice) at the newlyweds, as a sign of fertility and I learned recently that since Adam and Eve adorned themselves with fig leaves, they have become a symbol of fertility. Maybe its aphrodisiac claims are based on its appearance? With this in mind, I would adapt the traditional recipe for fig halwa, which calls for the figs to be almost pureed, to leave into a mushy consistency with some larger chunks.
Fig halwa is made by 200g of figs, 3tbsp ghee, ½ cup of blanched almonds (blanched, peeled and powdered), 1/3 cup milk powder, 4tbsp of sugar, ¼ tsp cardamom powder. It’s so simple to make; just boil the figs in water for about 5 minute and then process to a mash, don’t forget to leave some chunky bits in there. Heat the ghee and then add the powdered almonds and the cardamom, sauté for a couple of minutes before adding the figs, milk powder, sugar and ½ cup of water. Serve steaming hot.
Phallic illusions aside, bananas have a lot to offer the world of romance. They are pumped with nutrients essential to sexual hormone production. In many cultures across the world, the banana is considered to be the fruit symbolising fertility. Why not couple your banana up with one more, sexy ingredient?
I suggest banana and pomegranate raitha. The sparkly red seeds of pomegranate are also said to have aphrodisiac properties in themselves, so this cooling yogurt based condiment is a real treat. Peel and slice a banana, take a handful of the ruby red jewels and douse them in about 450g of natural plain yogurt. Add some chopped coriander leaves, a little chilli powder and a sprinkling of cumin powder and paprika. Sensational.
If you are in the mood for something more fiery, a spicy mock-chicken and banana curry may just hit the spot; this curry will really play on the tongue with its sweet-hot-soft-firm textures.
- In some hot oil fry some cumin and then as it crackles, add a sliced red onion, a couple of cloves of garlic a small stick of cinnamon and a couple of cloves.
- Stir in a couple of red chillies, turmeric and a bay leaf and sauté.
- Add about 250g of vegetarian chicken pieces and then mix in some salt, ground coriander (1tsp) and (1/2 tsp) cumin and ½ tsp of garam masala.
- Add the two chopped tomatoes cook for about 7 minutes before adding a chopped banana (firm).
- Grate about 10g of ginger and cook a further 5-6minutes. Serve this impactful dish with steaming hot rice.
Tomatoes; the ‘Love Apple’?
This narcotic red fruit has been proven in some studies to prevent sperm from dying off, but most of us would doubt the sexiness of a bowl of tomato soup. So perhaps piercing the skin of a sun-warmed and ripe freshly picked tomato is more of a sensual experience? Makes sense then, that some call it the ‘other’ forbidden fruit.
In terms of Indian inspiration for tomato recipes, let’s start with the obvious; yes, tomato curry.
- Simply fry off, in some cumin, a couple of green chillies, a small stick of cinnamon, a sprig of curry leaves and 2 cloves of garlic and roughly 3 spring onions.
- Add about 5-6 chopped tomatoes and then season with salt, 1 tsp of coriander powder, 1 tsp of turmeric powder, ¼ tsp of turmeric, and ½ tsp of garam masala.
- Simmer for a couple of minutes before adding ½ cup of peas.
- Simmer until the tomatoes have reduced to a pulpy consistency, before garnishing with coriander.
Keeping in mind the potential effects of keeping the tomatoes untainted (therefore uncooked) how does a smooth tomato salad tickle your fancy? I use baby plum tomatoes, a handful of freshly chopped coriander, toasted cashew nuts, a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkling of cumin powder.
I will leave you with my last offering; stuffed tomatoes.
- Take 8 tomatoes, halve them then scoop out the pulp. Make a stuffing using ½ cup coarsely mashed boiled peas, 2 potatoes (mashed) 1 cup of crumbly paneer (freshly made Indian Cheese.
- Alternatively, grate some shop-bought paneer). Spice the mix with dried mango powder, ½ tsp garam masala, 1 tsp of aniseed, 2-3 chopped green chillies, and coriander leaves.
- Mix it all together really and then bake in a hot oven until the tomatoes are tender.
Food is all about a mind-body connection, so with a little planning and a touch of skill, I hope you get elevation you are looking for.