In keeping with the speed of my never ending quest for variations of Eggless Muffins, today I decided to get a little more adventurous on the contents. I opened my pantry and wondered what to play around with??? Bananas..yes, of course, they are my egg substitues….Chocolates, oh yes, welcome any time….Choco chips. well…why not? I have had them lying in my pantry for months…and I was still missing something. My eyes fell on the box of Rice Krispies and I grabbed a handful. Krispies are always a pleasure to work with because I love the crunchiness that it attributes to whatever I add it to. It`s quite a surprising addition to many quick fixes with more surprising results.
1 cup All Purpose Flour.
3 Tbsp of Cocoa Powder.
Baking Soda – 1 Tsp.
Soft Brown Sugar – 3/4 cups not leveled.
1 Banana pureed in the mixer with 2 tsp of water/milk.
1/2 cup melted margarine.
3/4 cup Hot Water.
Handful of Rice Krispies.
Couple of Chocolate Chips.
1 Tsp Banana Essence / Vanilla Essence.
Measure out the required dry ingredients – the all purpose flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda and mix them in a bowl.
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Take a muffin pan and grease it with baking spray or oil. Set aside.
Start with the wet ingredients – In a mixing bowl, add melted margarine, banana puree, hot water, sugar, and banana/vanilla essence.
Mix slowly to incorporate these ingredients together.
Add the dry ingredients little by little taking care not to whisk briskly as this might rob the batter of air that is needed to give it sufficient sponginess.
Lastly add the chocolate chips and the rice krispies to the batter giving it a whisk.
Using a small ladle, dole out equal quantities on to the muffin pans. We do this so we get equal sized muffins.
Bake in the oven for around 15-17 minutes..Different ovens take different times based on the efficiency, voltage etc so keep a watch with the oven light on.
When you get browning on the top, and the time has crossed 15minutes, keep a close watch and turn off the oven when neeeded.
Madurai amma`s favourite all time chips was the Raw Banana Chips. When we were in school, she would suddenly pick a fresh bunch of green and firm Raw Bananas from her favourite street hawker in Ranganathan Street and immediately would decide on making chips with them. That was the criteria…the raw bananas HAD to be fresh, firm almost just plucked from the tree!!! She would come back home and instruct me to peel it and with the help of the Anjali Slicer, would directly slice them on to the hot oil and flavour them with spices and powders. She would then place them on a cool dry container and store it air tight for almost a week. With the advent of Hot Chips, I must admit that much of our chips making was cut down quite a bit. But there is nothing like home made chips!!! This week when I saw the raw bananas that my husband had picked from the Indian Store, I was suddenly reminded of my grand mother and her impulsive plan to make Raw Banana Chips and I was suddenly craving for them. This weekend I treated my family( and me of course!) to some fried goodness…..
2 Fresh Raw Bananas which feel firm to touch.
Oil to fry.
1 1/2 spoon of Red Chilli Powder.
1 spoon of Salt.
Peel all the raw bananas and using a Mandolin or your knife, slice them cross section in to thin circles.
The more thin the slices are the easier to fry to crispness.
Place them all on a plate to dry out a little and this also makes it easier to pop them in to the oil.
Combine the red chilli powder, the salt and the hing in a little dish and keep ready.
Keep sufficient oil on a kadai and place on a stove set to Medium High.
When the oil is sufficiently hot , pop the sliced Raw Banana pieces one by one.
Keep the number always at a manageable level and dont crowd the kadai with too many chips as they wont fry well.
Allow to fry well on both sides.
Keep a collander lined with tissue on the side and drain all the chips on to the collander.
When still hot from the oil. sprinkle the spice powder liberally on both sides of the chips.
As the fried slices do not have any salt on their own, its the spice seasoning that renders the taste .
Repeat procedure until all the slices are fried.
Store in an air tight container and serve as a side with Rasam or as an awesome evening snack.
Bhajjis – and I remember pouring rain and my family sitting at home, watching tv or chatting sipping piping hot cups of decoction coffee. A favourite of my uncles though would be the Balajee Bhavan bhajji which would be an astounding reddish orange colour and smelling so heavenly. The bhajjis would be served with thick coconut chutney and spicy tomato chutney and would be devoured in no time. Everytime my uncles would come from Delhi, they would have their monring breakfast the very first day, only from Balajee Bhavan. And he would take one of us to go with him….there would be an unwritten rule, that the child that accompanies him, would get to eat the bhajji and Venn Pongal piping hot at the restaurant and then there would be a considerable parcel packed for home. On one such occasion, as we were eating, my uncle asked me ” You are so lucky to be living in T.nagar that too so close to BB. When was the last time you came here?” and I promptly replied “When you came here the last time uncle”!!! and he was astounded…The truth really was that we live so close to many hotels and restaurants. but we never frequent them…Now living so many thousands of miles away….my thoughts wander around my home and its niceness and familiarity.
Last weekend, it poured so much that my husband was suddenly hungry for bhajjis. I hardly ever make it these days because of the oil and the general laziness of making a batter, cutting the vegetables so thin and then frying it in oil. This time, even I felt like having it, and so I set round to making them. I was out of brinjals and so I made them with Onions, Green Plantain and Alu.
1 cup Gram Flour or Besan.
1/2 cup Rice Flour.
1 spoon chilli powder.
1 spoon salt.
1 cup of Water
Oil for frying.
1 Alu, 1 Plantain, 1 Onion.
Pour sufficient oil in to a medium sized kadai with a flat base. Keep the flame on low so that the oil is ready to be used by the time the other prep works are done.
Peel the onion, plantain and alu. Slice them in to thin cross sectional circles and set aside.
Keep the batter mixing to the end as besan tends to change consistency over a period of time.
Add besan, rice flour, hing, salt and red chilli powder to a mixing bowl. Measure out the required water.
Although I have mentioned 1 cup, first add 3/4 cup and then slowly if needed ,you can add the remaining 1/4 cup little by little.
The batter should be thick and NOT a thin pouring consistency.
Now dip the vegetables one by one, and carefully drop in to the heated oil.
Allow to cook well on both sides and drain on to a collander lined with kitchen tissue.
Gulab Jamuns should probably be one of the most popular and easy to make sweets with the current variety of mixes and fast fix instructions. There are a myraid of brands which offer the Gulab Jamun mixes, like Orkay, MTR, Gits, Ashirwaad etc. Some how my favourite has always been Orkay and Gits. Since Gits is more easily available in the U.S, its a sweet I make in a jiffy.
Diwali during my student days was always a flurry of activities like making Mixture, Ribbon Pakoda, Laddoo, Badam Halwa, and Gulab Jamuns amoung other things. Making the jamuns was some thing that amma would leave entirely to me….At that time Archana Sweets in T.Nagar, became very popular and introduced the Kala Jamun. I guess it was a variant of the regular jamuns, only denser in taste and not dripping in sugar syrup. Mom would buy it for us and we would enjoy it at home, nevertheless, there is a particular joy in partaking of sweets borne of out one`s one labour and preparation.
This week was my husband`s birthday and my daughter wanted me to make it for him. ….Secretly I knew, she wanted to have it so I immediately indulged her in this sweet temptation. This goes to those novices who are out there, trying this for the first time….Enjoy!!!
Gits Gulab Jamun Mix.
1 spoon sour cream.
3 spoons of water.
1 1/2 cup of sugar dissolved in 2 cups of water.
Pinch of Rose Essence.
Pinch of Cardamom Powder.
The secret of this sweet is in the mixing of the dough. Empty contents of packet in to a bowl. Mostly the instructions are to measure out the amount of powder and use 1/4`th of that quantity of water. In this case, all you need to use is a spoon of sour cream or thick yoghurt and then 2-3 spoons of water.
Make the dough in to a thick ball and keep covered for 10 minutes.
Now grease your palm and make little balls and set aside covered.
Meanwhile dissolve the sugar in the water and place it on the stove .
Add rose water, cardamom powder and allow to boil for about ten minutes and switch off.
Meanwhile add sufficient oil in a kadai and allow to the oil to heat well.
Slowly roll in the gulab jamun balls and aloow to fry the balls in oil.
Now set the fried jamuns in a little bowl for them to cool off for a few seconds.
Slowly add the fried jamuns in to the rose syrup and allow it to soak before serving it to your guests.
Makes 20 gulab jamuns.
Serving Suggestion based on popular demand!!! – Hot Jamuns with Vanilla Ice Cream….Oh yes! and let the fun times begin!!!
Pooris are a favourite everywhere. My husband loves pooris and would welcome the idea If I could fnd a way to make it for him everyday!!! Pooris are a part of my childhood, as they are special sunday tiffin preps. Sunday evenings, with piping hot pooris and masal and a cup of coffee….They were also an easy day-ahead preperatory travel foods. Mom would make soft fluffy pooris and wrap them up in a layer of banana leaf and insulate them by wrapping them n newspapers – Just like in the hotels. Pooris are great with channa, masal, pickle and hey even sugar, when I was a little girl! My little one has it with Nutella or Apple Butter….
I am guessing the secret to make soft fluffy pooris is in the making of good dough thats well knead. And there is also this frying technique….Let`s go over it here. I also use a Poori Press that I bought from the Patels in Devon Avenue, Chicago for a mere 8 bucks. The best part of using the Poori Press is that even after frying 40 pooris, ,the oil stays clean and without a speck. Kneading the dough well, would anyway render soft pooris on using the manual belan or rolling pin.
2 cups of Whole Wheat Flour
1 1/2 spoons of salt
Water as accordingly.
Oil to fry the Pooris.
Pour only sufficient water and knead the dough well to make a smooth ball.
The dough should not be sticky and not too dry too.
Cover and keep for at least ten minutes, and roll in to small lime sized balls.
Use the Poori Press and make pooris which are uniform in texture and shape.
Pour out the oil in to the kadai, and allow it to heat. The oil should be hot but not smoke.
Gently slip in the poori and allow a second for it to cook. Gently press the poori with the back of the ladle and allow it to fluff.
Now turn over and allow to cook on the other side.
Drain out the excess oil and place the fried pooris in a container lined with kitchen tissue to wear out the excess oil.
Serve Hot with Madras Poori Masal.
This is my entry for JFI-Wheat which is a brainchild of Mahanadi and hosted by RomaSpace.
This simple home made cookie or biscuit as I call it, is a slight variation from my fragrant Coffee Cookies. Many people do not like the aroma of coffee to be taken to cakes and biscuits….And of course, a coffee cookie cannot be served to the kids at large. I wanted to make some thing that is not too sweet and could be enjoyed n the evening as a snack with a cup of tea or coffee. My daughter S, loved it and so did many of my friends.
It`s one of those things that take 20 minutes flat to get done and rolled out…Oh yes, you heard me right…20 Mins…So the next time you need to whip up a quick snack for the evening for your kids and your hubby…think of my home made biscuits!!! One suggestion is to try any baking recipe in a small quantity say half a cup and then extend it to a larger amount. There could be differences in the dough, the power and wattage of the oven, the depth of the baking dish etc. Once you have benchmarked the proportions that worked for you, then you could start out to try larger quantities.
1/2 cup All purpose flour.
2 tsp of butter.
1/4 cup of Powdered Sugar.
Pinch of Baking Powder.
10 numbers of crescent shaped cashew halves.
1/2 tsp Cardamom Powder
Pinch of saffron soaked in a tsp pf milk.
Measure out the baking powder and mix it in to the all purpose flour.
In a mixing bowl, cream the butter (which is preferably at room temperature) and the powdered sugar till it becomes a creamy crumble.
Add the flour, cardamom powder and the soaked saffron to the mixing bowl and make it in to a smooth thick dough. If you feel that the dough is too dry, add milk or water in spoons and try to incorporate the mixture.
Make in to small balls and flatten them and place them on a greased cookie sheet.
Decorate with a half cashew pressed on the face of the biscuit. Mark little patterns on it if you want.
Preheat the oven to 375 F and bake the biscuits for 12-13 minutes or until they turn golden brown.
Dont worry if they feel soft, they will harden as they cool.
I have included the saffron as its aids the body in fighting fatigue and because of its therapeutic properties of strengthening the heart anf the nervous system. If you find the flavour and aroma unacceptable, you could exclude that from the ingredients and just use the cardamom powder.
You could later on also substitute the cardamom with real fruit extract like banana, cherry etc or with orange zest.
My daughter has always been a poor eater all the way. And like any another kid, getting her to have her daily dose of vegetables is a pretty herculean task. I some times wonder how big chunks of pasta and pizza can get past her oesophagus in a matter of seconds, but rasam sadam and keerai always seems to get stuck some where midway!!! But, as is the dilemma of other moms, I have to invent creative little dinners for her to eat, on the other hand, make sure that she does not lose her veggie spread . Yesterday I had to create a quick fix one for daughter and one for the dear dad for a Valentine Day Pre Party snack!!! They both enjoyed it and I did too…
INSTANT BREAD PIZZA:
1/2 cup The prepared Vegetable Topping.
Salt to sprinkle.
1/4 cup part skim mozzarella cheese grated.
Bhujiya to sprinkle
Take a single slice of bread either slightly toasted or plain. Start by smearing a single layer of tomato ketchup. Alternatively you could use Marinara sauce, but the ketchup does not make the bread soggy and allows whatever is placed about it to stay in place.
Scoop a big chunk of the prepared topping and flatten it over the layer of ketchup.
Add a small dash of the bhujiya and top over that with mozzarella cheese.
Pop it for just 30 seconds in the microwave and serve it to your child and enjoy the smiles and praises you get right there!!!
Mine said “Mommy, you are the best”!!!…and my day was made!!!