Eggless Banana Oatmeal Nut Bread With No Added Sugar

Background

Every few weeks, I find a bunch of bananas in my fruit basket that are just past their prime that my children will not touch. Banana bread to the rescue. Since I don’t use eggs at home I have used this base recipe and tweaked it to my liking.

     

   
Stuff you will need

Ripe or overripe bananas – 4 or 5

All purpose flour 1cup

Quick cooking oats 1 cup

Baking soda 1.5 tsp

Salt 1/2 tsp

Cardamom powder to taste

Cinnamon powder to taste

Raisins a handful

Chopped walnuts 2 handfuls

1/2 cup melted butter (1 stick)

1/2 cup whole milk

Baking pan greased and ready

How to make it?

Preheat oven to 375 deg F. Mix dry ingredients (flour, oatmeal, salt, baking soda) together well and set aside. Mash bananas, add butter, milk and mix well. Add cardamom powder and cinnamon and mix. To the wet ingredients slowly add dry and fold in. When the mix comes together add raisins and walnuts and mix. If using a bundt pan, throw a few walnuts at the bottom, the pour the mix in. Tap until even and bake on middle rack for 40-45 mins or until knife comes clean. 

Remove from oven when done and let cool well before slicing. Works well as a snack for school or with tea or coffee. 

Makes about 16 slices. 

The recipe is forgiving and amenable to changes. Sometimes I use vanilla essence instead or cardamom and cinnamon. I have tried using dates in lieu of raisins. I have baked without the oatmeal upping the flour to 2 cups instead.  

Adai – Thick lentil and rice crepes

Background:

Adai or Adai Dosai as K likes to call it is a staple in our home. Unlike Dosai that required using a grinder to make the batter and enough time to let it ferment, this crepe is made in half a day. Its healthier and provides ample scope for improvisation.

Stuff you will need:

(soaked for 3-4 hours)

1 cup par boiled rice.
1/3 cup whole urad
1/3 cup whole moong
1/3 cup mix of thuvar and channa dhal
1/3 cup beans like rajma (optional)

6 red chillies
4 green chillies
1/4 inch ginger (optional0
Curry leaves (optional0
Asafoetida 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Gingelly oil
1/4 coconut made into thin pieces

Method:

Grind all ingredients in a grinder with water to a medium fine texture. On a tawa add a few drops of gingelly oil and spread using tissue. Pour the batter and spread into a circle. Make a hole in the center and additional ones around it if necessary. Add drops of gingelly oil along the periphery and in the holes made and cook till crisp at edges. Turn over and cook till done. Remove and stack in a warm container.

Serve hot with aviyal, molagai podi or jaggery.

Notes:

Optionally one can add murunga keerai (drumstick leaves) or other greens in the batter before making adais. The texture of the batter has to be thicker than dosa batter.

Vegetable Subzi – Medley of vegetables simmered in a tomato base

Background:

This is K and I’s favorite sides for roti/chappathi. In its simplest form it is a mix of all possible vegetables simmered in a tomato base. Sometimes, I like to dress it up with grated panneer. With or without panneer, this is one dish that everybody who has tasted seems to like.

Stuff you will need:

(Chopped finely)

Cauliflower – split into florets
Potato – 2 small or 1 big chopped
Carrots – 2 small or 1 big chopped
Green peppers – 1 big – chopped
Green peas – 1 small cup
Corn – 1 small cup
Ginger – 1 inch cube chopped fine
Garlic – 2-3 pods chopped fine
Green chillies – 3 slit and halved
Onion – 1 big or 2 medium chopped fine
Tomatoes – 6-7 small or 5 big chopped fine
Fried panneer – 5-10 pieces (optional)
Coriander – 1/2 bunch chopped.

Oil + Ghee – 2 tbsp
Panch puran – 1 tsp
Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
Hing – 1/2 tsp
Kitchen King Masala – 1 tsp
Kasoori Methi – 1 tsp

How to make it?

Heat oil in kadai. When hot, add panch puran. When it pops add kasoori methi, hing, turmeric, kitchen king masala, ginger, garlic and saute. Then add onions and saute till translucent. Add chopped tomatoes and salt. Mix and cook covered till oil separates. Add rest of veggies and water as needed and cover cooked till done well. Turn every once in a while. Add fried panneer at this stage and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Turn heat off and garnish with chopped coriander.

Serve hot with rotis.

Notes:

If you want to make it creamy, add cream/milk when cooking.

Poondu Rasam – a flavorful garlic soup with tomatoes and lentils

Background:

Poondu rasam is the somewhat distant cousin of the regular rasam I made. One that visited once in a blue moon. Being married to a person who’s definition of masala started with garlic, it is not easy to incorporate this pungent pod in most of my dishes. I would sneak it in sometimes in other stronger tasting side dishes. Rasam being the delicate soup it is was not one to mask the flavor of garlic rather the one to highlight it. On rare days when I felt the rebel in me peek out I made this.

Stuff you will need:

A marble sized ball of tamarind soaked and juice extracted
2 small tomatoes diced
1 green chilly slit
1 pod of garlic – crushed or finely diced
Salt to taste
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 pinch of asafoetida
1 handful thuvar dhal – cooked and mashed
1 tbsp ghee
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 handful coriander leaves chopped roughly

How to make it?

In a thick bottomed vessel add diced tomatoes, tamarind juice, salt, turmeric and asafoetida. Cook on medium heat till it starts frothing and raw smell of tamarind goes away. Add the cooked and mashed thuvar dhal and add water if volume is less. In another small pan heat the ghee and add mustard seeds till they start popping. Add the green chilly and the diced or crushed garlic. When done add this to the boiling rasam. Garnish with cut coriander and cover to lock in flavors.

Serve four

Special Notes:

This rasam does not call for rasam or sambar powder that is a staple of most paruppu rasams. However the green chilly may be substituted by 1 tsp of sambar powder.

Chaat – Bhel Puri a.k.a crunchy colorful spicy salad

Background:

Quick and easy. My favorite snack and at times dinner. Packs in goodness of colorful veggies and the crunch of desi sev and puris. Lends itself to infinite customization and can be made with as many or as less ingredients on hand.

Stuff you will need:

2 cups bhel mix or a combo of thin sev, murmura (pori) or even mixture
2 tbsp date/tamarind sauce (available at Indian stores)
2 tbsp mint or coriander chutney
1 tsp hot sauce
1 tsp chaat masala
2 carrots peeled and grated
2 handfuls sprouted whole moong
1 small onion peeled and chopped fine
1/2 inch ginger peeled and grated
1 green chilly chopped fine
2 medium tomatoes chopped fine
1 potato steamed and cubed
Coriander – chopped fine to garnish
Salted peanuts – a handful

How to make it?

In a large bowl combine all the chopped and grated veggies. Add the peanuts. Add the sauces and the chaat masala. Mix well. Add the 2 cups of bhel mix. Fold in. Mix well and serve garnished with chopped coriander.

Serves two

Special notes:

2 tbsps of thick yogurt may be added to give a different taste to the dish. Get creative by adding colorful peppers chopped well. Or pander to a sweet tooth by adding chopped apples or green apples.

Morkuzhambu – Buttermilk gravy spiced with coconut and cumin

Background:

Considering parupu usili is a favorite in our household and morkuzhambu is often spoken of in the same breath, it is only natural that I feel the need to record my way of making this no fuss side.

Stuff you will need:

Thick curds – 1 cup
Coconut gratings – 2 handfuls
Green chillies – 5
Ginger – 1/2 inch piece
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Bengal gram dhal  – 1 tsp pre soaked
Curry leaves – 1 sprig chopped
Salt to taste
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Oil to season
Okra or pumpkin: 10 pieces each about an inch long.

How to make it?

Grind coconut, green chillies, cumin seeds, soaked bengal gram dhal to a fine paste using little water. Beat the curds to fine consistency and mix the coconut paste in. Add salt. If adding okra, fry it in oil till brown and add it to the curd coconut mixture. If using pumpkin cook it in little water ahead of time and add to mixture. Now heat this concoction on low flame stirring occasionally till the sides start to bubble. Turn heat off and garnish with mustard seeds tempered in oil. Add curry leaves and mix in.

Serves four

Special Notes:

If too much of coconut is not desired using a little more of the bengal gram dhal while grinding the paste. Morkuzhambu can also be made without any vegetables. Goes well with hot rice and parupu usili.

Homemade Thayir, Dahi, Curds or Yogurt in colder climes

Background:

As a new bride I struggled to make thayir like amma made. I tried to emulate what I had seen her do with drastically different results. Over the years, talking to old hands at this, I have discovered a way that makes my thayir almost as good as hers. This applies to colder climes.

Stuff you will need:

2% Milk – 1 liter
Left over thayir – 1 tbsp

How to make it?

Boil milk till it really is ready to boil over. Remove from heat and let cool till you can put your hands around the vessel and hold it there for 10 secs. At this point stir in the thayir. Close the vessel. If you are doing this overnight, let the microwave run for about a minute or two empty. When done, move the vessel containing the milk and close. Leave undisturbed for about 8 hours. Thayir is ready.

Serves four

Special notes:

I have experimented with putting it in the oven and leaving the oven light on, the thayir sets no doubt but becomes sour quick.