Whole Wheat Greek Yogurt Banana Bread (with chocolate chunks)

A.. La.. One more Banana bread for the files. The bout of flu was pretty bad which meant I spent nearly a week and half playing nurse maid for the kiddos. The got sick in a cascade fashion.The weather here in NC was the most undecided – switching between “spring weather welcoming new life” to “hibernating winter chilly weather”. And Flu viruses had a field day and found  new victims at my place, I suppose.  Which naturally resulted in a lot of fruits getting underutilized. No smoothies as well as soups ruled the day. So, there I had 6 forlorn bananas looking at me. Like, asking when they would be put to good use.  And I had a whole box of mismatched chocolate chips – ranging from big old chocolate chunks to mini chocolate chips. All the way from Super dark with 85 % cacao to semi sweet 65% cacao. Nearly 2 cups worth. But then again what’s a little bit more to cheer up my kids. And since I had some lovely neighbors who helped me out during the mad rush of the last 10 days, they got some nice chunky slices too. All in all , 6 bananas , 2 loaves and quarter of one left .

Some would say I was procrastinating or rather procrastibaking. A million jobs, but I had to bake ! Whoever came up with the word, was a sheer genius who understood the therapeutic aspect of baking. And online ordering of groceries. And the magical power of 10 min power naps. But if someone could still let my nutty lab know that flying leaves in the wind, trash trucks, delivery trucks, people working in the yard, AT and T servicemen yada, yada, yada are not threatening and there is absolutely no need to warn or bark her head off to keep me out of harm’s way. Or you cannot play with everyone coming your way. That works as well. It would be wonderful if she doesn’t go bonkers, but then again it would not be Maya.

Whole Wheat Greek Yogurt Banana Bread ( with chocolate chunks)

The recipe itself is pretty simple. I just about emptied the contents of the fridge to make this and you can never really go wrong with Banana Bread. It is  quite simple. You can dress it up or keep it earthy. Indulge with cream cheese or simply warm it and have it with a cup of tea. Or coffee. Or Milk. Have it for breakfast or as dessert. You get the point, it is absolutely versatile.I doubled this recipe and made 2 loaves. I had a few thankful friends who rewarded me with a thumbs up for this .The vegan and other options are listed as well in the notes and through the recipe.

Whole Wheat Greek Yogurt Banana Bread ( with chocolate chunks)

Ingredients:

  • Bananas : 3 , mashed to yield roughly 1 cup or a bit more. It does not have to be perfect!
  • Sugar : ½ – ¾ cup ( I used Turbinado sugar. Use the ¾ option if you like your bread a bit sweeter )
  • Eggs : Large,2.(Use flax substitute for vegan option . See notes)
  • Greek Yogurt : ½ cup  ( Vegan option : Use silken tofu. See notes)
  • Vegetable or Olive oil : ¼ cup ( You can use melted butter for richer taste)
  • Whole Wheat Pastry Flour : 1 and ¾ cup .( See notes for options )
  • Baking powder : ½ tsp.
  • Baking Soda : ½ tsp.
  • Salt : ½ tsp.
  • Cinnamon : a pinch ( optional )
  • Nutmeg : a pinch ( optional )
  • Chocolate chips : ½ cup
  • Toasted ,broken Walnuts : ½ cup ( optional )
  • Pure Vanilla Extract : 2 Tsp.

Method :

  1. Pre heat oven to 350 F . 
  2. Grease and  keep aside the pan of choice.I used an 9 by 5 inch loaf pan as this works well as a loaf bread.
  3. Mash the bananas with a fork and keep aside. A few chunks of the bananas is what makes this bread a bit rustic. Do not pulverize the bananas. Or alternately using the paddle attachment of your stand mixer mash the bananas.
  4. Add the eggs or flax egg substitute, vanilla extract and whisk well. Add the Greek yogurt or its substitute, sugar, melted butter if using or oil , cinnamon and nutmeg if using .
  5. In another mixing bowl measure out the flour and add the salt, baking soda and  baking powder and whisk it well.
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the wet one and mix only until incorporated. Do NOT OVERMIX.
  7. Stir in the chocolate chips and reserve some to garnish on top and stir in the nuts if using reserving some likewise to garnish the surface.
  8. Bake  at 350 F for about 45 min- 60 min or until a skewer inserted in comes out clean.Keep checking after 38 min.
  9. Let it cool in the pan for about 10 min and slide out gently to finish cooling on the rack.
  10. Slice thick chunky slices . Eat plain, with cream cheese , or anyway you want .

Notes :

  • Egg substitute: 1 Tbsp. flax seed + 3 Tbsps. of water –  pulverized well will yield a homogenous mass equivalent to 1 large egg.
  • Greek Yogurt substitute: 1: 1 switch of blended silken tofu + a dash of lemon juice to give the tartness.
  • Butter substitute: Canola oil / olive oil. 1 :1 substitution works perfect.
  • Granulated sugar switch : Raw Turbinado sugar or jiggery
  • Flour : whole wheat pastry flour is the best substitute for All purpose flour.  If you do not have it and have only normal whole wheat flour, I would use 1 and ½ cups instead. It is quite dense.  Or you can alternate 1 cup of whole wheat flour and ¾ cup of all-purpose flour.
  • If you think your bread is browning too quickly and the middle is still squiggly and squishy, cover it with aluminum foil and return to baking.
  • Can I make muffins out of this ? Certainly. Should yield 12-14 muffins, baked for about 16 min or so.

 

Have I baked using these substitutes ?

The short answer would be an unequivalent “Yes”.  My observations though :

  • Using jaggery has given me a more denser and squishy loaf because of its wet nature.  Also I had better results with using store bought jaggery powder as 1 : 1 switch then pulverizing my own. I would assume that the commercially powdered jaggery was a bit more dry and hence worked better.
  • Olive oil worked just fine as a substitute.
  • Silken tofu also worked fine. Add in a Tbsp. or so of lemon juice to add in the tartness of yogurt. But I personally would look and choose the non GMO version of it. Make sure you blend it well before adding. You will not be able to blend it after adding it. Though unconventional, applesauce has work in a cinch too. The texture would be different a bit though.
    Whole Wheat Greek Yogurt Banana Bread ( with chocolate chunks)

 

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

A3 wanted blueberry muffins. Lemon blueberry muffins. In the last days of winter ! You get the picture. I think he was bit impatient for spring to arrive and to play soccer. But NC weather was such a tease ! Gloomy skies, bare trees, dark clouds and not a ray of sunlight.  Who could blame the poor kid for wanting his own bit of sunshine?

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

 

In any case a tub of sour cream begged to be used before the expiry date and since the fresh blue berries did not  cause me an arm and a leg or to play Rumplestiltskin with my first born, a tub meandered its way home from the store. A bag of fresh Meyer lemons and armed with some butter, I has to try these prize winning sour cream lemon muffins from this site with of course a couple of minor switches and few more adaptations.

They are so tender,  utterly soft pillowy ones. I have adapted the recipe ever so lightly to yield the tang of lemon muffins with its citrusy flavor and these are simply irresistible. So good and so perfect and huge plus they are not overtly sweet cupcakes masquerading as muffins. Lovely domed tops as well. Go ahead , raid your pantry and make these . You will not be disappointed.

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Prep time : 15 min   Baking time : 22-24 min  Yield : 12 muffins

Ingredients:

Flour : Sift and Mix 

  • White whole wheat flour : 1/2 cup
  • All purpose flour , unbleached : 1 cup
  • Baking soda : 1/2 tsp.
  • Baking powder : 1/2 tsp.
  • Salt : 1/2 tsp.

Dairy, Sugar, Egg : To cream

  • Unsalted butter at room temperature : 1/4 cup
  • Granulated or organic cane sugar : 1/2 cup
  • Large egg, cage free : 1
  • Reduced fat Sour cream/ Greek yogurt : 1 cup

Citrus: Meyer Lemons

  • Juice of 1 big lemon or about 3 Tbsp. of lemon juice
  • Grated lemon zest : 1 Tbsp.
  • Pure lemon extract : 1 Tbsp.

Produce : Berries 

  • Fresh blueberries : 1 cup, tossed in about 2 Tbsp. of flour ( If using frozen, use unthawed only please.)

Topping : Mix thoroughly

  • Lemon zest , grated : 1 Tbsp.
  • Granulated sugar : 2 Tbsp.

Method :

  • Pre-heat oven to 375°F.
  • Line your muffins pans or grease them  if preferred. Set aside.
  • Measure and sift the flour, salt, baking powder and soda in a separate mixing bowl and set aside. Alternatively you can whisk it thoroughly.
  • Cream the room temperature butter and sugar until fluffy and creamy using a hand/ stand mixer. Add in the egg and mix until blended well. Next add in the sour cream or yogurt , followed by lemon juice , zest and extract and mix well.
  • Stir in the  flour mix into the creamed  mixture just until no streaks remain. DO NOT over mix or you will have a tough muffin on your hands.
  • Next gently fold in the  blueberries. If using fresh berries, toss  the rinsed and patted dry berries in about 2 Tbsp. of flour. Shake off the extra flour and gently fold it. If using frozen , use the unthawed frozen ones directly.
  • Using an ice cream scoop or measure , distribute it into the prepared cups.
  • Combine the ingredients listed under topping, and sprinkle some on the top of each muffin.
  • Bake for about 22 minutes or so until  just lightly browned.
  • Cool in the pan for about 5 min and then cool on the wire rack.

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Slice and eat warm or cold, simple straight or with a dab of  jam. Breakfast or after school. You simply cannot go wrong with these melt in your mouth tender lemony blueberry muffins ! Go ahead grab one while it warm and you can polish it off very adult like with a cup of coffee as well.

Recipe source:  Adapted

Good Morning Muffins – Wholesome, healthy and just perfect!

I apologize for the delay in the post. A1 had some work done for the braces and a forgotten appointment we had to rush to. Stoic as he normally would be with everything, the pressure and pain of the lower wire in the brace is not a pleasant experience for anyone  and can quickly get on one’s nerves. In the case of A1, it usually leads to  monosyllables . In good days it would be a sentence.

And then M ( my slightly nutty and neurotic lab), decides to chase the squirrel up the tree – not happening . Sore and bruised leg and ego later, she wanted to sleep on mum’s lap. Oh well ! They never grow up. You would not be very far off thinking there is three ring circus at home. Well most of the days the juggler is awesome and peace reigns..

Good Morning Muffins - Wholesome, healthy and just perfect!

A2 on the other hand has grown a sweet tooth ( a few gazillion teeth more likely )and seems to hover around the kitchen a bit more interested in the goodies of the day. A3 has devoted his life to building Legos , Legos and more Legos. And when we take a break, we build a city out of Legos .. Again.

My faithful blender of 10 years goes kaput and  the newly ordered and delivered Vitamix stares back at me from the counter giving me  the come hither look . More carrot smoothies I say ! Or Morning glory muffins! I will take both. So how has your day been so far?

Good Morning Muffins - Wholesome, healthy and just perfect!

In this recipe we have a slightly adapted version of the Morning glory muffins from King Arthurs domain and  Earthbound farms original recipe.

Plump raisins , crunch of almonds and walnuts, hint of cinnamon and ginger, grated carrot and apple and added dash of flax meal. I mean what’s not to love about this. And btw who says it just has to be for breakfast . It’s a great after school snack as well. And in the car. And after soccer. You get the picture.

Good Morning Muffins - Wholesome, healthy and just perfect!

Hand one to your growing and bouncing of the walls active kid with a glass of  milk and they are good on the hunger front !

Prep time : 15 min  Bake time : 22- 25 min  Makes : 16 muffins

Ingredients:

  • Whole wheat flour : 1 cup
  • All purpose flour : 1 cup
  • Brown sugar : 3/4 cup
  • Melted butter + lite olive oil : 2/3 cup ( in total)
  • Large eggs : 3
  • Baking powder : 1 tsp.
  • Baking soda : 2 tsp.
  • Flax seed meal : 3 Tbsp.
  • Vanilla extract : 2 tsp.
  • Dry ground ginger : 1/2 tsp.
  • Cinnamon powder : 2 tsp.
  • Salt: 1/2 tsp
  • Peeled ,fine grated carrots : 2 cups
  • 1 Large apple grated ( tart or sweet ) : 1/2 cup approx.
  • Slivered almonds or chopped walnuts : 1/2 cup

Method:

  • Pre heat oven to 375 F
  • Line the muffins trays with paper cups.
  • Pour 1/2 a cup of very hot water over the raisins to plump it up before use.
  • In a large mixing bowl add both the flours, flaxseed meal ,baking soda and baking powder and whisk very well. Set aside.
  • In a stand mixer, add the butter and oil combination and sugar and whisk well.
  • Add the cinnamon and dry ginger spice mix , vanilla extract and then add the eggs one by one and whisk well.
  • Add the flour and gently fold it.
  • Add the grated carrots and apples next and fold gently once again. Do not whisk vigorously.
  • Drain the water from the raisins . Then gently stir it in the along with chopped nuts.
  • The batter would be very thick .
  • Drop in heapfuls to fill up about 3/4 the muffin well.
  • Bake till a tooth pick inserted comes out clean and the muffins springs back slightly when touched.
  • Cool in the pan for a couple of minutes and then remove and cool on a wire rack very well.
  • They stay fresh at room temperature very well.
  • Serve warm with a a dab of cream cheese if preferred and with a tall glass of milk.

Good Morning Muffins - Wholesome, healthy and just perfect!

Kothamalli Podi – Fresh Coriander/ Cilantro Chutney Powder (Dry)

75 years of experience all bundled in a 5 feet petite frame. Hands that have worked a gazillion times to feed much of the family, friends of the family, extended family and friends of the extended family. And not necessarily gone by the book. She does not need measuring cups and tools. Her weathered hands just scoops and scores. Nothing fancy about it , but the taste is always impeccable. 

A bit of this and bit of that, and much love added as well. The age has definitely slowed down the bundle of activity a lot and I am witness to it . And just as to defy it, she clears the fridge out of 3 bundles of cilantro – fresh and not so fresh ones and makes her spice mix . Oh and what a hit it is at home. The flavor and aroma of it is simply outstanding and is a great accompaniment to everything from Idli’s and Dosai’s to a great topping on buttered toasts and sprinkled over fresh plain yogurt…Just eat it plain, with oil, swirled in yogurt or as you wish…Whatever you do , do not miss out on this one !

Kothamalli Podi - Fresh Coriander/ Cilantro Chutney Powder ( Dry)

 

A great way to finish up large bunches of abundant cilantro or coriander leaves, a great substitute for regular coconut or tomato chutney and molagaipodi, a wonderful spice flavoring for rice and an awesome way to eat up large quantities of green. A finger licking concoction from the hands of a culinary expert , my MIL .

 

Kothamalli Podi - Fresh Coriander/ Cilantro Chutney Powder ( Dry)

Prep time : 10-15 min +  over night drying time for washed coriander leaves

Active time : 15 min

Shelf life : 1 month , best stored in refrigerator to prevent loss of flavor

Ingredients:

  • Fresh coriander bunches, trimmed : 3 -4, large bunches
  • Channa Dal : 1/2 cup
  • Split, de husked Urad dal : 1/2 cup
  • Dry red chilies – 10 ( spicy kind)
  • Dry Bydagi or kashmiri chilies – 4 ( non spicy, but adds vibrant hue)
  • Sesame Oil/ Saffola oil/ canola oil : 2 Tbsp.
  • Asafoetida : A generous pinch ( 1 tsp.)
  • Salt : 1.5 tsp. + adjusted to taste
  • Dry tamarind : 3-6  inches
  • Powdered Jaggery : 1/2 tsp.
  • Turmeric powder : 1/2 tsp.

Method:

Preparation of the coriander leaves:

  • Trim the ends of the large bunches. I simply twisted out about 3 inches from the bottom to remove the stems. Wash in cold water very well. At least 3-4 times to remove the impurities.
  • Spread out on a paper towel or napkin, in a cool dry place to dry in shade. I usually do this very late in the evening and it dries overnight on the counter.

Preparation of the dry chutney mix:

  • In a wide skillet add half a tbsp. of the oil of choice and roast dry chilies and dry tamarind and set aside to cool.
  • Add in additional 1 Tbsp. of oil and roast the channa dal and urad dal sequentially to yield brown roasted lentils. Do not speed up this process. You will have burnt lentils on your hand. Medium high is the way to go. Also do not roast both the lentils together. Channa dal takes time to roast and split urad dal will brown faster. So take it step by step. Remove and set aside to cool.
  • Add in the remaining half tbsp. of oil and add the washed, dried  cilantro  with turmeric and half a tsp. of salt and wilt the cilantro. I believe this will also preserve the green color of the leaves. Remove and set aside to cool
  • In a blender, add the red chilies and roasted tamarind and blend to a coarse mix and set aside in a mixing bowl.
  • Add in the dals and jaggery and salt and whiz to a very coarse mix and empty out in the same mixing bowl.
  • Add in the wilted cilantro and whiz a couple of times to shred it, add in the dal- chili mix to give a final couple of spins to yield a very coarse, granular, dry mix.
  • Remove , taste test for salt and spices and store in cool dry place. As in my case, these were transferred to mason jars and stored in the refrigerator.

Kothamalli Podi - Fresh Coriander/ Cilantro Chutney Powder ( Dry)

Notes: Do not over blend , you will be left with a thick paste. Pulsing is the way to go. Your aim is to have a coarse powdery mix of cilantro and lentils. You will notice the natural flavor and texture of cilantro this way. Another option is to roughly chop the cilantro after drying it and before wilting it in the skillet. This way you will have more even mix rather than rustic  texture. Either way you cannot go wrong with it.

 

Kothamalli Podi - Fresh Coriander/ Cilantro Chutney Powder ( Dry)

 

Pic ref : If you are wondering above the tag on Manirathnam on one of my pictures it refers to a maverick and extremely talented director of Indian cinema – who made movies using the diffused and dark light effect.  When I shot this picture, I thought of him 🙂

Whole Wheat Dark Chocolate Banana Breakfast Muffins

This is so not the case of life giving you way too many bananas . This is the case where I sort of threatened mock mutilation to the loving members of my family  because I wanted those two bananas to get over ripe to use for this recipe. I have secret minor addiction to pretty pictures on Pinterest ( ok not so secret any more ) but hey I can enjoy a good one now and then . While I do admire them, I so seriously need to invest some more time in understanding the mechanics of good photos…When I found this on Pinterest, the one bowl ideology spoke to me – after all who like messy kitchens? And I seem to have had a bit of a downer mood today. So in a minor adaptation of that recipe we hit jackpot on this muffin. I know it says breakfast muffin , but kids are getting it for an afterschool snack — with a warm glass of milk. Edited verdict: Kids simply loved it !

Unlike the recent past, bananas do not get a chance to go over ripe here at home. Between the kids and M, hardly any gets left over. So yours truly had to get a fresh bag of ones to let 2 stragglers from the previous batch put to good use. Nearly had a sign out to not eat/ or even think of eating/ feeding maya, the ones that were on its way to get ripened or over ripened. And they were put to amazingly good use. These gorgeous muffins are so calling out your name! C’mon grab a bowl, make these and let me know how it turned out !!!

Whole Wheat Dark Chocolate Banana Breakfast Muffins

Notes: Using whole wheat pastry flour will  produce more soft muffins. My local grocery store does not stock it and my only option was to order in bulk . Using APF of course will yield you possibly more fluffier ones. While the original recipe calls for baking with honey, I am hesitant to heat up honey based on Ayurveda principles and would gladly use brown sugar in its stead. You can also use jaggery as well. If you do use jaggery you definitely would be adding to the nutritional quotient as it is chockfull of minerals and Iron too.  Would you like to make it vegan? Use apple sauce and cutback on yogurt , or use almond milk and use flax seed  ground and beaten in water as substitute for egg. It would yield a slightly more denser muffin though. But all in all this recipe is definitely a keeper. Oh yes! The one bowl adaptation of it would definitely work as well. When you reach step 4 in the instructions add the dry ingredients sequentially in the mixing bowl.Fold in the chocolate chips gently and reserve to sprinkle on top. Perfecto!

Whole Wheat Dark Chocolate Banana Breakfast Muffins

Prep time : 10 min               Baking time : 16-18 min          Yield 12 muffins

Recipe source : http://www.joyfulhealthyeats.com. This is a near faithful adaptation of the recipe .

Ingredients

  • White whole wheat flour : 1 +2/3 cups
  • Bananas : 2 – 3  over ripe and spotted ( mashed would equal a cup or so)
  • Brown sugar : 2 – 3  large
  • Vanilla Extract : 1/2 Tbsp. 
  • Thick  plain yogurt : 1/3  cup of it ( used home made)
  • coconut oil (melted ) : 1/3 cup 
  • Large Brown egg : 1
  • Dark Cocoa powder : 2 Tbsp.
  • Salt : ½  tsp.
  • Baking soda:1 tsp.
  • Dark chocolate chips : 1/2 cup

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Line a 12 cup muffin tray with paper cups.
  3. In a large bowl or bowl of your stand mixer, add the bananas and mash it. Add sugar, vanilla extract, yogurt, oil and egg and whip it till combined.
  4. In a separate bowl measure out white whole wheat flour, add the 2 Tbsp. of dark cocoa , baking soda and salt and mix it/ whisk it very well.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and mix until combined.
  6. Add in the chocolate chips and reserve some to top it on the muffins .Fill each muffin tin  to ¾ of its well.
  7. Bake for 16-18 minutes.
  8. Serve warm / cold with a tall glass of milk, hot chocolate or coffee !

Whole Wheat Dark Chocolate Banana Breakfast Muffins

Samai Idli – Steamed, Little Millet Cakes

Millets the natural food from the arid areas of southern India found their way into my cuisine over a period of time. This particular one has been used and tried and tested many times. If you are looking for a great way to substitute the rice out of your routine , little millets or Samai or Vrat ka chawal is a great alternative. With a lower  GI than rice, this is a welcome indulgence on breakfast mornings..

Soft fluffy Idlis served with piping hot mixed vegetable sambar ( recipe will be updated for this later )  , coconut mint chutney  and Idli chili  powder ( also known as Molagai podi or chutney powder). True weekend indulgence without alarming calories .

Samai Idli - Steamed, Little Millet Cakes

Ingredients:

  • Samai arisi / little millet / Kutki  : 2 Cups
  • Urad dal / whole or split without skin : 1/2 cup
  • Red poha : 1/4 cup
  • Methi seeds : 1 tsp
  • Toor dal : 1 tsp.
  • Salt : 1.5 tsp + as required
  • Water as required to grind

Pre-Prep:

  • Soaking the millets and pre prep : Soak for 6 hrs – overnight:
  • Wash the millets very well and soak in copius amount of water. Enough for it to be absorbed.
  • Wash the urad dal as well and  soak along with fenugreek or methi seeds and toor dal.
  • Soak the Poha about 20 minutes before you grind the batter. Infact you can soak it just as you start grinding the urad dal.

 Grinding the batter & fermentation: 1 hr + fermentation time

  • Grind the urad dal  and methi seeds and toordal  in your mixer grinder or wet grinder until pale and fluffy. Add water in small quantities while you grind.
  • Scoop out the fluffy dal mix in a wide and deep mixing bowl.
  • Next add the soaked poha and samai millet and grind to a fine grain mix. There is no need to to grind it to a super fine paste. A little grainy structure would yield a preferable texture for the Idlis. So add water as and  when required while grinding.
  • Mix this along with the urad dal batter and add salt . Ensure salt is homogeneously mixed.
  • The consistency of batter is neither too thick or watery.
  • Cover and keep in a warm place .
  • Fermented batter will swell in volume so make sure your mixing bowl can handle the volume.
  • Hot humid weather will  speed up the fermentation process. So it might take anywhere from 7 hrs to overnight for your batter to reach the desired stage of fermentation.

Steaming the Idlis:

  • Grease Idli moulds and keep aside.
  • Using the steamer/ cooker of your choice add the water and heat it well.
  • Stir the batter well scoop ladlefuls on to the prepped idli moulds.
  • Steam for about 7-10 minutes.
  • Turn of the flame, rest it for a minute or two. You should be able to demould it now.

Serve hot accompanied with chutney, sambar and chutney/ Molagai podi.

Notes:

  • This batter makes awesome dosas well. I tried it out and it was really good.
  • Makes about 32-40 Idlis depending on the size of the idli mould. 
  • Fermentation of the batter is essential to maximize the nutritional value of the millet.

Millets and Red Rice Flour Dosa(i) – Instant and Nutritious

A quick post on a traditional recipe..

Millet is not just a more affordable  alternative to the more common grains like rice and wheat, it is also  a good source of some very important nutrients, including copper, manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium. The fact that this can grow in the arid climates is a boon in many of the developing nations of the world. Known as Kambu in tamil and Bajra in hindi, this grain has found a permanent place in our pantry.

A quick and easy flat Crepe/ Dosai that served a good portion of your nutritious needs in one shot. As part of the traditional south indian household, certain dishes hold a special place and Dosai is one such thing. This particular one uses certain dry flours readily available in the household and is a quick prep one. No added soda, eno or any leavening agent . Just mix of flours, yoghurt and seasonings.

Bajra Red Rice Instant Dosai

 Prep time : 10 min  Resting time : 15 minutes    Serves : 4-5

Ingredients :

  • Bajri Flour ( Pearl millet flour ) – 1 cup
  • Red rice Flour – 1/2 cup ( if not available use plain rice flour)
  • Flaxmeal : 1/4 cup
  • Rava/ Sooji : 1/4 cup
  • Sour Curd : 3/4 cup
  • Whole Wheat Flour : 2-3 Tbsp.
  • Water : 1/4 cup + more required for consistency
  • Hing / Asafoeida : A generous pinch
  • Cumin seeds : 1 Tbsp.
  • Black pepper Crushed : 6-8
  • Cilantro : 1/4 cup, chopped finely
  • Ginger grated : 1 inch ( optional)
  • Green Chilies : 4 ( finely chopped ) – optional
  • Salt : 1 tsp + to taste
  • Gingelly oil / sesame oil / oil of your choice to make the dosas.

Preparation :

  • Mix the fry ingredients along with the dry spices initially and the salt and whisk it well.
  • Beat the yoghurt with water and add it to the mix. Add additional water if necessary to make it to the dosa batter consistency.
  • Add the chopped cilantro and grated ginger and chilies if using.
  • Whisk it well again and let it sit aside for 15 minutes.

Making the Dosa(i)

  • Heat  a nonstick or a well seasoned flat  crepe pan on medium heat.
  • Stir in the Dosa(i) batter and pour ladlefuls to make the crepes.
  • Dot the edges with sesame oil or oil of your choice.
  • Let it cook till reddish brown before you flip to the other side. (This is cooked on both sides)
  • Serve hot with chutneys or idli chutney/chill powder or molagaipodi.

Nutritious, quick and made in a jiffy!

Notes:

  1. Resting the batter for 15 minutes or so is essential for the dry flours added to soak up the liquid and for faster cooking as well.
  2. Sour yoghurt/ curd will enhance the taste of the dosa (i).
  3. Adding the ginger and chilies is optional but they do add to the flavors.
  4. Sesame oil or Gingelly oil is traditionally used in South India for cooking of Dosai and definitely kicks it up another notch.
  5. Cooking on medium high heat is highly recommended.

Perfect for breakfast and add a refreshing Orange Banana Smoothie and your are power packed for the day !

Bajra Red Rice Instant Dosai

 

Orange Banana Smoothie

Sometimes you just reach for the simple ! Minimal ingredients lend this smoothie a wonderful flavor and also a very refreshing touch .

 Just a hint of lime and ginger and fresh Navel oranges and a half a banana to lend body  to it and no  dairy or added sugar please !

Orange Banana Smoothie

A hot and blazing spring / summer is gleefully grinning here in NC , Cary.  But it is the season for gorgeous fruits and I am always seduced by the wide variety available. A huge bag of oranges found their way home and I had to put it to use ..and how 🙂

The Nutribullet –  I  personally love the no fuss and economical apparatus. Simply add everything  in the bigger jar provided, screw on the blade, invert and blend away … Make it simple !

  • Quick : check
  • Kid friendly : check
  • Chock full of Vitamins and Minerals : check
  • Tastes awesome : check

Prep time : 5 min    Blending time : 1 min or 90 seconds   Serves : 2

Ingredients :

  • Banana : 1/2
  • Naval oranges : 2 ( skinned and quartered)
  • Ginger : skinned, 1/2 inch
  • Crushed Ice : 1 cup
  • Orange juice ( no added sugar kind please) or water :   1/4 cup
  • Key lime juice : fresh , about 1/4 of the lime juiced

Method:

  • Add everything in sequential order of listing or as per your blender’s requirements.
  • Blend till you get an absolutely smooth mix.
  • Pour and serve immediately.

Variation: Add a couple of sprigs of mint leaves next time for a more refreshing taste as well !

Orange Banana Smoothie

Verdict : Very light,  smooth  and a great pick me up  smoothie. The ice and liquid add to the thinning of the drink. Since we added only half a banana it contributed to just add enough body without making it very robust.

If would like to thicken it , you can add an apple or an additional half banana. This is such a  versatile base that you can mix and match with any number of fruits and perhaps a handful of greens as well.

Part of a healthy breakfast !

Orange Banana Smoothie

Banana Cinnamon Muffins with Crunch Top – whole wheat version

The weekend was a hub of activity. A1 was busy fiddling with some robotics stuff . A3 had a soccer game. And my ! What a game it was … Intense one  with U8s running around  the field with all the energy they could muster. My little Ninja was in the offence and kissed the field about 8 times ( some scraped tissues too for the warrior) . And then he took a ball to his face – Bang on the cheek. Ouch! Brave little one though ! After a few minutes he was back into it. Learnt to play like a champ – which means emulated sportsmanship behavior in my books. 

And then of course A2. She had her gymnastics meet. My butterfly was spreading her wings. I can see “The turning of a corner” for her where she develops more self confidence and self esteem. And more important learning to compete with the right spirit. And she did well. So on the conversation back home on the take away points from the meet, we somehow ended up on breakfasts and proteins and cupcakes. I know, I know! My A2 can wheedle things out me .. This time it was a beseeching request for baked goodies. No,No , Not too much trouble , but since mommy bakes sooooo good then perhaps a cupcake ! Again not too much trouble , I hope but of course 🙂

Banana Cinnamon Muffins with Crunch Top

What she was getting was a cinnamon strudel wheat banana muffin :-)..a crunchy top and oh so feathery light muffin. A2 was pleased as a punch and demolished two of these. And her siblings got to enjoy it as well. This was collateral advantage !

Banana Cinnamon Muffins with Crunch Top – Whole Wheat Version

Prep Time: 10- 15 minutes

Baking Time: 18-22 minutes

Makes: 12 muffins

Ingredients:

For the muffin base:

  • White whole wheat flour : 1 Cup
  • Unbleached and un bromated APF : 1/2 Cup
  • Baking soda : 1 tsp.
  • Baking powder : 1 tsp.
  • Cinnamon Powder : 1 Tbsp.
  • Pure Vanilla Extract : 1 tsp.
  • Salt : 1/2 tsp.
  • Bananas: over ripe, 3,mashed very well.
  • Soft brown sugar : 3/4 cup.
  • Brown Egg: 1 , beaten
  • Unsalted butter : 1/3 cup.

 For the crunchy top crumble

  • Soft brown sugar : 1/2 cup
  • APF Flour : 3 Tbsp.
  • Ground cinnamon :  1tsp.
  • Butter : 1 Tbsp.

 Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line a muffin / cupcake pan with 12 liners
  • Mix the dry ingredients – both the flours, the baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar and cinnamon powder. Whisk it very well to ensure even distribution. Set aside.
  • Mash the 3 over ripe bananas very well. I typically like them without any big lumps.
  • Beat the egg and vanilla extract with a fork. Add in the 1/3 cup of butter , but make sure it is melted and cooled down enough so it does not scramble the eggs.
  • Mix the dry and wet ingredients together and beat until just combined. Do not over beat or over mix. 

For the crunchy top crumble:

  • Mix the ingredients listed under this and sprinkle on the muffins. The mixture would be slightly crumbly. 

Baking:

  • Bake for about 18-22 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

 Notes:

  • Using the cold butter for the crunchy top would give you a more crumbly appearance. It is delicious.
  • Using a semi melted or room temperature butter would result in a thin crunchy top, which also would be delicious,
  • You can absolutely do this entire this using self rising flour alone. Just do not add any salt or baking powder. Reduce the baking soda to 1/2 tsp. and you will get soft fluffy muffins. Works like a charm every time.
  • I did this with white whole wheat flour. The regular wheat flour from hardened red/golden wheat would yield slightly denser muffins. Tasty nonetheless.

Banana Cinnamon Muffins with Crunch Top

Grab one to go with at all cold/warm glass of milk and you are set !

 

 

 

Rava Idli’s – Quick and easy royal fare on a budget!

I quite honestly was not planning on writing a post on this one.  Today was the beginning of a long weekend  and I woke up craving filter coffee. For the uninitiated, the filter coffee process is a near sacred ritual in many south indian households including the one in which I grew up. This drip mechanism in which hot water percolates through fresh ground coffee is quite aromatic and then coupled with hot steaming milk and a pinch of raw cane sugar- Nirvana in a cup !

Steaming hot cuppa
Steaming hot cuppa

Well cravings not withstanding, I think my inner south indian also felt like having hot Idli’s.. And of course no Idli batter at home. ( cause someone was a headless chicken the entire week and so did not get to do the required prep work)

Well this quick mix will satisfy that and the best part is the super soft Idli’s that it yields. Perfect results with minimal efforts. Now only if my daily routine would mimic this..Tsk!Tsk!

 Steaming hot Idli’s with  a hot cup of filter coffee  and I yearn for  the sounds of the yesteryears.. Amma and Amma ( M.S Subbalakshmi)

Perfect Combo!
Perfect Combo!

 A super easy and quick method to make Sooji / Rava/ Semolina Idlis . Serve it with the accompaniment of your choice from chutneys to potato palya.

 Prep time : 10 – 15 minutes  Steaming /cooking time : 10 minutes    Yields : 16 steamed cakes  Serves : 4-6

 Ingredients:

  • Sooji/ Rava/ Semolina  ( medium )- 1.5 cups
  • Channa dal : 1 tsp.
  • Split Urad Dal : 1 tsp.
  • Hing: A big pinch
  • Mustard seeds : 1 tsp.
  • Jeera : 1/4 tsp. ( optional)
  • Salt : 1 tsp + adjusted to taste
  • Green Chili : 1  (finely chopped)
  • Fresh Ginger : 1/2 inch ( finely chopped)
  • Curry leaves : 6-8  (finely chopped)
  • Cilantro : 1/8 cup ( finely chopped)
  • Cashewnut  quarters/ halves : 16
  • Oil : 1/2 Tbsp. + 1/2 Tbsp.

 Mixing:

  • Plain Yoghurt : 3/4 cup
  • Water : 3/4  cup
  • Lemon juice : 1 Tbsp.

 Required before steaming:

  • Eno : 1 tsp. + 1 Tbsp. of water

Method:

  • In a big skillet, add in one tbsp. of oil and add the cashew nuts and fry it and remove it when golden brown.
  • In the same skillet , add in the hing, mustard seeds, channa dal and urad dal. Fry it for a minute or two.
  • Subsequently add in the green chilies, ginger, chopped curry leaves. Fry it well too.By now the channa dal and urad dal would have attained a nice golden brown hue .
  • Add in the 1.5 cups of rava and fry it too . Take care to not let it brown. Just a couple of minutes would do.
  • Remove the mix in a wide bowl.
  • Add in the salt and whisk it to ensure it is distributed well.Cool it for about 5 minutes or so.
  • Meanwhile grease the idli molds , place the cashew pieces in it and get the water steaming in the pressure cooker of your choice.
  • Add in the  beaten yogurt + water + lemon juice and mix it well to the cooled Rava mix.
  • The mix would be a little watery initially, but would absorb the liquid in a couple of minutes as the dry sooji rehydrates itself.
  • Just before steaming, add in 1 tsp. Eno and add in the tbsp. of water on it. You should see instant frothing which indicates Eno is active.  Stir it in for well. Do not over mix it as you will kill the activity of the leavening agent.
  • Distribute the wet batter into the 16 greased molds. Top with chopped cilantro.
  • Steam in for about 7-9 minutes. Turn off the flame and let it remain in the steamer for a minute.
  • Hot steaming and super fluffy Idli’s ready in a jiffy.
  • Serve it with tomato chutney, idli chutney powder or potato palya.

 Notes:

  • The batter mix should not be too thick or dry . You will have rock hard Idli’s then. Your batter should be wet and of a thick cake batter consistency.
  • Check to make sure the mix is to the right consistency and mixed well before adding the Eno salt.  Once added, just whisk it for 30 secs. to ensure even distribution and pour it into the molds.
  • You can add grated carrot or cooked peas as an variation. In fact this is such a blank slate, you can top it with almost any veggie of your choice or make it a stuffed one.
  • if your Eno salt is not active, then you will not have soft and fluffy Idli’s.