August 30, 2012

Cream Cheese Banana Nut Bread or Muffins

Banana Nut muffins
One of my friends has been experiencing an insatiable craving for bananas. She was telling me about it over the phone, and almost immediately I wanted to bake her some banana bread. My cousin sent me this old recipe from the Southern Living magazine long time ago - it was the perfect opportunity to put it to test. 

The recipe makes 2 loaves of banana bread or 24 muffins. I made 24 mini muffins and 12 muffins. Here it goes.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 25 minutes for muffins; 1 hour for loaves.
Cool time: 30 minutes

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 pack (8oz.) cream cheese, low fat, room temperature
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (The original recipe called for 3 cups all purpose flour)
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 medium very ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup walnuts, cashews etc. (The original recipe called for pecans)

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare the loaf pans or muffin tins. I used paper liners for both the muffins and mini muffins.
  • In a large bowl, blend softened butter and cream cheese until well mixed. Add sugar and beat with an electric beater till light and fluffy. 
  • Add the eggs one at a time and whip till incorporated. 
  • Add the flour and blend till completely incorporated. It will be a thick batter. 
  • Now add the baking soda, baking powder, salt and vanilla extract.
  • Fold in mashed banana and 2/3 cup nuts. Pour into muffin tins or loaf pans. 
  • Sprinkle remaining nuts on the batter.
  • Bake muffins for 25 minutes or until done. The loaf takes about 1 hour. Cool completely on wire racks. 

Bon Apetit!
Hetal from Houston

August 28, 2012

Doi Begun -Bengali Style Eggplant in Yoghurt Gravy

Eggplant has been one of my favorite veggies though my husband who does not like it much  keeps saying it is 'begun', meaning of no quality in Bengali! So I never miss an opportunity to make baingan when he is not around and I am with friends who relish it as much I do. In one such recent gathering we made this typical Bengali dish which I learnt from my mother in law.

Serves: 4-5 persons
Preparation Time: 5 mins
Cooking Time: 20 mins

1 medium sized eggplant/ baingan, cut horizontally in round medium sized pieces.
1 cup vegetable oil (Bengalis SHOULD use mustard oil for the authentic taste we like ;))
1 cup yoghurt
4-5 green chillies
1 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 tsp sugar
Salt to taste
Cilantro, to garnish
  • Heat oil in pan and deep fry eggplant /baingan. I just learnt that a friend's mom who makes this dish often actually shallow fries the baingan, making it the healthier option.
  • Arrange baigan in a glass container and soak/drain oil in paper towel (the healthier option).
  • Blend yoghurt, chillies, mustard seeds, sugar and salt. Add water to blender to make the gravy thinner.
  • Pour gravy on baigan.
  • Garnish with cilantro. This dish tastes the best when complimented with hot rice.
Enjoy :)
Doi begun with bhaat ...aaah!!!!! 
Ajanta from Amherst

August 14, 2012

Daal Dhokri - Gujarati one pot meal

Daal Dhokri
While pasta, quinoa and couscous dishes have become a part of our weeknight dinner plans, some quintessentially Gujarati dishes have found their way into my 'weeknight go to recipe' list. Daal Dhokri is one such dish. Simply put, it is spiced whole wheat pasta cooked in lentil soup that is a sumptuous combination of proteins (toor daal 'sauce'), carbohydrates (roti 'pasta') and fresh vegetables. To my mind, it is a nutritious one pot Gujarati meal that makes for very few dishes to clean after a weeknight dinner! :) Here it goes -

Serves: 3-4 persons
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 40-45 minutes

For Daal
1 cup toor daal
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp ghee
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 bay leaf
2-4 cloves
2 cinnamon pieces, 1" long
1" ginger, minced or grated
2-3 green chillies
1 sprig curry leaves
1/2 tomato
5-6 tbsp jaggery
2 tbsp lemon juice
2-3 tbsp peanuts, raw (optional)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
Salt, to taste

For Dhokri
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp asafoetida powder
1 tbsp canola oil
salt to taste

For garnish
1 small onion, finely chopped
1-2 small potatoes, boiled, peeled and chopped (optional)
1 cucumber, diced (optional)
1-2 tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup coriander leaves

For Daal:

Simmering toor daal
  1. Rinse the toor daal till water runs clear. Cook the daal in a pressure cooker with 2 cups water, salt, turmeric and ginger. It took about 3 whistles in my cooker, but time taken may vary. Once cooled, blend the daal in a blender.
  2. In a large sauce pan, heat the ghee & oil. Once hot, add mustard seeds and let it sputter. Add curry leaves, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaf, green chillies and asafoetida. Add blended daal and mix well. Add about 3 cups of water, jaggery, chilli powder, peanuts, tomato and salt.
  3. Bring the daal to a boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes while stirring occasionally. Add lemon juice just before adding the dhokri.
For Dhokri:
Diamond shaped dhokri pieces, ready for the daal pot
  1. In a large bowl, knead wheat flour into a firm dough using warm water and 1tbsp oil. Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder into the dough. Set the dough aside for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Divide the dough into 5-6 golf ball sized portions. Roll each dough ball into large thin chapatis. I rolled the rotis to about 8-10" in diameter, since I have a large rolling board.  
  3. Once rolled, cut roti into diamond or square shapes using a knife or a pizza cutter. 
  4. Meanwhile, bring the daal to a boil, and add the roti pieces one by one (to prevent any lumps). Continue to roll the remaining dough balls, cut into small pieces and add to the boiling daal.
  5. Cook the dhokri in daal for 10 minutes or till the dhokri is completely cooked.
To serve:
  1. Serve hot daal dhokri in a deep bowl. Garnish with the chopped onions, potatoes, tomatoes, onion and coriander leaves.
  2. You could add a drop or two of ghee for added taste. Its purely optional, though.
Sumptuous Daal Dhokri
Bon Apetit!
Hetal from Houston