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.  

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.

Godhuma Dosai – Wheat flour crepes/pancakes with green chillies and ginger

Background:

Days when I have had enough of quick and easy upmas and pongals, I turn to this favorite. Easy enough to whip up and a novel change from the rice based dishes, K and I love it with a side of peanut chutney

Stuff you will need:

Wheat flour – 2 cups
Rice flour – 1 cup
Salt – 1-1/4 tsp
Asafoetida – 1 tsp
Buttermilk – 3/4 cup
Cumin seeds – 2 tsp
Black pepper – 2 tsp – broken into halves
Water – 6 cups
Green chillies – 1 – chopped
Ginger – 1/2 inch cube – chopped
Oil to shallow fry

How to make it?

Mix all ingredients and blend well with a hand blender. Let it sit for 30 minutes. On a flat tava or pan spread a few drops of oil and then ladle out two scoops of the batter in a random fashion. The batter being watery will form unusual patterns. DO NOT try spreading like you would do a dosai. Add drops of oil along the sides and cook on medium high heat till edges brown and the surface looks cooked. Turn over using a flat spatula and let cook for a couple of minutes before transferring to a plate.

Serve hot with chutney

Makes 15 crepes

Special Notes:

Curry leaves are optional. Experiment with Wheat flour/Rice Flour proportion to make dosais softer or crispier. Rice flour makes it crispy while Wheat Flour makes it softer.  To make peanut chutney roast peanuts and grind with salt, a pea sized bit of tamarind,2 read chillies and some water.

Lemon and rice make for a spicy lunch

Background:

Lemon rice for me is like a quick fix. A last minute resort when I can’t think of what to make to supplement what I already have. The dish I make when I have a get-together and get this sinking feeling food is not going to be enough.

Stuff you will need:

Rice 1 cup
Lemon/Lime – 2 – squeezed
Turmeric – 1 tsp
Urad dhal – 1 tsp
Bengal gram dhal – 1 handful – soaked for 30 mins and drained (optional)
Peanuts – 1 handful – dry roasted
Curry leaves – 1 sprig – chopped
Ginger – 1/2 inch cube chopped
Green chillies  – 2 slit
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Gingelly oil – 2 tsp
Canola oil – 2 tsp
Asafoetida – 1 pinch
Salt to taste

How to make it?

Pressure cook 1 cup rice with 2.5 cups of water. Once done add gingelly oil and spread out to cool. In a small pan heat canola oil , add mustard and when it pops add urad dhal, soaked and drained bengal gram dhal, asafoetida, turmeric, chillies, ginger, peanuts and curry leaves. When fried, remove from heat and add juice from the lemon/lime and salt to taste. Pour this mixture on top of the cooled separated rice and slowly mix in without mashing the rice.

Serves two

Special notes:

I soak and drain bengal gram dhal because it makes it softer. That step can be omitted. I usually serve lemon rice with vadam or any kind of poduthuval.