I’m Riz. I’m the voice, recipe developer, and photographer behind Chocolates & Chai. I relate to people who love, think, and speak from the stomach. And I’d love for us to be friends. Good friends. Best friends, even! Okay, bestie?
I live in Toronto, Canada though I’ve grown up all over the world – I was born in the Middle East (though my background is actually Indian-Bengali), I studied in England and France, worked in the Middle East again, and then immigrated to Canada in 2013. Yeah, I’m a little confused about where I’m from…but let’s not let that get between us!
You’ll relate to me if you value a good homecooked meal, enjoy a bit of witty repartee, and can appreciate an eggcellent pun.
I’m the type of person that wonders, if it could, would food write about itself? Would it be vain, talking about how delicious and in demand it is? Or would it be introspective, reflecting on its short lifespan in the space between plates and mouths? Perhaps we’d advise food to find a creative outlet, maybe talk to a professional about its thoughts?
Maybe that’s a little what this blog is like too.
Tell me about the blog already!
Okay, okay! Chocolates & Chai is a food blog for lovers of comfort food, dessert, and brunch. Inspired by international cuisine, the blog is all about finding the love and the story behind every meal.
I started Chocolates & Chai in 2015 as a way of sharing recipes with my friends and family around the world. And I feel very lucky to now be able to share it with you too!
Oh, and see the owl up top? …Right up in my logo…that’s Hootie. He’s always sleepy, and occasionally a tad bit grumpy (like me! Just kidding, I’m like a ray of sunshine. You’ll love me!). His proper name is Hoot Daddy because…well, because I make bad decisions sometimes. So, we’ll just call him Hootie. Cool? Cool.
My food philosophy:
Delicious. Simple. Easy on the eyes.
That is, I will only ever give you delicious recipes that I’ve tested over and over again. If I can make them healthy at the same time, that’ll be a bonus. But my focus is on good ol’ fashioned wholesome flavours. I like cooking the type of meal that people keep talking about for years to come (you know, in a good way!). And I love sharing my recipes so you can too!
I think there’s a beauty to simplicity. That’s why I opt for a simple approach to the kitchen whenever possible. My recipes are easy, and avoid using difficult to obtain ingredients and equipment. I want you to be able to cook with as little fuss as possible.
Easy on the eyes – Let’s cook that showstopper of a meal together! I believe in authentic representations of food and recipes. Everything you see here is natural, honest-to-goodness, homecooked deliciousness. No crazy food styling tricks, none of those gross sprays that make things look better (while rendering them completely inedible). Food is beautiful, naturally.
Heck, the vast majority of my photos are shot in natural light. And if I can make beautiful food in my teeny tiny condo kitchen, you can too bestie. (After all, it’s one thing for me to tell you how delicious something is, it’s another thing entirely for you to be able to see it!)
What you will find on my blog:
- Crazy, delicious recipes.
- A whole lot of comfort food, dessert, and brunch recipes. (And occasionally a little something else. Variety is the spice of life and all that…!)
- Tried and tested recipes. I spend a lot of time testing and revising my recipes to make sure they work when cooked properly. To this end, I include tips, tricks, and any other bits of helpful information in every post!
What you won’t find on my blog:
- I don’t follow food trends. If you are also hiding from that low-calorie charcoal-flavoured ice cream that tastes like washing liquid, this is a safe place. I promise.
- Apples are poisonous. (No, seriously… I’m allergic to apples. I’m like Snow White, except I’m not as white as snow. And I’m a guy. And well basically nothing like her, except for the apple part.)
- Eggplants are my mortal enemy.
- Coriander and I usually aren’t great friends. It doesn’t taste like soap, I just can’t stand the smell (though I tend to fare better when it’s used in a curry…so you might find it used sparingly).
Looking for where to go next? I can help! If you’re new to reading recipes, I highly recommend you start by going through How to Read a Recipe Post. If you’re just in the mood to browse, my homepage is a great place to start (you can get there from any page on my blog by clicking HOME in the top menu, or by clicking on Hootie, at the very top of the page) – it’s where you’ll find what I’ve published most recently!
If you happen to be looking for something specific – hop on over to the RECIPES section, and have a browse through the relevant category page. Or just type it into the search bar above.
And if you’re not sure where you want to go next, that’s okay too. Here are a few of my favourite posts to help you get started:
- Fluffy, Fluffy Pancakes
- Hong Kong Style French Toast
- Japanese Souffle Pancakes
- Nutella & Dark Chocolate French Toast
- Chaliapin Steak
- 5-minute Chocolate Mug Cake
Keep In Touch!
Hey, hey…bestie, wait! Before you go! Don’t forget to follow me on my different social channels – each one demonstrates a different side of who I am, and what I do.
Facebook – my Facebook page is about sharing my videos and recipes, while getting to know you through jokes and fun polls. Occasionally, I’ll receive photos of things that have been cooked by readers using my recipes here, and that’s lovely!
Instagram – this is where most people chat to me. I post photos of all the delicious food I’ve been eating here in Toronto. It’s typically photos from restaurants and events I’ve been attending, but it also includes my homecooked meals (and a few recipes!). If you make one of my recipes be sure to share it with my by tagging me and using the #chocolatesandchai hashtag.
Twitter – you’ll see a whole other side to me on Twitter. I tweet about my life, things that make me happy (or umm, not-so-happy!), and yummy, delicious food too (no surprise there, right?). If you want to see what life is like behind the scenes for a blogger, this would be the place for you.
YouTube – if you’re not a big fan of reading, you’ll probably want to subscribe and get things in video format. (Also, congratulations on making it this far! I’ve been waffling on for 1,450 words.)
And if you want to be a part of The Besties Club, be sure to sign up for my email mailing list below. I’ll drop you a quick email to let you know about newly published recipes, and occasionally an update email so we can catch up on life, the weather, and whatever else you’re in the mood to talk about.
And of course, you can always reach out to me through my Contact page or by leaving a comment on a blog post. I do my best to always respond in a timely(-ish) fashion.
Talk to you soon, bestie!
Where else can you find me?
Good question! In case you’re interested in learning about my other passions, you can find me at:
Bad Cyclist – this is my “baby” blog about cycling. It’s a passion project that I’ve been very slowly working on.
Rizwan Asad – this is my Author website. If you’re interested in reading any of my stories or books, this is the place to go!
love it! keep it up! 🙂
Thank you so much!
Hi. I found your blog through FBC. I also like chocolates and chai. And baking. And eating. Nice to meet you!
Hi Felechia! Thanks for commenting. I followed your link back to Leafy Greens & Chocolate – I love your logo! And your plans to direct income towards the International Humane Society are lovely. I’ve subscribed to your RSS feed and am looking forward to your updates. 🙂
(In the meantime, I think I’ll have to try out that Vegan Cookies recipe!)
This blog naturally appeals to me as I love both chocolates and chai!! Your photographs are the hook – people eat with their eyes first. I’m going to try making the chocolate chip cookies first. The trick with the sea salt seems genius! Thank you for sharing your ideas!
Thanks Minnat Khala!
I hope you enjoy them. I try adding sea salt to everything with chocolate! haha
Hahahaha love it! Ur freaking adorable! I was smiling ear to ear reading ur exerpts: love that writing style ..it is positively GOOBIE! (I.e. Cute n fluffy) and what a popular subject.. mmmm… U should make a joint venture with this tiny mini cupcakes place on bay st. and Walton st. (Or elm st – opposite Eaton Chelsea hotel) Do check it out! ♡ ☆☆☆☆☆ ♡ and keep goingggg ! !!!
Goobie? LOL. I love that word. I’m going to try and work it into one of my posts 🙂
Introduce me to this tiny mini cupcakes place, and maybe I can collaborate with them.
Thanks so much for your lovely comment!
You are allergic to apples *mibdblown*
You should blog more, its torture for your readers when you don’t 🙂
Thanks! So nice of you to say, I’ll definitely try to blog more often (I’m just very picky about which recipes I share, nothing but the best for my readers!)! 🙂
Must say, you have a beautiful space out here!
Simply loved the idea of breakfast and desserts..
great going 🙂
My housemate and i came across your recipe for fluffy pancakes while craving something that would satisfy our (major) sweet tooth 😛 And I have to say, I absolutely *adore* your writing style. It somehow just manages to put a smile on my face. We get such a quaint kind of vibe from your blog too. Love it all!
Your other recipes look absolutely mouth-watering as well. Can’t wait to see how these pancakes turn out. We’ll be back, gonna go fry up some pancakes! 😉 x
Hey there Lauren!
Thank you so much for your lovely comment! (It’s one of my favourite comments this year!)
I hope you got to try out the pancakes (and some of the other recipes too), and I *REALLY* hope you enjoyed them! 🙂
Hello Riz! I came across your blog from Tasty Kitchen. Very nice. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on coriander, I do think it can taste like soap, but in curry it renders immense value:-) Going to peruse some and see if I can “borrow”and try a few recipes 🙂
Hi Tisa! Welcome! Hope you enjoy my blog 🙂
(And you’re right, curry makes coriander much more bearable!)
Tried your fluffy pancake recipe and WOW it’s indeed delicious and looks fantestic too! (wish I couid share my pancake photos with you)
Love it so much that I’m planning to invite and cook it again this weekend for my sisters and friends.
Many thanks and look forward to try other receipes of yours soon.
Hey Florence! I’m so glad you enjoyed the pancakes so much! (I’d love to see your photos! You can either share them on my Facebook page or Instagram, or you can email them directly to me riz
chocolatesandchai com )
Nice to know about you.I follow you at Instagram. Well you need to try some eggplant Indian delicacy ,may be after it will be your good neighbour. 🙂
Hey! Thanks for visiting! And double-thanks for following my Instagram! I’m going to check out your site later tonight 🙂
You took me out?! ???
Not at all… you’re in the Chaliapin Steak recipe post!
Keep up the good work Bro
Thanks! I’ll do my best!
Denise from Urb'n'Spice
You had me from the very first paragraph, Riz. It was quite profound and entertaining. I followed your Facebook page as well. I am enjoying going through your recipes.
Awww….thanks Denise!!! I’m going to check your site out right now 🙂
Love your blog! Found you via FBP. Look forward to reading more posts from you.
Hi Archana! I’m so glad you found me! HELLO FELLOW FBP-er! 😀 I hope you enjoy the blog! I’m going to check out Ministry of Curry!
I just found this blog & I love it!!
You had me at breakfast & dessert, I am all about baked goods.
I am pro-coriander but I think that comes from my huge love of Vietnamese food, especially Bánh Mì.
Expect a new follower on Instagram!!
Hi Amanda! Thank you so much for your lovely comment! I’m so glad you found me!
…mmmm, I love Banh mi! It’s one of the dishes that makes me forget about my true feelings towards coriander.
nice information, i enjoyed reading it.
Thanks Shruthi! I hope you enjoy the recipes too 🙂
I love this blog and the philosophy behind it! I too am dedicated to perfecting recipes (*cough* hot chocolate) and can’t wait to try your version. You dont seem to have any recipes for masala chai, though! I’d be curious to try your recipe, if you have one, out.
Hi Diana! Thank you so much for your lovely comment! I hope you enjoy the hot chocolate recipe (it’s actually been a long time since I’ve had it myself, I think you’ve inspired me to make it too!). I don’t have a masala chai recipe, but it is something my parents/grandparents made regularly while I was growing up. And it’s on my list of recipes to work on! Watch this space (or really the homepage) !!
In the meantime, if you’ve got a recipe or any tricks that work for you, I’d love to hear them 🙂
Hi Riz— thanks for providing such an entertaining and eye opening blog. I’m not much of a foodie, but you’ve definitely got me trying different recipes.
Hey Steve!! Thanks so much for checking out my blog, I’m so happy to hear you enjoy it, and have been inspired to try a few new things in the kitchen!!
Afif here, your blog is awsome, I told my mom about it guess what she is loving it too.
Keep the good work
Thanks so much! Really appreciate your kind words, and say thank you to your mum as well!!!
Hi Riz! I’ve been making your fluffy fluffy pancake recipe for over a year now, and it is still by far my favorite (and requested by those who taste it as well!) I just got around to reading your “about” page and it had me laughing out loud! Awesome to get to know you better, and I’m looking forward to reading more of your recipes soon!
Hi Catherine! Thanks so much for saying Hi! And thank you for making the pancakes, I’m really glad to hear you’ve enjoyed them for so long. And yaay, I’m happy you got to know me a little better through this page, and I hope you enjoy the other recipes too! Please do drop me a line whenever you do try, and let me know what you thought them! 🙂
Kamon Acho? ! : ). I am a Bengali too and been in USA for 20 + years now. Me and my two young boys wanted something sweet for dessert… so we googled for a quick fix and lo came across your chocolate cake in a cup !! :). The boys enjoyed a lot in making and eating !
Thank you for the recipe !
Ami bhalo achi! Thank you for asking! I’m so happy to hear you found me and that my chocolate mug cake recipe was able to help you and your boys! I hope all of you come back again soon, I’ll start working on more mug cakes 🙂