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)

 

Veggies and Cheese stuffed Pinwheels – Spiced,Eggless,Whole wheat and Irresistible!

 This should have been one of those soul inspiring or a post with a deep message or something thereof. Truth be told, I was one heck of a distracted soul yesterday and goofed up on a couple of things including the prep on what I needed to do . But hey all is well that ends well right?? Plus it’s the weekend and we can all afford to go a wee bit crazy after a week of 5.30 AM alarming alarms..  Keeping it short and simple.. Just so you know while this was happening, I think Mrs. Doubtfire would have been awfully proud of me. Disaster not withstanding and leaky taps not holding me back , no sir I do not know what you are talking about the orange cup. I think Mr. Bean was channeled and changed genders in my kitchen today 🙂  So did feel like some sort of metaphysical channeling happened right there and I survived and saved the day ! Excuse me while I try and pat my back 🙂

 

So here it goes.. This one is awesome and the recipe is a sure shot keeper. Pinwheels of somewhat flaky and slightly crispy, tender, baked bread encasing spicy veg filling tempered with cheese. Absolutely sinful ( on a diet, well not really ) and so worth it ! An absolute crowd pleaser and kid certified recipe ! Perfect for starter and evening snack. Make it a winner with a cup of hot steaming ginger chai – Cure all for all times !

Truth behind...
Truth behind…

Prep time : 30 minutes    Dough rising time : 110 minutes   Baking time : 20 min  Serves 4-6

 Ingredients (Makes 12-14 pinwheels)

 For the Dough:-

  • 1.5 cup white whole wheat flour (I used KA)
  • 1/2  cup of APF  + 1/2  more cup  as needed
  • 1/2 tsp Jeera or cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp Ajwain  or carom seeds
  • 1 tsp Kasuri methi or dry fenugreek leaves fine crushed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. of granulated sugar
  • 2.25 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 1/4 cup + 2-3 Tbsp. cup of warm water- as needed for the dough
  • Flour for dusting if required

For the filling :- (Makes about 2 cups)

  1. 1/2 cup of grated cauliflower
  2. 1/4 cup colored bell peppers of choice, finely chopped
  3. 1/4 cup of Broccoli slaw
  4. 1/4 cup of carrots and green peas
  5. 1/2 cup of onion finely chopped
  6. 1 tsp. of ginger garlic paste
  7. 1 tsp of Pav Bhaji masala 
  8. 1/2 Tsp of Red Chili powder
  9. 1 tsp. of salt and more if required adjusted to taste
  10. 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  11. 1/2 cup shredded cheese blend

Topping

  • 1/4 cup of shredded cheese blend

Method :

First Rise and Dough:

  • Proofing the yeast : Dissolve sugar in warm milk, add yeast and set aside till frothy. This shows the yeast is active and proofing is especially necessary because we are using active dry yeast. If you do not see the frothing in about 5 minute, re do this step. No happy yeast, no bread rise!
  • Mixing the flours: In a  mixing bowl of your stand mixer (if using) or simply any large mixing bowl, add 1.5 cups of white whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup of APF and whisk it to ensure that they thoroughly mixed . Reserve  the second 1/2 cup of all purpose flour to add as needed. This is especially useful when we do not weigh out the flours and use volumetric measurement.
  • Add Ajwain, Jeera and  crushed Kasuri methi ( fine crushed between the palms of your hands) to the sifted flour . Whisk once again to aerate and thoroughly distribute the spices.
  • In the mixer/  large bowl now add the salt. Add in the oil and whisk it once

Kneading and first rise: 

  • Now add in the yeast mix and 1/4 cup of  warm water to the flour mix.
  • Mix it thoroughly and knead well till everything comes together. Note :- Start with 1/4 cup of water to begin with. Once a loose dough ball starts to come together continue kneading for 5-8 minutes till you get a soft, elastic dough. Adjust the water or flour level to ensure the dough is not dry or too sticky. With so much whole wheat in this mix, the pliability will not be comparable to the one using APF exclusively.
  • In a well oiled pan or the same mixing bowl rest the dough ( cover with a damp cloth and keep it in a warm, dry, dark place) for at least 90 minutes until it is doubled in size.

 For the filling : ( while the dough is rising )

  • In a pan, heat the oil and add in the onion and sauté them very well. Now add in the ginger garlic paste, bell pepper , grated cauliflower, peas and carrots and broccoli slaw in succession.
  • Salt it to ensure it cooks well , but retains its crunchiness.
  • Add in the masalas and chili powder and toss it well so it all comes together and let it cook for another 10 minutes or so,
  • Turn off the heat and stir it well .

For the Pinwheels / Second Rise:

  • Line a large rectangular baking pan or two if desired with parchment paper or baking liner.
  • Once the dough has risen, gently deflate it and knead it well for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Roll it out on a floured surface or a lightly greased surface  to make a rectangle .
  • Spread out the cooled filling on it .
  • Top it off with 1/2 cup of cheese that has been shredded. I used the 4 cheese Mexican cheese blend here.
  • Make a jelly roll by rolling from the short end first.
  • Pinch the end of the seams to seal it.
  • Using a very sharp knife , slice it into 1/4 -1/2 inch slices.
  • You should now see concentric rings of dough and filling.
  • Lift them carefully and place it on the baking pan about 3-4 inches part. Absolutely no touching each other !
  • Cover again with the damp cloth and let it rise for another 15-20 minutes.

Baking:

  • When the second rise is happening, preheat the oven to 375 deg F.
  • Once the second rise is done ( there is an obvious increase in size , but it will not double or so), top with some cheese.
  • Bake for about 18 -20 minutes , until golden brown. 

Once baked, carefully remove them from the tray and let cool on a rack.

Make a steaming hot cup of tea/ coffee/ anything else and Enjoy!

 

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Cornflakes, Poha and Nuts Chivda – Low fat and easy !

Cornflakes and Poha( Flattened rice ) Crunchy toasted mix – Low fat with added goodness of nuts and spices to make it more interesting! Happy munching !

The first of the festivities begin with a bang!!!

DH twisted his ankle and hobbled away chauffeuring A1 for his weekly robotics meeting . You know how you think you end up having this one day of the week without classes or any social commitments ….? And just like that, that day gets picked for this weekly activity. In any case , with DH away and A2 diligently working on her myriad of school projects and A3 generally clowning away, I had this itch to do something. Quick, easy and perfect!

Usually this is the time when I head to the  “baking center of my brain” and subsequently raid the pantry and fridge in the hopes of creating something new. But now is as good a time as any to begin on the Diwali list. Ideally, I would have loved to begin with the creation of a sweet or Mithai. Kind of like beginning on a sweet note kind of thing , tradition and all,so to speak.

Well in this case, this conflakes chivda has a bit of everything – sugar and spice and everything nice.

Happy Diwali folks !

Diwali DIya
Diwali Diya

Cornflakes and Poha( Flattened rice ) Crunchy toasted mix 

Cooking time : 20-25 minutes            Prep time : 5 -8 min                    Serves : 8-10

Ingredients:

  • Unsweetened Cornflakes : 3 cups
  • Thick or thin flattened rice or Poha of your choice : 2 cups
  • Cashews : 1/4 cup
  • Roasted Channa Dal or Dhalia : 1/3 cup
  • Peanuts ( skinned or unskinned ) : 1/2 cup
  • Safflower or any oil of your choice : 6 Tsp.
  • Haldi or Turmeric powder : 1/4 Tsp.

Spice Mix:

  • Paprika or Chili powder : 1- 1.5 Tsp. (Depending on your spice tolerance)
  • Hing or Asafoetida : fine ground : 1/4 tsp.
  • Chaat masala : 1.5 tsp
  • Kari powder ( optional) : 1 tsp.
  • Coriander – Jeera powder : 1/4 tsp.
    Salt : 1- 1.25 tsp.
  • Sugar : 1-1.5 Tsp.

Procedure:

  1. In a big wok or Kadai, heat 2 Tsp. of oil and roast the nuts sequentially and set aside. Do not rush this step. They do need to get roasted to a nice brown color. Hastening this step would result in semi crunchy nuts.. Not what you need definitely! (Remove the contents and let it cool!)
  2. Add another teaspoon oil and fry the roasted Channa dal or dhalia and curry leaves ( washed and dried please!) to crisp.( Remove the contents and let it cool! )
  3. Add another teaspoon of oil and add in half of the haldi powder and add in the 2 cups of flattened rice or Poha. Slow roast this on medium flame. High flame heat will burn the Poha and leave you with an inedible mess! Roast this until all the flakes are nicely toasted and super crunchy. Should take you anywhere from 7-12 min depending on the type of the flakes and heat maintained. (Remove the contents and let it cool!)
  4. Add in the remaining oil and toss in the cornflakes with the other half of haldi powder and slow roast it again. This should take about 10-15 min. They become really crunchy and are more brown in color than the untoasted one. Again do not rush this process and ensure you are tossing the contents thoroughly to distribute the heat. (Remove the contents and let it cool!)
  5. In a separate bowl dry mix all the ingredients listed under spice mix.
  6. Once the contents of the mix have sufficiently cooled down , layer it out in big wide bowl.
  7. Add in the spice mix and gently toss it with a fork or a spoon so it coats the crunchy mix.
  8. Adding in the spice mix when it is hot, will result in sweating of the flakes and you will lose the crunchiness 🙁
  9. Make sure the contents are absolutely cool before storing in an airtight container.
  10. Should stay fresh if properly stored for about 10 days.