Bananas again? I know what you are thinking. Seriously I am not obsessed with banana, more like trying to finish the remaining 3 sad looking ones – so speckled, that the splotches of brown are beginning to merge to become patches of brown and black on it. The heat and humidity of NC in fact encourages this organic progression at a more ballistic rate. In any case, I wanted to make this into something not terribly sweet and something moist and soft. And something that can be done in minimal equipment. So what do I use? My Magic bullet, a mixing bowl and a whisk.
Simple, quick , delicious, not overtly sweet, laced with cinnamon and made absolutely moist by the bananas, this are perfect domes of indulgence on a Saturday morning!
Pretty pleased with myself, I dare say!
All purpose flour (self rising) : 1.5 cups
Baking soda : 1/2 tsp.
Super ultra ripe bananas : 3
Brown Cane sugar : 1/3 cup
Flavorless oil: 1/3 cup
Ground cinnamon powder: 1.25 -1.5 tsp.
Pure vanilla extract: 1 tsp.
Preheat the oven to 350℉.
Line a 12 cup muffin or cupcake pan with paper liners.
In a large mixing bowl whisk the flour and soda and cinnamon powder to ensure they are thoroughly mixed.
In the large jar of your magic bullet blender or any blender, mush the 3 bananas very well to ensure no lumps.
Add in the tsp. of vanilla extract, sugar, oil, 1 egg and whip it all together for a couple of min or so.
The mix is now lighter in color and very creamy.( You should have this stage before mixing it in)
Add the liquid contents to the dry mix and whisk it all up very gently.
You will now have a very thick batter mix ready .
Now is the stage for you to add in any chopped nuts or choc chip if using.
Distribute the batter in 12 cups to about 3/4 full.
Bake it for 18-20 minutes until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let it cool for a bit in the pan, and then further more on the wire rack.
Slice, Inhale , Enjoy!
You might exceed the 12 cups if the quantity of your mushed bananas are a bit more. It happens to be the only variable that I did not quantify today.
Increasing the cinnamon flavor is totally personal.
Have a bit of a sweet tooth? Increase the sugar from 1/3 to 1/2 cup. Personally 1/3 looks fine to me.
Want to add Honey? Go ahead 1/2 -1/3 cup looks good.
Want to add a streusel topping? It will be awesome in this.
Nuts? Walnuts would be my first choice. Chopped and folded in the batter would be awesome.
Choc chips: 1/3 cup and it would be a real indulgence I would say!
This post has been languishing in the drafts for a fair bit of time. In all fairness there are other posts that have to take precedence, but I seems to channel the bit of ADCD.. The attention deficient cleaning disorder ! Only in this case it seems to be on the case of cleaning up my drafts folder.
My little(st) imp turned all of 6 a few weeks back ! And since we have 2 May born in the family, I try to keep the birthday celebrations menu a bit diverse, this one was created for A3 ..This child has sweet teeth.. No seriously, he can dig into anything sweet, but he also loves these Vadai or Urad dal doughnuts or fried dumplings for lack of a better term.
And I try and create, inculcate, mix and match a few of the flavors to keep it diverse for him as much as possible ..
So here goes..
Urad dal split or whole : 1.25 cups
Brown basmati rice : a handful
Whole Black peppercorns: 1/2 tsp
Onion: Chopped finely, 1/2 cup
Fresh Cilantro: Chopped finely ,1/4 cup
Fresh Mint : Chopped finely , 1/4 cup
Green Cabbage: Chopped finely, 1/4 cup
Fresh Ginger: 1 inch, peeled grated finely
Salt : 1 tsp and adjusted to taste
Soak the Urad Dal, rice and pepper corns in a 3 cups of water for a couple of hours.
Once it is soaked very well and has completely hydrated itself, drain the water and reserve if required for grinding.
Grind it to a thick dough consistency in a blender . Use as little water as possible . Using the south indian style wet grinder would yield the fluffy dough very well, but a blender works very well too.
The batter would resemble a very thick pancake batter. Add salt and fluff it up with a fork or whisk. Air incorporated this way would actually yield the airy and puffy vadai kind. Plus the addition of rice, would give you the crispier outer texture.
Add in all the chopped ingredients and stir in gently.
Fry these dumplings your style – doughnut style or simple blobs in hot oil.Just ensure they are fried until golden brown in medium hot oil!
That’s it ! Drain on absorbent paper and serve hot with a relish of your choice !
This is seriously a very forgiving recipe. Add in grated carrots, chopped spinach, onions for another flavor. Can take up more heat? Add in fine diced Jalapeños!
What do you do when get snowed in for like say 3 days ?
DH half stuck on the other side of the country ( might as well be the other end of the world.. cancelled flights and ice st(r)uck travelers..yikes ).. Anyways to beat the cabin fever blues and to make sure we do have something on hand to fuel the stomachs ( you know just in case, electricity plays truant ), yours truly decided to have a few basics or staples made . It was when I was foraging in the pantry , I noticed a neatly labeled container if whole barley grains ( yes, yes, I have heard all bout my labeling obsession. You know I have been ragged on it incessantly , when you have two cousin sisters who make you the butt of their jokes, you have heard it all.… I rest my case ).
I know Barley is pretty good as a diuretic and has a whole lot of other health benefits to it. But I had not really experimented with it much. When in doubt, dosa(i)s are a better bet than idles. No seriously, MTR has this multi grain instant dosa variation available at any Indian store . I mean how tough can it be right to make an alternative version at home.
Generally sticking to the proportions I normally use for dosa , I attempted the same here.
Basic FAQ :
Soaking time : 8 hrs or so.
Grinding and prep time : 30 min .
Fermentation time – based on climatic conditions. Seriously ,be nice to weather god, or fake it in the oven.
Cooking time : pretty quick …Devouring time : Instant
2.5 cups of whole grain barley ( note, I used the grain. Not the broken version or the flour )
1 cup of Brown Basmati rice
1 cup washed whole or split urad dal
1/2 tsp of Methi seeds
1/2 tsp of Toor dal
Wash the Barely grains well to remove any gunk and soak it in copious amounts of water.
Wash and soak the brown basmati rice as well in a separate container. Again make sure you have enough water covering the grains as you need them absorb it as much as you can.
In a third container wash and soak the urad dal, methi seeds and toor dal together.
Grind the dals first to yield a smooth and fluffy batter. Remove it in a fairly large container in anticipation for enough room for fermentation volume increase.
Next grind in the rice and the soaked barley . This grind would be quite smooth and you do have to take the time to grind it well. You will notice a good volume and might even feel the batter to be very very smooth.
The next stage is to mix in both the batters thoroughly . If you are not squeamish, your clean hand will do. If not use a ladle to mix it and salt it and set it aside in a warm dry place.
Fermentation and volume increase:
After about 14-16 hrs you should notice the fermentation process has done its job ! The batter takes on a slightly frothy appearance at least on the surface and volume has increased.
Now mix in the batter once again thoroughly and start making dosa(i)s…
Making the Dosa(i)
In a pre heated flat non stick griddle ( cast iron works great too), drop a ladleful of the batter and swiftly swirl it to make concentric circles . The outcome resembles a crepe.
Do the the edges with a bit of oil.
After a min or 2 , when you notice browning on the underneath and color changes, flipt it tot he other side to finish the cooking
Serve them with idli chutney podi, any of the chutneys you normally make or as in my case with a bowl of steaming sambar. ( recipe for sambar coming up soon)
NC boasted of an insipid and listless weather. It did not quite make up its mind on the sunny scale and we the poor residents were left with drizzle and chills , and added winds. So what do you do on a cold and lousy weather day. Adding to the list of variables, 3 kids with cranky temperaments in various level in the crank-o-meter scale . And it being Navrathri, we were fast exhausting the tolerance for steamed lentils ( aka sundal). Coming to my rescue was a packet of 16 bean soup mix which I had bought some time ago. And this recipe was born !
16 bean soup mix – 2 cups ( check my notes for substitutions)
Brown basmati rice – 1.5 cups
ginger – 2 inches ( skinned )
whole black pepper – 2 tsp ( but please adjust according to your spice levels)
Coriander leaves – a fistful, washed and finely chopped.
Salt : 1.25 tsp or to taste
Preparation time :
Soak the 16 beans in sufficient water for 4 hours at least so it can get rehydrated very well. Soak it along with the ginger , black pepper,cumin seeds and red chillies.
Soak the brown basmati rice in a separate bowl with sufficient water. 4 hours should do for this.
Grind the beans soaked along with ginger, red chilies and black peppers to a coarse paste.
Grind the soaked rice to a fine paste.
Mix the two to yield a nice semisolid batter.
Add salt , and finely chopped coriander and the curry leaves
The batter is now ready for shallow frying, deep-frying or to make thin or thick pancakes.
Shallow frying process:
If you own a mini pancake pan in cast iron or non stick for stove top cooking, cyber high five for you! . This is exactly what I use.
Heat the pan, add a drop of oil or more in case of cast unseasoned cast iron pan, drop in spoonfuls of the batter , just until the holes are 3/4 full.
Make sure you cook in medium heat. You will know the pan is ready when you add the batter in and it sizzles !
In about 2-3 min, you can find the edges browning , you can flip it over. I used a bamboo skewer ( make sure it is dipped in water) to ease the process.
Once flipped, you can see the reddish golden orbs of goodness glistening.
The bottom side should take another couple of minutes to cook.
These are sizzling hot, make sure you wait a couple of minutes before you put it in your mouth.
I will commend you on taking this bold step ! Oh ye brave soul, if you decide to go for this process , you just need to drop spoonfuls of batter in hot oil in a wok.
Points for consideration/Notes:
Make this more nutritious by adding grated carrots, zucchini, squash, chopped spinach etc.
Batter a little runny? No worries ! Add in a tbsp of rice flour. No rice flour at home ? Improvise. add in corn meal, wheat flour etc. Yes, the taste will differ , but you would you rather not try it before you decide?
Make think pancakes out of this. It’s quite yummy.
Don’t have 16 bean mix – add a variety of lentils that you have. This is protein packed , so a missing lentil or 2 or 5 should not matter.
Alright ! I confess I get cravings for the spicy , tangy kind. It could be midnight masala or an afternoon -I-want -something -different – crave.
I simply blame them on my genes of course. You see, I have heard from my mom that she often craved for spicy, tangy food during her life enduring phase with me. I beg to differ, I often though the traffic through the placenta was one way kind. After all, genetic makeup of a fetus is heavily influenced by the chromosomal contributors 🙂 Not the other way around!
Either way , I cannot simply endure toast for too long a time. So out pops this creation, to fulfill the craving of a spice deprived palate.
Be warned : this recipe is born out things available at hand , and can be made definitely healthier by addition of veggies. But once in a while, I would love to indulge in guilty bites:-)
Feeding the guilt :
Whole wheat bread – 6- 8 slices. Sliced into one inch squares.
Red/White/Yellow Onion – 1 Large – diced finely or as per viewer’s choice.
GreenThai chillis – 4-5 – chopped finely or slit lengthwise.
My open secret ingredient : Maggie hot and sweet tomato chilli sauce – 2 tsp
Olive oil : 2 tsp
Salt – to taste. I used about a 1/4 tsp for this recipe.
And your mouth begins to water …
Heat oil in a wok and add in the mustard seeds and pinch of Asafoetida. Add in the urad dal and when it turns brown in color add in the green chillis and curry leaves. Add in the pinch of turmeric powder.Sauté for a min or two.
Add in the chopped onions and cook them till them are fine and translucent.
Add in the curry powder and stir it in for about 30 seconds.
Now gently toss in the sliced bread squares. The idea is to coat in the flavors and spices evenly.
Now add in the pinch of salt and 2 tsp of maggie tomato chilli sauce.
Stir it in gently once again.(By now the aroma wafting from the stove should make your tummies rumble :-))
Add in the freshly chopped coriander and serve it right up!
A fabulous trip down the memory lane ! Serve it with a cup of ginger chai. Life is Jil-Jil Jiga ( according to a very dear friend of my husband !)
Make a healthier version of this by adding in freshly grated carrots, sprouts and sliced bell peppers
Tamarind sweet and sour chutney is a great substitute for the chilli sauce called for in the recipe
Bread a little over the shelf life ?? This recipe rescues it ! In fact this one of the best ways to use it. My craving of course can warrant the use of the freshest bread when required.
Whole wheat dinner rolls could be substituted for bread as well.
Dont feel like eating chunks of bread? leave the bread out on the counter aka airing it out for a couple of days. Finely crumble them and use it in the recipe 🙂
Feel the need for protein – Add in a few peanuts and you are in:-)
As much as I can curse my genetic make up for the susceptibility to the rhino virus, it is an indisputable fact that when it comes to the flu season, I lose! As gracious as it may sound (harboring suspiciously on borderline sarcasm) I try to beat it with my cure all – Ginger tea! You really cannot go wrong with this 🙂
You know the thing about colds right? something about a week with medicine and 7 days without it.. right!.. Treat the symptoms, but suffer through the bout 🙁
Anyways, day 2 with my tryst with the flu, loaded up with Tylenol cold and flu ( severe!) and sharpening my drowsy, medicine clouded brain on the keyboard, I decide to enthrall my audience ( sic !) …wonder if invalidity has something to do with weird proportionality on creativity .. hmm.
For a fresh cup of my cure all tea – The magic ingredients are???
Fresh ginger : 1/4 of an inch : grated finely
Few sprigs of tulsi leaves aka holy basil ( Ocimum sanctum)
Black cloves – just 1- break it part of grind it fresh!
Ground fresh cardamom : a pinch
A pinch of fresh ground black pepper ( yes black pepper !)
Black tea leaves – 1 tsp
Water : 1/2 cup
1% milk : 1/2 cup
Sugar : Optional ( I use honey )
Boil 1/2 cup of water with ginger and holy basil leaves . This should take you about a couple of minutes.
Note: you are not reducing the quantity of water, you are just allowing it to steep in the flavors of ginger and basil.
Add the tea leaves and the rest of the fresh ground spices. About a minute later, add the milk. Sweeten with sugar, brown sugar or honey.
Filter it and enjoy!
Do not have fresh ginger ?- add dried ginger powder 🙂 works like a charm too.
You can always add cinnamon to add the extra touch of flavor
The steps are not daunting- I just like to steep in the flavors of ginger and holy basil.
Fresh Mint leaves too can be added and gives nice touch.
As a last resort, do not have holy basil , add in the tulsi tea bags. But the other kind of basil – the one we use for italian seasoning will not work 🙂