Bonkers for Banana Bread


Ingredients:

2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup mashed bananas (I like to use a hand held blender)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees (165 degrees C). Butter one 9×5 inch loaf pan

2. Blend together the eggs, buttermilk, oil and bananas

3. Sift or whisk together the sugar, flour, baking soda and salt. Add to the banana mixture and stir in the nuts. Mix well.

4. Pour into prepared bread pan and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

5. Use a butter knife to release the bread from the sides of bread pan and then flip onto wire racks….quickly flip right side up and cool.

Enjoy!!!
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French Bread

After reading three bread making books by Peter Reinhart I finally attempted french bread.
***SUCCESS***

In hindsight I should have just gone for it. It was super easy…and definitely delicious and ridiculusly rewarding. I’ve been beaming ever since my first bite. And since i had everything out and ready to go I made Peter Reinhart’s pizza dough too. It’s a cold fermentation process which uses the least amount of yeast and takes it’s time building flavor and other magic overnight in the refrigerator. Tonight the pizza is being built, more on that later.

Photo of metal couche is for proofing and baking. Proofing can also be done on a clean kitchen towel and the baking on a metal baking sheet with parchment paper.

Recipes coming soon…

Idli

Idli is another south Indian savory that almost looks like the chinese dumplings. It is eaten as breakfast with chutney and sambhar.

Ingredients
1 cup urad dal (de-husked black lentil)
2 1/2 cups idli rava (granulated rice)
1 tsp salt

Soak the dal in a little water and leave for 6-8 hrs. Likewise in a separate dish soak the idli rava and leave for 6-8 hrs. Once the dal has nicely swollen, rinse and blend in a wet grinder with a little water into a smooth paste. Transfer the blended paste to a large bowl. Squeeze water gently from the idli rava and add to the blended paste in handfuls. Add salt and mix well. Leave outside for up to 24 hrs so the batter can ferment and rise. A well fermented batter yields soft, spongy idlis that melt in your mouth!

Idli’s are traditionally made in a special utensil that comes with special plates with circular cups. The plates can be of two sizes – regular and bite size. The bite size are especially good for dipping into sambhar and eating. They are also a convenient size for little kids. Add a little grease (butter or ghee)¬† to the circular cups to prevent the idli from sticking to the bottom. Add about one tablespoon batter to each circular cup and steam for 10-15 minutes.

Once the utensil has cooled and the lid can be opened, scoop out each idli with a spoon and serve hot with coconut chutney and sambhar.

Bon appetit!

See also:
Uttapam
Coconut Chutney
Sambhar

Coconut Chutney

There are many variations to the coconut chutney and each variation is designed to suit a particular dish it is eaten with. Traditionally the coconut chutney is a must have side dish with idli, vada, and dosa. But  it can also be eaten with rice.

Ingredients
1/2 Fresh coconut (grated or cut into small pieces)
some fresh cilantro
a few fresh curry leaves
3-4 dry red chillies
1 fresh green jalapeno
1/4 cup peanuts (or Roasted dal)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
a little fenugreek seeds
1 tsp oil

Wash and cut half a fresh coconut and set aside. In a pan roast the peanuts until lightly brown and set aside. Add a little oil to the pan and add a touch of asafoetida, turmeric powder, red chillies, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, and fenugreek. Once the mustard seeds start cracking, add fresh curry leaves and remove from stove after a few seconds.  Remove only the fried red chilies and together with the coconut, roasted peanuts, cilantro, jalapeno (optional) and some tamarind (juice, paste or fresh soaked in a little water to soften it) blend in a wet grinder until all are smoothly blended into almost a paste. A tsp sugar can be added as well. Remove from blender and mix in the remaining fried seasoning.  

The same recipe can be used without peanuts to make just coconut chutney and eaten with rice.

Sambhar

Sambhar is a staple dish in South India. It is eaten with rice, is a key side dish with idli, dosa, and vada. As with any dish, there are innumerable variations to the same dish. Over the years, I have evolved my sambhar recipe as well and this is how I make it.

Ingredients
1/2 cup toor dal (yellow split lentils)
1 onion (cut into large pieces) or peeled pearl onions
1-2 carrots (cut into 1 in strips)
1/4 bottle gourd (cut into 1 inch pieces)
1 tomato (cut into pieces)
1-2 drumsticks (optional)
A little white radish (cut into pieces or rings)
some green beans (8-10) cut into 1 in pieces
2-3 stalks of chopped cilantro
A few curry leaves
1-2 dry red chillies
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
A little tamarind (fresh de-seeded or paste)
Touch of asafoetida
Touch of turmeric powder
1-2 tsp oil (vegetable or peanut oil)
1-2 tsp MTR sambhar powder
1 tsp salt

Boil all the vegetables until cooked in a dish with some water or in a pressure cooker. Add one cup water and cook the dal until cooked. In a large pan, add some oil and fry the seasoning Рcumin seeds, mustard seeds, red chillies with some asafoetida and turmeric powder. When the mustard seeds start crackling add the curry leaves and mix. Add the boiled vegetables with any remaining water. Mash the cooked dal into almost a paste and add to the mix. Soak some fresh tamarind (a small handful)  in water and squeeze the juice out and add to the mix. Add some fresh (or dry) grated coconut, salt to taste and sambhar powder. Continue boiling for 15-20 minutes until all the ingredients mix well and the aromas penetrate. Garnish with some fresh cilantro.

Best when eaten hot with some rice or with idli, dosa or vada.

Uttappam: It’s what’s for breakfast!

¬†Now that I have taken an initial dive at writing this cooking blog, I am on a roll. Today I am going to provide a recipe of my favorite south Indian breakfast item: Uttappam. This is predominantly a breakfast item made in the four south Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Each state has it’s own unique flavor to it. Further different batter combination can be used to make it.

Not sure if this is the traditional way to¬† make it. But this is how I make it. It’s fast, easy¬† and healthy to boot!

Ingredients:
1 cup urad dal (dehusked split black gram)
2-3 cups idli rava (granualated rice)
Chopped onion
Chopped tomato
Chopped cilantro
Some frozen peas
Chopped jalapeno (optional)

 

Soak the urad dal in some water for 6-8 hrs. In a separate bowl soak the idli rava for the same time. I tend to use 2 cups of idli rava for 1 cup of urad dal. But some people tend to use 2 1/2 or even 3 cups of rava for 1 cup of urad dal. Once the soak urad dal is ready, rinse it  and put it in a wet grinder to make smooth batter. Do not use too much water, just enough to blend it into a thick batter. Transfer the batter to a large bowl. Lightly squeeze water from the idli rava and toss it into the batter in handfuls. Add a teaspoon of salt and mix well. Set aside. To allow the batter to set, keep it aside for at least 6-8 hrs or leave it outside overnight. To prevent the batter from getting too sour, do not leave outside for more than 24 hrs. Note that these ingredients are easily available in your local Indian grocery store. At some stores you might even be able to pick up ready to cook batter.

To make an uttapam take about 3 table spoons of the batter in a small bowl. Mix in the chopped onion, tomato, cilantro, jalapeno(optional) and some peas. Mix well and add some water to achieve good consistency batter that you can easily pour in a pan (similar to a pancake). Place a wide pan on the stove on low to medium heat. Add 1-2 table spoons of oil and glaze the whole pan with some grease. Spread out the batter on the pan. Adjust pan size and amount of batter to make a round 8-9 in diameter uttapam. Sprinkle some crushed pepper if desired. Cover with a lid and cook on low flame for 5-10 minutes until lightly golden. Flip the uttapam carefully and cook the other side likewise till lightly golden. Can add another tablespoon of oil if desired.

Serve hot by itself or with coconut chutney or  tomato chutney or sambhar or a combination of one or all. My favorite is to actually use a sweet and sour ginger chutney. All recipes forthcoming for these and other delicious fare soon.

Left over batter can be refrigerated and used for up to a week. Any combination of vegetables can be used.  I like to sometimes cut carrots into thin circles and decorate my uttappam like a pizza. So improvise and throw in your favorite veges while you experiment with it. But most of all enjoy!

Stay tuned for another recipe tomorrow: for another healthy, tasty breakfast item with the same batter.

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