Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Eggless Banana cake

My children refuse to eat bananas with spots – yes, that is what they call over ripe bananas.  Even though these bananas with spots are supposed to be sweeter and healthier than the non-spotted ones, I cannot get them to eat it.  So more often than not, the cakes I prepare are banana cakes.  The bananas can be all black and I can still use them in the cake and then I have no complaints from them.  So I keep looking for banana cake recipes and experiment with them – sometimes substitute part of the flour with desiccated coconut or then substitute nuts with sultanas.  Either ways, children love cake and especially warm banana cake served with vanilla ice cream.

I came across this recipe that has not used eggs in the cake and should be perfect for those vegetarians who do not eat eggs.  I was apprehensive as to whether the cake would be moist and spongy enough without the eggs, but there was no difference in texture.  I also made the same cake and substituted half the flour for wheat germ, and it was still as good. 

Preparation Time: 55 minutes
Serves: 6


350 grams condensed milk
100 grams plain yoghurt
100 grams unsalted butter
250 grams flour
1teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla powder
4 ripe bananas, mashed with a fork
1 tablespoon sunflower seeds, lightly toasted
A pinch of salt


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Beat butter and condensed milk together till creamy.  
  2. Add yoghurt and beat till mixed well. 
  3. Sieve together the flour, baking powder and baking soda and keep aside.  
  4. Fold the dry ingredients gradually into the mixture and mix well. 
  5. Add the bananas and vanilla and mix lightly. 
  6. Grease and flour bread tin and put the cake mix into it. 
  7. Sprinkle with the sunflower seeds and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes or till a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool on a rack before slicing and serving.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Red Kidney Bean Stew (Rajmah)

The US Presidential elections are soon coming up in November.  The candidates are current President and Democratic candidate Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney.  So far it seems a tight race.  It is the elections for the President of the US, but we all know that the person chosen to the Oval Office would have implications on the whole world.  The policies of the new President would directly influence the world economy and more importantly the direction the world would go towards – War or Peace.  So then I ask myself – if the President of the US is more than just the Commander-in-Chief of the world’s most powerful nation, should we all not have say in choosing him/her? 

Foreign policies of nations like the US affect us all.  The person elected to be the next President of the US brings with him his ideals and his advisors.  Every important decision taken by the President regarding foreign policies no longer just affects the Americans – it affects a poor farmer trying to make his living in Afghanistan, it affects my friends’ husband who is in the Army, it affects those millions in the Middle East on how they would be perceived in the future, it affects the future of my children.  With powers come responsibilities – and responsibilities not towards a nation but towards the world and its future. 

Preparation Time: 30 minutes + 3 hours soaking time
Serves: 4


225 grams red kidney beans or rajmah
225 grams medium sized potatoes
225 grams ripe tomatoes
10 grams coriander seeds
30 grams sunflower oil
3 dried red (or Kashmiri) chilies
10 grams fresh ginger
Pinch of nutmeg
A pinch of saffron
A pinch of cumin seeds
A pinch of mace
6 cloves garlic
115 grams red onions
¼ teaspoon red color
1 cup water
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon coriander leaves, for garnishing


  1. Wash and soak kidney beans in water for 3 hours.  Pressure cook the beans in 1 cup water for 15 minutes or till cooked.  Keep aside.  
  2. Peel and cut potatoes into cubes and soak in cold water.  
  3. Blanch the tomatoes and keep aside.   
  4. Chop onions.  
  5. Lightly roast the chilies, coriander seeds and the cumin seeds and grind it together with the ginger and garlic.  
  6. Heat oil and sauté the onions.  
  7. When they become translucent, add the ground spices and fry well for 3 minutes.  
  8.  Now add the kidney beans along with the water and half the saffron.  
  9. Add nutmeg and mace and color and cook for 5 minutes.  
  10. Add the potatoes and salt.  When the potatoes are tender, add blanched and pulped tomatoes.  
  11. Simmer till thick.  Add the remaining saffron and cook on low flame, covered, for 10 minutes.  Serve hot with bread or chappatis after garnishing with coriander leaves. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Tikka-style Fish

The pre orders for the new iPhone 5 sold out in under an hour.  Everywhere you see, people own a smart phone.  If you Google (being used as a verb here) what business to start, the best business to start is becoming an app developer or to open a smart phone repair shop.  There are apps today to manage your to-do lists, your grocery and menu, monitor your sleep patterns, book tickets and hotels – to do almost anything.  The “Cloud” is the next big thing. 

I have an ipod to listen to music and audio books.  The last time my son borrowed it, it now can scan products in the supermarket, can make audio and video calls to every place in the world, is able to create troll pictures, blinks every time there is a new news item on CNN and even has an app to monitor bowel movements!  Not to mention all the games I can play when I get time.  And it is all intertwined – I can inform my friends on Facebook what music I am hearing, what news article I read and which places I have been to.  I have to keep up-to-date with all the privacy settings to make sure nothing inappropriate is being shared with strangers.  And then I wonder why my life is stressful!

Preparation Time: 20 minutes + marinating 1 hour
Serves: 4


1 kilo firm boneless fish, cut into medium sized pieces
4 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste
6 tablespoons yoghurt
2 tablespoons Olive oil
2 teaspoons turmeric powder
2 teaspoons chili powder
3 teaspoons cumin powder
Salt to taste


  1. Mix the ginger-garlic paste along with the turmeric, chili and cumin powders, salt and yoghurt and oil.  Use this mixture to marinate the fish pieces, then chill for at least 1 hour until ready to cook.  
  2. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C if you are going to use an oven.  
  3. Put the pieces of the fish on a baking dish and cook for 10 to 12 minutes on each side.  Serve hot with salad.