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.  

Puran Poli – A labor of love.

Background:

Puran poli is one of my all time favorite sweets. It is one of those dishes that are made occasionally when people visit or for festivals though nothing specific comes to mind. For me it is a labor of love. Mixing, measuring, grinding and patting it in shape. Amma pours her love into it when she does make it. With just over a week before she left for home, I made my request for polis and she obliged. As always. Like moms do.

Stuff you will need:

For the Puran (filling)
Channa dhal 1 cup – steamed till cooked but not mushy. Should crumble to touch.
Powdered jaggery or brown sugar – 1 cup
Shredded coconut – 1/4 cup
Cardamom – 1 tsp

For the shell

Maida – 1 cup
Gingelly Oil – 2 tbsp
Salt to taste
Turmeric – a pinch

How to make it?

Grind together the cooled, cooked, crumbled channa dhal, jaggery and coconut to a smooth paste. Mix powdered cardamom. Set aside. Make a dough of the maida with salt, turmeric and water. Add oil to make it a loose stretchy dough. This is important as it needs to be loose and stretchy to make the poli later. Set aside for a few hours.

When dough is rested, make equal parts of dough and the filling. On a flat surface, use a non stick sheet (vazha ilai or ziploc bag) and spread the dough to the size of a small puri. Place the puran ball on it.

Cover the ball with the dough.

Pat to make a flat circular poli.

Remove to hot tawa.

Cook on both sides with a couple of drops of ghee till crispy and browned.

Remove and cool on plate.

Serve hot or cold with a dollop of butter or ghee.

Makes 18 – 20 polis depending on size.

Special notes:

Do not skimp on oil when making dough. A tight dough will cause cracks in poli and will not allow for proper coverage. Puran made with brown sugar instead of jaggery tastes milder.

Kaju Kathli – Cashew, Sugar, Saffron, Cardamom combined to make a flavorful cake

Background:

With Deepavali tomorrow, for the first time in seven years, I gave into the urge to make something sweet. Considering both K and I enjoy cashews a lot, it only made sense for me to make Kaju Kathli or Cashew Cake. After scouring the Internet for recipes that ranged from powdering the cashews and boiling it in a mix of sugar and water to grinding the cashew in milk and then boiling it in sugar syrup I decided to follow whatever seemed to make life easier for me. Even if I say so myself, I was proud I was able to make squares out of it.

Stuff you will need:

Cashews – Powdered – 1 cup
Sugar – 1/2 – 3/4 cup depending on taste
Water – 3/4 cup
Milk – 3 tbsp
Saffron – a few strands
Cardamom – 5 shelled and pounded
Ghee – 2 tsp to grease plate

How to make it?

Grind the cashew using a spice grinder into a fine powder till it makes about one cup. Set aside. In a shallow non stick pan, heat water and add the milk. When it starts bubbling, add the saffron strands and stir in the sugar. When the sugar syrup starts foaming and bubbling, add the cashew powder taking care to stir it in without forming lumps. On a medium heat, stir this mixture till it starts forming powdery trails around the outer edge and you can stir it without the mixture sticking to the bottom of the pan. At this point, mix the cardamom powder in and remove from heat.

On a greased plate, pour this mixture in and pat till it is of even thickness. Allow it to cool slightly before making squares or diamonds. When cool, separate and store in an air tight container.

Makes 30 pieces

Special Notes:

I used 3/4 cup sugar and thought it was too sugary for my taste. The next time I try this, I will definitely reduce the sugar to 1/2 cup. I am not sure if the high sugar content was what helped it become cake like instead of halwa. I highly recommend adjusting the sugar content to please individual palates.

Coating with silver varki is optional. I do not do it as I am not a big fan of varki.