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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Double Chocolate Banana Cake (No Eggs and No Butter / Oil Recipe)

I came across this moist and yummy cake when I was looking for something that included both chocolate and banana. The person who posted this baked it in a 8x8 pan but I halved the recipe and baked in a 6 inch loaf pan since I was baking this for one, my daughter. The loaf uses a good dose of fruit in the form of banana and apple sauce. The latter replaces the fat (butter/oil) and hence cuts down some of the calories from the recipe. I further cut down the calories by omitting the egg from the recipe. It was not a light and airy cake but still was a super moist one and was surely a winner. Everyone at my home loved the texture and taste of this treat. I am sure that this guiltless treat is going to be featured in my kitchen more and more in the future. Unfortunately, the tiny loaf was gone before I could take the pictures of the sliced cake and all I could manage were these pictures. I am going to update them later.
Source: Here
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 bananas
1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
6 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

* Preheat the oven to 350 deg F. Grease a 6 inch loaf pan.
* Mix together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
* Blend bananas and brown sugar together. Add apple sauce and vanilla and mix together.
* Next add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well to incorporate. Fold in the chocolate chips, saving some. 
* Pour the mixture into the loaf pan. Sprinkle the saved chocolate chips over the surface. (I ended up with a little left over batter that yielded me an extra muffin.)
* Bake until a tooth pick inserted at the center comes out clean, about 35 - 40 minutes.
This goes to the following events.
1. Blogging marathon #73
2. Srivalli's Kids' Delight event, hosted by Kalyani this month with the theme 'Chocolate'.


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Chocolate Peanut Clusters

Here is one more delectable chocolate based treat, after the one I posted yesterday. This one too is a quick and easy one which lures people of all ages. The amount of chocolate chips can be increased if you prefer more chocolate than nuts and vice versa. I wanted to have more peanuts in my clusters and the ratio of chocolate and peanuts mentioned below would yield that.

Ingredients: (Yields 10 clusters)
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup skinned peanuts (salted or unsalted)
* Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
* Add the chocolate chips to a glass or any microwave safe bowl and melt them in a microwave, stirring at 30 seconds intervals, until smooth. Remove the bowl from the microwave and add the peanuts to the melted chocolate chips. Mix well to coat the peanuts with chocolate uniformly.
* Drop spoonfuls of the mixture on the foil lined baking sheet, spacing them.
* Refrigerate until firm.

This goes to the following events.
1. Blogging marathon #73
2. Srivalli's Kids' Delight event, hosted by Kalyani this month with the theme 'Chocolate'.


Friday, February 17, 2017

Chocolate - Shredded Wheat Treat

This makes a quick fix and yummy chocolate treat for kids. It hardly takes five minutes to prepare and so an apt one for play dates or even kids' based parties. I came across this chocolate - cereal based sweet somewhere on the web and barely remembered the ingredients when I got to make this today. I could neither recall the name of the recipe nor the quantities of the ingredients. I just kinda eyeballed the measurements and came up with this crunchy treat. 

1 cup shredded wheat (I used this.)
1 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. semisweet chocolate chips
1 heaped tbsp. of chocolate peanut butter  / regular peanut butter
1/4 cup - A mixture of unsweetened cocoa powder + icing sugar
* The ratio of cocoa powder and sugar can be adjusted to the preferred sweet level. 
* Melt butter, chocolate chips and peanut butter on low flame and stir to a smooth mixture.
* Turn off the stove and add shredded wheat and mix well to coat with the chocolate - butter mixture.
Add the cocoa and sugar mixture to a plastic bag with seal or a brown paper bag. Add the shredded wheat from the above step to the bag and close it. Shake the bag well until the wheat pieces are coated with cocoa mixture uniformly.

This goes to the following events.
1. Blogging marathon #73
2. Srivalli's Kids' Delight event, hosted by Kalyani this month with the theme 'Chocolate'.


Monday, February 13, 2017

Celebrating 10th blog anniversary with Sukhdi / Gud Papdi

This post has been due for a couple of months now but the lazy me kept postponing it. My blog reached a milestone last December, hitting the 10th year mark. Quite an achievement from a personal stand considering that I lose interest in things after a while. Thanks to my readers and fellow bloggers who visit and leave a positive trail and keep me going.
I thought the celebration deserves a treat and so, here comes the sukhdi aka gud papdi. This sweet dish seems to be a quite popular one in Gujarat and the neighboring state of Rajasthan. The basic preparation includes only three ingredients - wheat flour, jaggery and ghee which all are considered to be healthy ones. Yes, in spite of the flak the butter receives because of it's calorie content, the traditional belief in India is that ghee in moderate amounts is good for the body. I am neither fond of nor prepare ghee laden sweets, the only exception being 'Mysore Pak' which is a favorite of everyone at my home including the father-daughter duo who claim to be sweet phobics.
This is a quick preparation but tests your arm strength since you need to keep stirring the mixture the whole time. Properly made sukhdi has a melt in mouth texture. Additional ingredients like nuts / spices can be added to the basic preparation. I used very pale colored jaggery and my sukhdi had a brownish yellow hue but somehow they are looking yellow in the pictures. (That's for people who are wondering why my sukhdi have that color. And also they look firm since they were in the refrigerator for a week or so by the time I took pictures.)

1 cup whole wheat flour / atta
1/2 cup ghee 
1/2 cup powdered jaggery
* Grease a plate or a circular pan which is at least one inch deep. Take care to powder the jaggery leaving no bits and chunks.
* Heat ghee in a wide non stick pan on medium flame and add the wheat flour. Stir well so that the whole flour is coated with ghee. Continue to stir without stopping until the flour attains a darker hue than the one you started with and you begin to notice the aroma, about 5 to 7 minutes. (If the mixture appears dry while stirring, add a tbsp or more of ghee and continue to stir.)
* Turn off the stove and remove the pan from the heat. Place it on the counter top or any solid surface and immediately add the jaggery and stir quickly to mix until the jaggery gets incorporated into the mixture.
* Pour the mixture into the greased plate and even out the surface with the back of a spatula. Cut into desired shapes when the mixture is still warm and set it aside to let cool. When the sukhdi cools, separate the pieces and store in an airtight container.
This goes to Blogging marathon #73, under the theme 'Sweets prepared in less than an hour'. Check here to find out what the other marathoners are cooking as part of the BM.


Sunday, February 12, 2017

Poha Laddu / Sweetened Beaten Rice Flakes' Balls / Atukula laddu

Here are some delicious laddus which happen to be a quick preparation. These are very easy even for a novice and are apt sweet choice for festivals like Diwali, and Krishnasthami.
Ingredients: (Yield 10 laddus)
2 cups beaten rice flakes / poha / atukulu
1/2 cup sweetened desiccated coconut / grated dry coconut
3/4 cup powdered jaggery *
2 cardamoms
2 tbsp. ghee
1 tbsp. each - cashews and raisins
2 tbsp. melted ghee or milk at room temperature to shape the laddus
* Adjust the quantity of the jaggery depending upon it's sweetness
* Toast rice flakes on medium flame in a wide pan until crisp. Transfer the flakes to a wide plate and let cool.
* Toast cashews and raisins in ghee until the cashews turn golden and the raisins turn plump. Keep them aside.
* Grind the cardamom seeds finely.
* Grind the beaten rice flakes, coconut, jaggery and cardamom in a blender / food processor finely. Remember to grind the mixture fine since coarsely ground poha bits are hard to chew.
* Transfer the ground mixture to a wide plate and add the toasted cashews and raisins along with the ghee. Mix well and add extra ghee / milk as needed to shape the mixture to balls.
* Make lime sized balls using the mixture. Store them in a bottle or a container with a tight lid. Refrigerate them if milk was used to shape the balls.
This goes to Blogging marathon #73, under the theme 'Sweets prepared in less than an hour'. Check here to find out what the other marathoners are cooking as part of the BM.


Saturday, February 11, 2017

Low Cal, Microwave Version Carrot Halwa

This microwave version of the north Indian classic treat carrot halwa aka gajar ka halwa is a great substitute if one is looking for a quick and low calorie version. I am the one who mostly ends up consuming the sweet stuff prepared in my home and so, I try to cut calories from those dishes whenever and as much as possible and go for quick versions. This version though not as rich as the traditional version, still tastes good. This can be prepared on the stove top too. I have prepared a small portion here but it can be scaled for a larger quantity.

2 cups grated carrot
1 cup fat-free milk 
Sugar to taste (I used 6 gm. splenda)
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
Nuts to garnish
* Add milk and carrot to a microwave safe bowl and cook stirring occasionally in the microwave, until the milk evaporates. (Saute carrot in a tbsp. of ghee before adding milk if preferred.)
* Next add sugar and cardamom to the carrot mixture. Continue to cook until the mixture until the sugar dissolves and incorporates into the mixture.
* Garnish with nuts and serve warm or chilled.

Other versions posted here.
Carrot - Almond halwa
Carrot Halwa (Microwave version)

This goes to Blogging marathon #73, under the theme 'Sweets prepared in less than an hour'. Check here to find out what the other marathoners are cooking as part of the BM.


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Surati Dal

Today's recipe comes from the state of Gujarat. I had prepared this  flavorful dal as part of a simple Gujarati lunch which also included rice, roti, ringan methi nu shaak and shrikhand. The dal is a quick and easy preparation though it appears to be a tedious one going by the long list of ingredients.

3/4 cup toor dal / lentils
1/8 tsp. turmeric powder
2 tbsp. peanuts
2 small tomatoes, finely chopped
1 green chille, chopped
1/2 tsp. red chili powder or adjust
Salt to taste
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. jaggery powder or adjust as needed
Cilantro to garnish
Ingredients for tadka:
1 inch piece ginger, chopped
1 tsp. mustard seeds
Few curry leaves
2 - 3 red chilles. broken into bits
2 pinches of asafoetida powder

* Rinse and pressure cook the lentils along with peanuts, turmeric, tomatoes, green chillie adding 1.5 cups of water. (Sometimes the sourness of tomatoes may interfere with the cooking of lentils and in that case cook tomatoes separately.)
* Mash the cooked lentils well with the back of a ladle. Add ginger, salt, chili powder and jaggery to the cooked dal. (I added ginger to the tadka, instead.) Add about 3/4 cup to 1 cup water to the dal since it should be slightly thinner consistency.
* Cook it on medium flame for about 5 minutes. Taste the dal and adjust the seasoning if needed.
* Heat oil in a pan and add ginger. When it starts to turn golden brown, add mustard seeds, curry leaves, and chillies. When mustard seeds start to pop, add asafoetida and turn off the stove. Add this tadka to the dal. Turn off the stove and add lemon juice. Mix well and serve warm with rotis / rice.

This goes to Blogging marathon #73, under the theme 'Flavors of India'. Check here to find out what the other marathoners are cooking as part of the BM.


Saturday, February 4, 2017

Bale Hannina Rasayana

Rasayana from Karnataka is a simple sweet dish made with banana (bale hannu in Kannada), coconut and jaggery. There are two different variations for this simple dish where the one popular in and around Bangalore uses the coconut while the Mangalore version uses the coconut milk. This version rasayana is distributed as 'prasada' in temples in around Bangalore while today's version can be eaten with pooris, neer dose or can be eaten / drunk as it is. I have given the recipe for a smaller portion but it can be scaled for larger proportion.
Ingredients: (Yield 1 serving)
1 medium sized banana (About 1/2 cup chopped)
1 cardamom pod
3 tbsp. finely powdered jaggery
3 to 4 tbsp. fresh, shredded coconut

* Peel and finely chop the banana. Finely ground the cardamom seeds. 
* Combine banana, jaggery and ground cardamom in a bowl. Mix well and leave it aside for about 20 minutes for the mixture to incorporate.
* Add a little water and finely grind the coconut. Pass the mixture through a sieve and collect the coconut milk.
* Add the coconut milk to the banana mixture and mix well. Serve it immediately.

This goes to Blogging marathon #73, under the theme 'Flavors of India'. Check here to find out what the other marathoners are cooking as part of the BM.


Friday, February 3, 2017

Chikkudukaaya Koora / Valor Beans Curry

A plan to be away from online during my kids' winter break coupled along with some procrastination led me to stay away from the blog for the past few weeks. And so, this happens to be my first post of the year and I wish all my readers a happy and healthy new year, albeit a little late. 
Today's recipe comes from the south Indian state of Andhra which happens to be a simple and typically home style preparation. Toor dal in this vegetable preparation can be replaced with moong dal or chana dal / split chick peas. However they need to be only soaked in water but not cooked and added at the end of the preparation. Addition of coconut to curries used to be not the normal fare in Andhra as it is in the neighboring regions. However coconut definitely enhances the flavor of the curry and is recommended. 
1.5 cups stringed and chopped valor beans / chikkudu kaayalu
1/4 cup cooked toor dal / pigeon peas
1 tbsp. oil
1 tsp. split chick peas
1 tsp. split black gram
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
2 red chillies
1 sprig of curry leaves 
1/8 tsp. turmeric powder
3 to 4 tbsp. shredded fresh coconut (optional but recommended)
Salt to taste

The cooking part:
* Cook toor dal such that it holds shape without falling apart when stirred but still is cooked.
* Trim the ends and string the beans, if necessary and chop them into about 1/8-inch pieces.
* Heat oil in a kadai or in a saute pan and add mustard seeds, chana dal, urad dal, cumin seeds, red chillies and curry leaves.
* When the dals turn reddish, add the chopped beans, turmeric powder and salt. Stir them, cover the pan and cook on low - medium heat till the beans turn tender. Keep stirring once or twice in between.
* Then add the coconut and cooked toor dal and mix well. Turn off the stove after a couple of minutes.
* Serve it warm as a part of a south Indian meal. 

This goes to Blogging marathon #73, under the theme 'Flavors of India'. Check here to find out what the other marathoners are cooking as part of the BM.