Monday, August 30, 2010

Healthy Banana Bread loaded with all the good stuff....not only Whole Wheat but Eggless too

It's been little busy over here, summer vacation is over. Trying to set some routine after 2 & 1/2 months of  break. Mind is working hard again to find interesting options for school lunch & after school snack, on top of that this year in 3rd grade they have to take snack too. So here's this simple recipe which I feel is a very good option for any time of the day snack, we have been eating this as morning breakfast with a glass of milk or coffee. It's quite filling & healthy too. It's Banana Bread but not regular kind, I'm using not only whole wheat flour but oats also in this. I had no plans of making this bread but thanks to my little one she has found one new hobby, whenever she can grab a banana she likes to peel it, until now she usually would eat it too, but now-a-days she only peels them & she's done. Now what do I do with 3 peeled bananas in a day. So I twisted my regular banana bread recipe added few more things to it and here goes the recipe(please do check the variations at the end of the recipe, got whole wheat version too) :

What U need :
dry ingredients :
  • 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp. all purpose flour (I used maida)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour(I used atta-flour used for making Indian style flat bread)
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1 /1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. dry ginger powder(optional)

wet ingredients :
  • 3 med. size ripe bananas
  • 3 Tbsp. veg. oil
  • juice of 1 orange
  • 4 Tbsp. honey
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar

good stuff :
  • 2 Tbsp. dry roasted flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup roasted, chopped almonds
  • 10 dates chopped

What U do :
  1. Take all the good stuff(nuts & dry fruit etc.) & sprinkle 1 Tbsp. of flour on them & mix them with the hand so they get good coating of flour. It  helps preventing them from sinking to the bottom of the pan.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients using a fork making sure no lumps are formed.
  3. In a big bowl mash bananas using the back side of fork & add rest of the wet ingredients from the list.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet ones. Gently mix them.
  5. Add mixture of good stuff to the batter, fold it in.
  6. Bake it in the greased loaf pan for 35-40 min.(till the tooth pick comes clean) at 350 degree F.

Note :
This bread was little crumbly but very flavorful, it reminded me of fruit cake & was quite soft even for next couple of days. I did made this for 3-4 times in this month but every time with little variations. Actually this recipe is very forgiving one can easily adjust the ingredients according to the availability or taste. All the variations had almost same amount of oats.

Variations :
First was with half all purpose flour & half whole wheat flour.
 Second was with totally whole wheat flour, came out really good without any compromise on taste.

Third was again totally whole wheat flour but I added 2 Tbsp. of Ragi(finger millet) flour & 1 Tbsp. of flax seed(alsi) meal(powder) also. Instead of almond & dates I only used around 1/2 cup of black raisins & I didn't had any oranges so I added 1-8 0z. carton of apple juice, reduced oil to 2 Tbsp. only(works fine) also reduced the sugar a little bit. Bananas used were also one & a half only. I baked them in mini bundt pan so baking time was reduced to 16 min. only at 350 degree F(recipe yielded 12 mini bundt cakes-I had filled each cavity to 3/4 level). I highly recommend this recipe if you are trying to bake with whole wheat flour as it was light & not at all heavy texture. And these were not at all crumbly. Here's the click...
And this wonderful healthy bread/mini bundt cakes  goes to Champa for her weekly bake-off.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Winner of $60 giveaway and Strawberry + Blueberry Preserve / Jam

First of all thanks to all the readers who took time out to browse thru my recipes and left the comment on the previous post, really meant a lot to me. Now, for the winner as you all know there can be only one so I took help of my daughter to pick one. Yes, I'm little old fashioned still have not figured out(read it as lazy also) how to use so wrote all the names on piece of paper, folded each piece of paper, mixed together in a bowl, picked one and Congrats to Eve for winning $60 gift certificate from CSN. I'll send you an email with all the details, enjoy your win and Thanks to CSN for giving me the opportunity to host this giveaway.

Now for today's recipe here's a simple Strawberry and Blueberry Preserve/Jam.

Simple ingredients no fancy stuff, I'm making this from almost last 5 yrs. One of his Aunt when she visited us from dehradun-India(hub for strawberry cultivation in India) gave me this simple recipe, since then I usually make it every other week in strawberry season. My husband doesn't like store bought Jams/Preserve but this is one home-made preserve he eats with everything. I even freeze it for couple of months(I don't do canning) when I get big supply of strawberries, just thaw it in the fridge before use(see notes). I prefer to keep it in the fridge and it goes well with pancakes, as a spread on toasted bread, on top of ice cream or simply spoonful from jar to mouth. Now for the recipe :
What U need :

  • 1 pound of fresh strawberries

  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries

  • 3/4 to 1 cup white sugar (depending upon the sweetness of berries)

  • juice of half a lemon
What U do :

  1. Wash all the berries. Hull the strawberries & roughly chop the strawberries.

  2. In a heavy bottom steel pan(non-reactive) put all the berries and mix sugar in it. Let it sit for 3-4 hours.

  3. On a medium heat bring the berry mixture to a boil add lemon juice & let everything cook together till it becomes thick & glossy, keep stirring in between.

  4. Once the fruit is cooked & all soft you can mash it with the back side of your spoon, that way it's still chunky but don't have too big pieces of fruit. It might take around 20-30 minute or so to cook the whole thing depending upon how juicy the fruit is. Once cool transfer it to sterilized jar. 

Note : You can easily leave the blueberries out for only strawberry version. Also this is not very sweet, it's more of sweet & tangy in taste but if U like more sweeter version U can simply increase the quantity of sugar. For freezing I usually portion it into roughly 2 week supply & fill it into glass bottles and don't fill to the brim, because when it freeze it expands so need extra space otherwise the bottle will crack. I usually fill 3/4 of the bottle.

As I'm writing this post, in my mind I'm planning to make a fresh batch of this preserve in the morning as the one made last week is already finished, little one enjoyed licking it from the plate. So go ahead and try it at least once before the strawberry season slips away.

Monday, August 9, 2010

CSN Giveaway for $60 and Mango Chutney/Chunda/Preserve

Most of my blogger friends must be aware of CSN giveaway going on in different blogs. CSN has wonderful collection of products, be it furniture or cookware you name it they have it. Just to get an idea what I'm talking about look at this collection of Dutch Oven, they have such a big collection. Last week I was also contacted by the wonderful CSN people regarding an option of doing review or giveaway. It was a moment of excitement for me and first thought which came to my mind was if my blog gets any kind of recognition, first credit goes to readers. Those who blog knows how much important it is for a blogger to have's like I'm talking & somebody is listening. So as a thanks to my readers I decided to do a giveaway.

So here's the deal CSN is going to giveaway gift certificate worth $60 to one of the readers. It's open to everybody, but in case of readers who live outside USA they gonna need to have US address as the point of destination, so may be you can use it for your friends or family if any one lives in US. Also there may be international shipping charges in case of  Canadian addresses. Now to participate in the giveaway I have decided following rules :
 1)  I don't want to force anybody to follow my blog but if you really like to read what I blog or if you really like my recipes you can surely become the follower....I'll be happy but becoming a follower is totally optional.

 2) Now comes the work part, browse through my recipes & leave a comment on this post telling me if you have to cook one dish from my blog what would that be. Again you don't have to cook but if you cook something I'll be happy to hear your review.

 3) If you are  a blogger spread the word about "CSN giveaway at Spicebuds"  in your blog & link back to this announcement page & leave a another comment for additional entry.

 4) Contest will be open till Aug/16/2010 and winner will be announced on Aug/17/2010.

 5) Please make sure you leave valid e-mail Id with your comment. All the Best.

Now what is this photo, well it's a food blog even if it's a giveaway post I feel it's incomplete without some recipe, so here goes simple mango chutney or as we call it chunda. Mango chunda is a sweet & sour kind of fruit preserve which is very common in Gujarat, but I've seen it equally popular in Delhi also, among my family & friends. Recipe over here is from my Mom, there was a time when she use to make it for whole extended family & friends(without any help of electric kitchen machines to do the grating part, that was the duty of Dad & kids) and it was relished by everyone. I also use to get my supply from her only but I guess now it's high time I should start experimenting with aachar(pickles) & chutneys, I already gave you an idea that pickle & chutney recipes are coming soon. Now for the recipe, it was a trial batch so I made it with 1 large mango only.
What U need :
  • 1 large raw mango, washed, peeled, grated (about 1 cup)
  • 5-6 tbsp. white sugar----check notes
  • salt ( i used 1/2 tsp.)
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. red chilli powder (lal mirch)
  • 1 tsp. cumin powder (jeera powder)-preferably roasted
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala (optional)
  • 2-3 cloves (laung)

What U do:

  • In a wide base steel pan/pot put grated mango & sprinkle sugar on it and stir. Let it sit overnight or at least 3-4 hours.
  • Add rest of the ingredients & cook for around 15-20 minutes on slow to med. heat.
  • Once all the water evaporates and preserve comes together turn the heat off.
  • Let it cool completely before transferring it to glass jar/bottle.
Notes : here in USA the kind of raw mangoes we get are not only big in size but many a times not very sour they are more toward sweet side that's why I didn't had to use lot of sugar. It was reasonably sweet & sour for our taste & we could eat it spoonful without any thing along with it. So make sure you adjust the amount of sugar according to the sourness of mango.

Enjoy it with roti or as a spread on bread or like in my mom's house we all loved to finish our meal with a spoonful of this sweet & sour chunda. And don't forget to participate in $60 giveaway by CSN right here at spicebuds.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Roti Stir-fry......quick snack, using left over roti

As I mentioned in my previous post now a days lunch is home made ice cream, so on one such day after gorging on home made vanilla & mango ice cream around late afternoon when stomach started to rumble that was the sign that I need to go to kitchen & cook something. So this quick dish is result of all the above. I had some left over rotis(Indian flat bread), instantly the idea of roti poha on the lines of bread poha came to my mind. This dish was done in within less than 10 minutes start to finish, it's just a guideline one can add any veggies of their choice.

What U need :
  • 4 left over rotis/chapatis, cut into around 1 x 1/2 inch pieces
  • around 1 & a half cup of thinly shredded cabbage
  • 1/3 cup of frozen peas
  • 1/3 cup of frozen corn
  • 3-4 green chillies, chopped
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds (rai)
  • few curry leaves
  • 2 Tbsp. of cooking oil
  • pinch of asafoetida(hing)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder(haldi)
  • 1 tsp. red chilli powder(lal mirch powder)
  • 1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts
  • 1 Tbsp. dry roasted sesame seeds
  • cilantro or green onions, chopped for decoration
  • juice of 1/2 a lime

What U do :
  • Take a wide pan/wok/karahi, heat oil in that.
  • Add mustard seeds once they splutter add curry leaves, also add hing.
  • Turn the gas to high & add cabbage & cook it for 1-2 minutes on high heat only and then add peas & corn. Keep stirring veggies as it's on high heat.
  • After another minute or so add salt, turmeric, chilli powder & chopped green chillies.
  • After another minute or so add roti pieces, mix everything together. Once rotis get coating of all the flavors, around 2 minute, turn the gas off.
  • Sprinkle peanuts, sesame seeds and lime juice. Garnish with green onions or cilantro.

Note : this dish is done on high heat & no liquids are used, only little oil, so make sure U keep stirring the veggies otherwise they might stick to the bottom of pan. If needed use only a spoon or two of water. Cooking them quickly on high heat helps in retaining the crunchiness of cabbage. If  U prefer little water can be used & cabbage can be cooked till it's fully soft. Once dish is done Covering the pan with lid will also helps in getting some moisture to the dish & making it little more soft.

So next time U have any left over rotis, try this recipe it's perfect as anytime snack or as morning breakfast, healthy and filling, enjoy.