Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

Exotic things are always, well, exotic. Mostly becau se they are not in our reach. Be it locations, people or in my case, fruits and vegetables. Zucchini has always puzzled me. It is there in Chinese food and Italian food and is served in all exotic restaurants. However, the concept of the vegetable always seems to have escaped me. Until recently that is.

Hubby dear has a colleague who, I have heard many times, a wonderful garden which he loved to tend. He grows many flowers, fruits and vegetables and does this and does that. All that was fine till we became the recipient of the exotic vegetable Zucchini. Four big fat green pieces of it and I had no idea what to do with them. So hubby and I did some research on it. We found that zucchini, also known as courgette (another puzzle of one more exotic food solved), is a small summer squash very akin to cucumber. However, zucchini being a vegetable, is always served cooked. The texture is different and it is harder than a cucumber. The color of the vegetable might vary from yellow to various shades of green. It can be prepared using a variety of cooking techniques, including steamed, boiled, grilled, stuffed and baked, barbecued, fried, or incorporated in other recipes such as soufflés. It also can be baked into a bread, or incorporated into a cake mix. Its flowers can be eaten stuffed and are a delicacy when deep fried, as tempura.

Wow, I have this amazing vegetable at my disposition and I do not know what to do with it. So I again searched for zucchini recipes. I did find many but since we wanted to thank our dear benefactor, I mainly took the hint from souffle and looked in that direction. I came by a recipe I liked – chocolate zucchini cupcakes. Cupcakes look very serviceable because of their size and are suitable for gift giving purposes.

My adapted recipe is mentioned below. However, after searching high and low, I could not find the most basic thing about zucchini. That is grows back at home in my own garden in India and we call it Turai or Ninua! I have eaten it hundreds of times and have even had the fried tempura flower and man, is it yummy. So much for exotic!

Turai vs Zucchini

Ingredients – Makes 12 cupcakes

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 egg

1 cup grated zucchini

2 tbsp cocoa powder

1 cup white sugar

3/4 cup oil

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 tsp cinnamon powder

1 tbsp orange zest

2 tbsp milk (optional)

1 tbsp slivered almonds

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcake

Beat the egg till light and fluffy. Add oil and sugar and mix well. Then add cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla essence, cinnamon powder and orange zest and mix. Add a little flour at a time and fold gently. Add milk if the batter consistency is too thick. Squeeze out the juice of the grated zucchini and mix it with the batter.

Line a muffin tray with cupcake holders. Fill them upto 2/3rd of the way with the batter and sprinkle some slivered almonds on top. Bake them in a pre-heated oven for 25 mins at 220 degrees C.

Once baked, let them cool on a wire rack. Store in an air-tight box.

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