Hummus in a Hurry !

Oh this is one is going to be such a quick post…

Want a low fat spread?

Want a yummy one at it?

Want spicy, tangy, yummy and not the bland kind?

And one that can be made in a jiffy and not the store bought one?

Oh did I emphasize the yummy , tasty lip smacking part again…???

Alright then off we go on to this journey about how this one came about. Well North Carolina’s sweltering heat can make even the best of the well intentioned people not to venture into the cooks creation place aka kitchen.

Impromptu awesome company..check

Hungry tummies..check

red wine .. check

Take out..meh.

Near bare pantry .. check..

But rummaging through yielded …

  • Garbanzo beans  – small can
  • Sundried tomatoes
  • Dried garlic – yes dried up garlic .. sigh !!
  • Jalapeños – preserved kind
  • red pepper flakes
  • tahini paste

Simple becomes exotic 

  • Drain the can of cooked garbanzo beans. and reserve the water as a just in case requirement.
  • Add 2 tbsp of sundried tomatoes with the some of the oil it has been preserve din.
  • Add about 4 garlic pods – even though mine were sort of dried up and in sorry looking state, it just dry roasted them and added it in to give in the flavor.
  • Add in 2 tbsp of the of sliced Jalapeño  preserves
  • Blend it .Simply blend it.The idea is for this to be fine ground as much much as possible to infuse the hummus with their flavors.
  • Add in the drained garbanzo beans, 2 tbsp of tahini paste and blend till it smooth and creamy.  ( real creamy = faster consumption in my house )
  • That’s it . No seriously that’s it. Adjust the salt level if required before the final spin in the blender.
  • Dump content s in a bowl,add in a dash of olive oil and red pepper flakes ( or anythings else of choice ) .
  • And watch it disappear with a bowl of Pita chips or or bread. Seriously good! Beats the pants off any store bought hummus ..

 

Prep time : 10 min      Process time : 10 min      Consumption time : 10 min  ( ha ha told ya!)

Shelf life : should stay for a week , but I have never got the opportunity to test it. Serves : 4-6

Signing off

Veggie Medley Mélange – Absolutely delicious Basmati rice dish !!!

It’s 9 AM and the third day of the summer break. I am absolutely impressed with all three of my kids ability to hibernate , yes hibernate in summer. To give them credit, its only the third official day of summer break and I wait for them to get super bored. Bored to the point that cataloguing the library books in the attic ( yes, I have a secret compulsion to catalog the huge collection we seem to be growing in the bookshelf) would actually seem fun ( at this point you can of course picture me rubbing my hands in glee – much like the super villain in disney movies). This of course is apart from the near daily dips in the pool and xbox and pursuing their artistic ability ( read violin, piano) and productive use of their time ( read cycling, FLL leagues, engineering buildups and simple joy of reading a book ). Whew ! Summer time was so much simpler when I was growing up, you actually got to do nothing so many times. And then of course, we could play kho-kho outside and indulge in nimbu -paani and spiced buttermilk and of course all those yummy fruits which were summer seasonal. Add to this, I could manage to scrape my foot, knee and a lot more in the evening games. Climbing trees never looked more fun. I can only reminisce about those days again. Wish my mind and body exuded that flexibility again. Imaginations.. Ah, you weren’t taught to imagine, you just did. I know simple as it was, I just remember going on , on my world tours through the wonderful world of reading. And then of course I grew up !!!!

Life’s experiences aside, I suppose making silk out of sow’s ears was something I admired my maternal grandmother for. Oh , here was this lady phenomenal in just about everything, she could sew,cook and I mean by cooking create wonderful things from stuff in her pantry. Oh and painting, she was absolutely wonderful. Always had a smile and a story and more importantly could make do with what was readily available. A very well learned person, erudite and very inspiring.  This creation is greatly inspired by her versatility and cooking prowess.

Rummaging the fridge  and pantry for the ingredients  yielded:

  • Ivy Gourd – About 2 handfuls
  • Long purple Brinjal – 2
  • Green Moong dal sprouts – one small cup
  • red potato – medium sized – 1
  • red onion – 1 – large
  • Curry leaves – a bunch
  • Fresh green coriander – a handful

Dry Ingredients:

  • Basmati rice – 1.25 cups
  • Split Urad dal – 2 tsp for seasoning
  • Black mustard seeds – 1 tsp for seasoning
  • Asafoetida – A pinch
  • curry powder – 1 tsp
  • Sambar powder 2 tsp

Necessary ( evil) Lubricants :

  • 4 tsp of fat of your choice- oil or butter or clarified butter if you have a devil may care attitude

Prep Work: (Btw this is a parallel process operation)

  1. Wash and cook the basmati rice in the required quantity of water. The grains need be cooked as in tender and separate.
  2. Chop all the veggies – Now you can choose any shape you like, I simply diced them all.( onion chopper to the rescue)
  3. I also nuked the ivy gourd , chopped potatoes and sprouts for about a couple of min in the microwave to facilitate the cooking process.

Wok magic:

  1. Heat the oil in the wok and in the seasonings – Asafoetida,Mustard seeds,Urad dal and curry leaves. Add a pinch of mustard powder of desired.
  2. Add the cut onions and saute till tender, and then add in the cut eggplant . Add in the nuked veggies then.Once tender add in the salt and curry powder and sambar powder
  3. In a couple of minutes you will have a wonderful aroma wafting from the wok.
  4. Plate out the rice and use a fork to spread it out.Let it cool for about 5 -7 min.
  5. Then gently toss it in with curried vegetables in the wok. ( the idea is to gently fold it in, other wise you can get  huge gooey ball of masala rice 🙂 )..
  6. Garnish with the cut coriander leaves.

Oh yeah ! Lunch is served !!!

End result : Delectable !!!!Just lip smacking . Serve it up with a bowl of plain yogurt, and a slices of cucumber to round off the balance.

FYI:

  • You can definitely add in any mixture of vegetables.Do balance it out with the spices though.
  • Want to try this version mimicking the north side of the Vindhyas – Use Pulav masala and cinnamon and cloves for seasoning and your palate will be surprised at the new flavors.
  • Want to add in more protein – try adding in a mixed bunch of sprouts – truly yummy combination along with roasted peanuts or cashwenuts.
  • Want to have real low spice levels, just use salt and pepper and green chillies for seasoning.

Cleaning out the fridge was never more satisfying ….

Signing off !!

Banana Walnut Cake – So awesome, Light , Fluffy and Nutty!

Planning your day around possible thunderstorms is a bit like planning a scientific experiment with a ton of variables thrown in. An experiment, that is fun but the outcome  is so unpredictable . To cut a long story short, it was the ” boy who cried wolf “.. while the huge thunderstorms didn’t show up, what did was  a reminder from mother nature that she  was the  one in charge . And we were blessed with blistering temperatures hitting near ninety ..Lovely !!

And of course when temperatures hit that high,  the stock of sorry looking bananas get even more sorrier. read natural organic progression .. more dark brown spots appear ( more like the pounds that magically appear on self ). 🙂 Well, I cannot just dump nearly half a dozen bananas out. They were just overripe and more sweet than the youthful ones. But no amount of cajoling could get my 3A’s to venture near them. And then inspiration stuck, or rather the thought in the back burner   just jumped several hoops ahead to make itself shout ” Make banana bread / cake “. Sure, sounds easy, but here is the cinch, I have never baked this one. Yes, I have baked so many more kinds, but banana bread/cake, the easy peesy one, I have never attempted to do so. Well partially because , I had a good friend who would treat me to her delectable version quite often and partly because it’s banana bread. And well honestly a fruit smoothie would be so much easier. Just throw in the bananas, add a couple more fruits, a dash of honey and there you have it. But no, the itch to bake set in and I do need to scratch it. Call me stubborn, but my friend , let’s just call her D ( you know who you are , sweety), had this heavenly version and  I just wanted to try it. After about  half an hour of searching,I did manage to locate the one. Here is the version, that she primarily used. (http://allrecipes.com/recipe/a-number-1-banana-cake/)

This is the one I based this experiment upon,  but of course my pantry ingredients decided the kind that went into the batter mix. Seriously, I was in  no mood to go shopping to the grocery store in the sweltering heat, just because I did not have buttermilk. The ones’ marked in Asterix, are variations of the original recipe.

Alright , folks, this is my version of the ingredients that went in:

  • 2.5 cups of self rising flour* ( notice it is self rising, why? cause I did not have the regular one ,and seriously a little bit of baking powder should technically make the cake more airy. In any case, my gripe about the run to the grocery store , well I stood my ground )
  • 1/2 cup of  unsalted butter .( You can substitute this with almond butter for a more nuttier taste I suppose )
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup of milk* ( the original recipe called for butter milk. Well, I decided to use milk here 🙂 . Why.. well no buttermilk and seriously, thought milk would be an awesome choice. I used 1% milk of course.)
  • 1 and 3/4 cup of sugar* – I used brown granulated sugar entirely
  • About 5 medium ripe bananas  * mine were pretty spotty brown ( the original recipe calls for 4. But I suppose an additional banana would do no harm )
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 pinch salt
  • A generous pinch of saffron *( I know I am obsessed with saffron )
  • A generous pinch of caradamom powder *
  • 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup of skinned sliced almonds*
  • A pinch of cinnamon powder *

( Whew, don’t let the exhausting list fool you. I just emptied those nuts that were sitting in the pantry. And decided to add in a few flavors  to enhance the mix. More like, once I get started, I just cannot get to stop myself from adding a dash of this and dash of that ).

Alright, now that the stage is set, lets get the gooey good stuff going.

Prep work:

  • Preheat the oven / 350 deg
  • Grease and flour the pans of your choice. the original recipe called for two 8 inch pans. I used one 8  inch round and one 9 inch square pan.

Let’s get the party started …

  1. Sift the flour,baking soda and salt together and set aside.
  2. Cream the butter,sugar and eggs.
  3. Add in the pureed bananas,,cardamom powder ,cinnamon powder and saffron strands.
  4. Add in the flour and whip up the gooey mixture.
  5. Fold in the walnuts and almonds

Let’s cook them:

Stick those pans in the preheated oven and bake them at 350 deg for 30 min.

The results:

Holy mackerel ! Honest to goodness yummy light and fluffy and airy goodness in squares and circles. Beautiful brown goodness, perfectly baked and crunchy walnuts. The aroma filled the entire kitchen and brought the oldest scooting down to the kitchen.. all the way form the attic. 🙂

Texture : Very very soft ( possibly the baking powder in the self rising flour combined with the baking soda, did wonders) and porus.

Aroma : Fragrant cardamom and hint of cinnamon with saffron emanating creating the wonderful fusion with bananas.

Serve it up..the kids devoured it it warm with the cool combination of whipped cream. Yummy!

Verdict: Just awesome !.. And like I always believe, great cooking results is mostly achieved by right combination of ingredients and the freshness of  your stock. And of course, the right chemistry !!!