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Making edible love

While some of us might get scandalised at just the mention of the 'big word' - aphrodisiac, a sub-stance that increases sexual desire - we know we secretly wonder if they do indeed work. On the frilly occasion of Valentine's, let's talk about the nature's bounty of aphrodisiacs to spice up your after-hour plans. Somya Abrol writes

chandigarh Updated: Feb 14, 2014 13:33 IST
Somya Abrol
Somya Abrol
Hindustan Times

DISCLAIMER: Before feminists raid my inbox about this being another ploy to get women behind kitchen slabs on V-Day, I'd like to humbly request the not-so-fair sex to make an effort this year and please their leading ladies at the dinner table, and after.

While some of us might get scandalised at just the mention of the 'big word' - aphrodisiac, a sub-stance that increases sexual desire - we know we secretly wonder if they do indeed work. And no, we're not suggesting pills or 'substances that lower inhibitions'. On the frilly occasion of Valentine's, let's talk about the nature's bounty of aphrodisiacs to spice up your after-hour plans. While experts all over the world argue about the placebo effect coming into play on consuming substance we believe are aphrodisiacs, we don't really mind going with the odds, now, do we?

Nutritionist & dietician and director of Natural Health Care Clinic, Panchkula, Mansi Chatrath believes that natural aphrodisiacs - chocolates, honey, beetroot, figs etc - trigger our 'happy hormones' to make us feel the way they do. "Almost all aphrodisiacs govern the levels of our body's testosterone production - the hormone responsible for sexual characteristics in both men and women. Chocolate, for instance, induces an adrenaline rush and acts like a natural mood up-lifter," says Mansi.

So, even if your day isn't governed by the commercial, materialistic outlook on love that the society has come to associate Valentine's Day with, here's a list of five of our special natural aphrodisiacs, how they help our natural drive, and hassle-free techniques to please all sens


If some historians are to be believed, fig was touted to be the original ‘forbidden fruit’, the true temptress, if you may. “This soft, plump fruit is a fine source of iron and potassium minerals, much needed in the horizontal pas de deux. The fruit has been long thought of as an arousing stimulant,” says Mansi. CAKE


450 gm plain flour

3 gm baking powder

3 gm bicarbonate of soda

100 gm breakfast sugar

50 gm unsalted butter, melted 4 egg, lightly beaten

110 gm figs puree


Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fanforced. Grease round cake pan. Sprinkle with flour. Crack eggs with the breakfast sugar in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat on high speed for 10 minutes or until thick and creamy and the sugar is dissolved. Transfer to a large bowl. Using a large metal spoon, fold in sifted flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and unsalted butter, melted. Then add fig puree. Place batter in the mould. Spread with spatula. Top with figs. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

Recipe contributed by chef Amit Jassar, chocodate Chandigarh


A no-brainer, this. Several studies suggest that chocolate contains phenylethylamine – the ‘love chemical’ – and serotonin – the ‘feel good’ chemical. These are the hormones produced by our body when we feel happy or passionate, hence, creating a feeling of euphoria, the kinds we feel when we’re in ‘love’. “Chocolate contains something called anadamide – the substance responsible for making us feel ‘happy high’,” says Mansi. While you can cop out of an hour in the kitchen and just hand her a chocolate – though a man who doesn’t believe in making an effort is an instant turn-off ( just saying) – find an uber cool, out-of-thebox recipe below, in case you are indeed in the mood.


Eating chili peppers generates physiological responses in our bodies like sweating, increased heart rate and circulation, quite similar to…you know what. “The capsaicin chilies contain is responsible for the effects and is also a good pain reliever,” says Mansi. Spicing up your culinary instincts further, here are two recipes of ingredients you never thought you’d experiment with, together. HOT CHOCOLATE

150 ml melted chocolate
120 ml Milk Pinch of chili flakes

The first thing you want to do is to dissolve the chocolate in warm milk, and the easiest way to do that is to break it up into small chunks, add a small amount of milk and zap it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Be careful not to overdo it, as chocolate burns easily. You should get rid of any lumps and grainy bits. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to add the rest of the milk, stirring to mix it well with your warm chocolate. The secret is the right kind of chocolate. Don’t be cheap! Finally, pour the mixture into a glass and add chilly flakes. Serve immediately.

Recipe contributed by Oony Singh, the mixologist, Chocodate, Chandigarh


100 gm dark chocolate

100 gm milk chocolate

200 ml double cream

200 ml milk

50 grams sugar

2 fresh red chilies (deseeded and chopped)

Place the milk chocolate with the milk and the dark chocolate to melt. Mix well again, until mixture becomes homogeneous. Then, incorporate beaten cream, mixed up until last, like whipped cream. Then add the chilies to give the heat to your ice cream. Put in the freezer for a few hours till it sets.

Recipe contributed by Monica Sood, Monica’s, Chandigarh


Legend has it that monks were forbidden from consuming garlic, thanks to its ‘arousal’ properties. Why go far, take the Hindu preaching of onion and garlic being ‘taamsik’ food. The logic? “Garlic is full of allicin, an ingredient that increases blood flow, and hence, sexual desire,” reveals Mansi. Though you would have to resort to some strong mint after serving this to your beloved, it’s worth a shot!


1 bowl spaghetti (boiled and drained)

30 ml olive oil

8 garlic cloves

1/2 tbsp celery (chopped)

Red chili flakes to taste

10 gm onion

15 gm parsley

30 ml white wine

15 gm Parmesan cheese

1/2 tbsp oregano

Salt to taste

1 tbsp roasted garlic

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a pan. Saute onion, garlic and celery, stirring frequently. Then, add some white wine, just enough for flavour. Add spaghetti and mix well with onion, garlic and white wine. Season it with salt, oregano, chili flakes and roasted garlic. Just before taking it off the heat, sprinkle some Parmesan cheese and finely chopped parsley. Serve hot with garlic bread and drizzle some olive oil on top of the spaghetti.

Recipe contributed by chef Amit Jassar, chocodate Chandigarh


Other than it being naturally coloured with ‘love’, beetroot is a fun ingredient to work with, especially if you’re cooking with your loved one. Beets also contain high amounts of boron, which is directly connected to production of sex hormones in humans. It also contains betaine, a substance that relaxes the mind, and is often used to treat depression. Fun fact: Beetroot was used as an effective aphrodisiac during Roman times. Besides, the beetroot recipe we have for you is going to make you jump in your chair.


Olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
500ml vegetable stock
250gm beetroot, rinsed and coarsely grated
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
150gm Arborio risotto rice
100ml white wine
1 tbsp Parmesan cheese, finely grated
Fresh oregano and basil leaves
50gm fresh mozzarella cheese


Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, add the onions and cook gently for five minutes until softened. Meanwhile, heat the stock and 100ml water in a small pan with half the grated beetroot. Cover and keep warm. Add the garlic to the onion pan and cook for a further minute, then stir in the rice.

Cook for a minute, stirring until the rice is coated in the butter, then pour over the wine and allow it to sizzle and reduce. Gradually add the hot stock, a ladleful at a time. Stir well and allow the stock to be absorbed by the rice before adding the next ladleful. When you’ve added almost all the stock, fold through the rest of the beetroot and continue to cook until you have a soft and creamy risotto. Stir through the mozzarella cheese and fresh herbs. Top with Parmesan cheese and a grinding of black pepper. Serve hot.

Recipe contributed by Monica Sood, Monica’s, Chandigarh

First Published: Feb 14, 2014 11:56 IST