The queen of chocolate cookery, Lal Majid has spent a large percentage of her life making all sorts of chocolate delights and delicacies. With the advent of her patisserie Lals almost eight years ago, Lal was able to make people fall in love with chocolate all over again. She is now ready to let her customers in on her secret with a newly launched cookbook titled Deliciously Yours — Chocolates and Desserts by Lal Majid. The launch took place at the newly opened Lals Patisserie on Khayaban-e-Shahbaz on Wednesday.
“In this book, I’ve given a brief history of chocolate. It’s the first chocolate cookbook in town which shares what real chocolate is made of and its complete composition,” said Lal, adding that she has shared easy recipes along with small technical details on how a perfect dessert is made. A question which has piqued curiosity is why she is sharing her recipes with the world and isn’t keeping them to herself like most discreet chefs and bakers? “Why? Why would I keep these secrets to myself?” she asked. To her, it’s bliss to share them with fellow chocolate lovers.
At the event, guests were treated to several desserts which included caramel éclairs, apple muffins and smoothies with a hint of lemon and American chocolate brownies. Lal believes that the new generation prefers chocolate over local sweets (mithai) and thus, adds more to their happiness. “People are not into local sweets and mithai anymore; they like to celebrate with chocolate instead,” she says. “For all celebratory events, chocolate is what people ask for.”
“Not a lot of people are involved in their work as much as Lal is,” says Kiran Aman of Markings, the book’s publisher. “She is primarily a dessert chef and has completely taken it to another level with her work.” Lal has been to culinary school in order to perfect her cooking/baking skills; she feels it makes a huge difference and it shows in the end product.
How her chocolate fantasy materialised
With radiance and excitement evident on her beaming face, Lal tells The Express Tribune how it all began. As she narrated the tale, she went back 10 years, to the time when she worked as a florist.
Packing and sorting flowers for people was her sole passion and helping her out in their free time were her children Shoaib and Madiha Sultan-Tai. They were the ones who encouraged her to do a little more than just that. “They said to me, ‘Look mom, you are really good at what you do [floral business], so why don’t you add chocolate to it. It will garner more support from your clientele’,” says Lal with a smile about what triggered the idea.
Today, Lal is the proud owner of Lals Patisserie, which not only serves all kinds of chocolate and chocolate desserts but also masters in making gelato. She inspires and teaches young bakers how to immerse oneself in the art of chocolate-making. She admits Lals is famous primarily for its gelato — which she makes seven kilograms daily — and their French macarons.
With two outlets in Karachi, two in Lahore and her cookbook now up for grabs, she plans to open another branch in Peshawar.
American chocolate brownies
• 140 grams of all-purpose flour
• 20 grams of corn flour
• 4 grams of salt
• 150 grams of walnuts
• 2 grams of baking powder
• 50 grams of milk
• 500 grams of white sugar
• 6 large eggs
• 200 grams of melted butter
• 104 grams of dark chocolate
• 4 grams of vanilla extract
• Preheat oven at 180 degrees Celsius (356 degrees Fahrenheit)
• Beat eggs and sugar until the mixture becomes light and fluffy
• In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt; then leave it aside
• In a separate bowl, melt chocolate and butter
• Add this melted chocolate and butter to the egg mixture
• Then add flour, corn flour, baking powder, milk and fold in
• Pour batter into a baking mould and bake for 30 minutes
Published in The Express Tribune, January 11th, 2013.