Introduction: Frog Eggs and Foam
Don't worry, no frogs were harmed in the making of this instructable!
What looks like frog's eggs are actually sweet basil seeds; commonly known as sabja, tukmaria or falooda seeds in South Asia. They are mostly used in cold, sweet drinks as they add texture and have cooling properties. They don't have a distinct flavour of their own, so they pair well with anything. They looked so similar to frog eggs, that they inspired this dish. If you can't find these seeds, you can substitute with chia seeds. Here, they add texture to the main dessert.The main dessert is called Ile Flottante, which is a french dessert that consists of cooked meringue floating in a pool of creme anglaise (hence the name, which translates to floating island). I chose this as a base because sometimes frog eggs appear with white foam and meringue was the closest to that. For the soil, I made a chocolate soil. The edible green leaves I used are Waterhysop (Bacopa Monnieri). They are also known as Brahmi in India, where it is commonly used in natural medicines. Though they have numerous health benefits, here I have used them for the way they look - like water lily leaves! Alternatively, you can use mint leaves.
Step 1: Make the Chocolate Soil (Optional)
Chocolate, finely chopped - 2 ounces
Sugar - 2 tablespoons
Water - 2 teaspoons
- Combine water and sugar in a pot. Place over heat and cook till it reaches soft ball stage. You can test by dropping a drop of the syrup in cold water, and if you can roll it into a soft ball, it is done. Take off the heat and immediately add the chocolate and stir around till the chocolate seizes and looks like soil.
Store till needed.
Tip: can be made 2-3 days in advance.
Step 2: Make the Ile Flottante
Eggs, separated - 4
Milk - 2 cups
Sugar - 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons
Vanilla extract - 1 teaspoon
For the creme anglaise:
- Mix the yolks and sugar together till well blended.
- Bring milk to the boil. Take off the heat.
- Add hot milk little by little to the yolk mixture, making sure to whisk it constantly to prevent curdling.
- Put this back on the heat, and cook while stirring constantly till it is thick and coats the back of a spoon. Take off the heat and refrigerate.
For the poached meringue:
- Place a pot of water on the stove and bring it to a boil.
- While the water is coming to a boil, place the egg whites in a bowl. Make sure the bowl is completely dry. Whisk with electric beaters on low speed till foamy. Add a tablespoon of sugar, whisk till completely combined. Add the second tablespoon of sugar, and whisk till stiff peaks form. You can whisk manually, it will just take longer!
- Once the water has come to a boil, using an ice cream scooper, drop scoops of meringue into the simmering water. Cook for 40 seconds, then flip over and cook for an extra 40 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, remove the poached meringue, making sure all the water has drained. Refrigerate till required.
Step 3: Assembly
1. To 2 tablespoons of sweet basil seed or chia seeds, add half cup water and let it soak. Once swollen, drain excess water.
2. Pour a ladle of cold creme anglaise onto your plate or bowl. Place the poached meringue on top. Add a teaspoon of the soaked seeds on top. Place chocolate soil on one side. Garnish with the leaves and serve!
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