Chocolate Banana Muffins

As Garlic Goddesses turns 2, here’s another sweet treat from our kitchens. The past year has been slow from our end due to personal commitments. We do hope we can do better this year! We appreciate and welcome all your support and encouragement. Here’s to another year of delicious food 🙂

I always turn to making the dependable Banana Bread every time I have ripened bananas on hand. This time I wanted something different and decided to turn to my favorite, Nigella Lawson, for ideas. These muffins are definitely more interesting than the bread given that it has chocolate in it and I decided to throw in some chips for good measure! I’ve swapped the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour. Good for breakfast or if you want to sneak in a snack. You can find the original recipe here

Yields: 12 muffins

Ingredients:

Whole wheat flour – 1.5 cups
Over-ripe Bananas – 3
Unsweetened cocoa powder – 3 tbsp
Vegetable oil – 1/2 cup
Eggs – 2, room temperature
Baking Soda – 1 tsp
Raw cane sugar – 1/2 cup
Semi-sweet chocolate chips – 1/2 cup

Method:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit or 200 degrees Celsius
  • Place 12 liners in a muffin tin
  • Sift flour, baking soda and cocoa powder in a bowl; set aside
  • In a large bowl, mash the three bananas using a fork until you get a thick paste
  • Beat on low using a hand mixer and add vegetable oil to the bananas
  • Continue beating and add the eggs one by one, followed by sugar
  • Add the flour, baking soda and cocoa powder mixture, beating on low until everything is combined
  • Stir in the chocolate chips
  • Spoon this mixture into the muffin liners
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes 
  • Allow to cool on a wire rack before refrigerating
  • You can eat them warm as well

Verkadalai/Peanut Chutney

When it comes to chutneys, this is my absolute favorite. Even though this was prepared regularly at my house, every time I make this now, it takes me back to one of my fond childhood memories, where my mom would prepare this on the day of Varamahalakshmi Vratham festival. On that day, our lunch was more like breakfast where we would prepare idli, vada, masala sambar and specifically this chutney, along with other sweets and snacks. The consistency of this chutney is thick and coarse like a pesto (In Tamilnadu a thick chutney is called “getti chutney”), and not runny like other typical chutneys. I recall my mom and aunt preparing this with a grinding stone which actually gives better control over the consistency and texture than what you can get with an electric mixer or processor. But nevertheless, it is worth trying and hope you enjoy it!

Ingredients:

Urad dal/ Split black gram – 2 tbsp
Asafoetida/ Hing – a pinch
Dry red chillies – 1 or 2 (depending on size)
Raw peanuts – 1 cup
Green chillies – 2
Coconut pieces – 2/3 cup
Roasted chana dal/ Pottukadalai – 1/2 cup
Coriander leaves, chopped – 3 tbsp
Curry leaves – 4 to 5
Tamarind – small piece (approx 1 tsp)
Sugar – 1 tsp
Salt – to taste
Oil – 1 tbsp

Method:

  • Heat oil in a pan and add urad dal, hing and dry red chillies
  • Add peanuts and saute for a minute,
  • Add coconut and roasted chana dal and saute for couple more minutes
  • Add coriander leaves, curry leaves and tamarind
  • Saute until the peanuts and chana dal are just about golden brown in color
  • Remove from heat. Let it cool for about 5 minutes. Add salt and sugar
  • Transfer the ingredients to a mixer jar. Grind a couple of times without water until everything is powdered
  • Add water in very small quantities and grind until everything blends well into a semi-coarse paste
  • Serve with idli or dosa

Copra Chutney Powder (Chutney Podi)

One of my favorite accompaniments to dosai is chutney podi. It can be made ahead or even store-bought. While some brands are pretty good (my favorite is the coarsely ground kind from Grand Sweets, Chennai), I tasted this home-made version at my brother’s place and realised how addictive it tastes! It’s a recipe from my sister-in-law’s family. It’s super easy to make and can be stored up to two weeks. This podi does not require any sesame seed oil or ghee. You can have it as is, given that the copra is quite oily in itself.

Ingredients:

Copra/Dry coconut – 2 cups, finely grated (see note)
Garlic – 1 pod
Dry red chillies – 12
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Roasted Split Gram – 1/2 cup
Salt to taste
Oil

Method:

  • Blitz the copra in a food processor or grate finely and set aside
  • In a pan, dry roast the cumin seeds; allow to cool
  • In a pan, add a drop of vegetable oil and fry the dry red chillies; allow to cool
  • Combine the cumin seeds, dry red chillies and the whole garlic (cloves separated but unpeeled) and blitz them in a blender along with salt
  • Add the coconut and roasted split gram and blend again till the entire mixture is well-combined and ground well (it will not be a fine powder but a coarse one; ensure that everything is blitzed to as small a piece as possible)
  • Store in an air-tight container
  • Serve with dosai or idly

Note: I ground the copra in a food processer. And then ground it again even more finely in the mixer. If you do not have a food processor, you could grate it as finely as possible (exercise for the arms!) and then grind it in the mixer to get a finer powder. Another option is to slice the copra and then grind it in a mixer. Whatever works for you!

Coconut Chutney

Coconut Chutney is a staple south Indian recipe. Every household has its own version and it is crucial to a breakfast of dosai, idli or uthappam. As a child I remember spreading this chutney on a slice of bread, toasting it on a tava and then eating it with sugar. That hit of spice and sweet is yummy! Or you can stick to its more traditional use 🙂

My version is fairly simple and straight-forward. You can very easily leave out the coriander leaves, tamarind and roasted gram dal and you will still be left with a delicious chutney. 

Ingredients:

To Grind

Coconut – 1/2
Green chillies – 3
Ginger – 1 tsp, chopped
Roasted Gram dal – 2 tsp
Coriander leaves – 1/3 cup, chopped
Tamarind – 1 cm piece
Salt to taste

To Temper

Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
Urad dal – 1 tsp
Dry red chillies – 2
Curry leaves – 4
Oil

Method:

  • Grind all the ingredients mentioned under ‘To Grind’
  • Add enough water till you get a thick chutney consistency or more if you prefer it to be watery
  • Transfer to a clean container 
  • In a kadai, heat oil and add mustard seeds
  • Once they crackle, add cumin seeds, ural dal, dry red chillies and curry leaves
  • Add to the chutney and mix
  • Serve with dosai or idly

Akki Roti with Methi / Rice Flour Roti with Fenugreek Leaves

Akki Roti is a breakfast staple in Karnataka, and being from Bangalore myself, this is one of my favorite breakfast/dinner items. This is an easy and quick to prepare dish and requires very simple and basic ingredients. I have used Methi leaves in this version to make it more nutritious. Grated carrots are also used commonly. Again, this is one of those recipes where keeping the base ingredients the same, you can play with different add-ons like different types of greens or nuts. Any type of chutney goes well with Akki Roti but some tangy and spicy tomato chutney sure tastes great with it!

Ingredients:

Rice flour – 1.5 cups plus extra for dusting
Methi/ Fenugreek leaves – 2 cups
Onion, finely chopped – 2/3 cup
Coriander leaves, finely chopped – 4 tbsp
Green chillies, finely chopped – 2
Grated coconut – 4 tbsp
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
Salt – to taste
Oil – for pan frying

Method:

  • Wash the Methi leaves well and chop them finely
  • In a mixing bowl, take all the ingredients (except oil) and mix well

  • Add water gradually and knead into a soft dough

  • Divide the dough into equal sized portions
  • Take a sheet of parchment or wax paper and apply few drops of oil
  • Place the dough on the paper and press with your fingers. Do not use rolling pin
  • Use more oil or dust with extra flour if it gets sticky
  • Spread the dough into a nice circular roti

  • Heat a tawa/griddle and apply 1/4 tsp oil
  • Once the griddle is nice and hot, transfer the roti. For easy transfer, flip the parchment paper with the roti on the pan and slowly peel off the paper and re-use for next roti. If you are using wax paper, be quick in removing it as it is not as heat resistant as the parchment paper
  • Cook the roti well on both sides, about 2-3 minutes on each side until it starts browning slightly. Use extra oil if needed

  • Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining rotis
  • Serve with your choice of chutney

Open Faced Breakfast Tacos

This is another dish that I came up with, with what was available in my pantry that day. The mashed potatoes is very healthy with no butter or cheese plus, it has avocados that makes it tastier. This is also a good way to make use of any leftover chapatis/tortillas from the previous night’s dinner.

Ingredients:

Tortilla/ Chapati, cooked – 6
Eggs – 3
Pepper powder – 1/2 tsp
Oil – 3 tsp
Salt – to taste

For the mashed potatoes:
Potato, medium – 2
Avocado – 1
Garlic clove – 1, optional
Milk – 2 tbsp
Green chillies, finely chopped – 2 to 3
Coriander leaves, finely chopped – 5 stalks
Lemon juice – 1 tsp

Method:

  • To prepare the mashed potatoes, cut the potatoes into half and boil them
  • Once the potatoes are cooked, peel the skin and mash them
  • Scoop out the flesh from the avocados and add to the potatoes. Add milk and mash them well
  • Follow by adding crushed garlic, green chillies, coriander leaves, lemon juice and salt. Mix well and set aside
  • Beat the eggs with salt and pepper
  • Heat a pan, add 1/2 tsp of oil and pour little bit of the egg mixture to make an omelette
  • After 2 minutes, flip it to cook the other side. Then, remove and repeat until you have 6 of these
  • To assemble, place a tortilla on a plate, then place an omelette over it. Top it with a big dollop (approx. 3 -4 tbsp) of the mashed potato mixture
  • Garnish with cilantro and few strings of onion. Server hot with a sauce of your choice 

    

Cabbage Paratha

This is a healthy and easy to make recipe for breakfast or dinner. The taste of these parathas reminds me of my Mom’s Cabbage Puttu due to the use of similar ingredients. This is a really good way to use leftover cabbage.

Cabbage paratha

Ingredients:

Wheat flour – 1 cup
Besan/ Chickpea flour – 3 tbsp
Grated cabbage – 1 cup, tightly packed
Green chillies, minced – 2
Coriander leaves, finely chopped – 2 tbsp
Chilli powder – 1/2 tsp
Dhania powder – 1/2 tsp
Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
Salt – to taste
Oil – 1/2 tsp plus, for cooking

Method:

  • Remove any excess moisture from the cabbage ensuring it is dry. Also see note below.
  • In a bowl, mix all the ingredients except the oil 

Cabbage paratha 1

  • Add water as needed and knead into a firm dough. Add 1/2 tsp oil to get a smooth dough

Cabbage paratha 3

  • Divide into 6 to 8 equal portions
  • Roll each of them into thin circles (6 to 8 inches diameter)
  • Heat a tawa/griddle and place the paratha 
  • Flip a couple of times and when it starts changing color, apply 1/2 tsp oil and cook well on both sides
  • Serve hot with yogurt or your favorite pickle

Note: It is very important that you make the parathas as soon as you prepare the dough. In other words, make the dough only when you are ready to cook them. If left sitting, the cabbage will release water and the dough will become moist and sticky and will lose its firmness.

Hash Browns

My husband and I love the hash browns that is served in American breakfasts. He was the one who made them at home the first time and they turned out pretty good! We don’t cook with potatoes too often and on the rare occasion that we do, we enjoy going the extra mile to make something special. Hash browns are a delicious accompaniment to scrambled eggs or omelette and butter toast. If you make them really small, it can also be served as an appetizer. 

Hash Browns

Serves: 5

Ingredients:

Potatoes – 4
Butter – 5 tsp
Oil – 2.5 tsp
Salt to taste
Ground Black Pepper to taste

Method:

  • Peel and grate the potatoes using a food processor or a hand grater
  • Place the grated potatoes in a tea towel or muslin cloth and squeeze out all the water (you can do this in small portions)
  • Heat a pan with a teaspoon of butter and half teaspoon oil
  • Place the potatoes in the pan to form a thin layer and a rough circle (about 10 cms in diameter)
  • Sprinkle salt and pepper
  • Using a spatula, press down on the potatoes
  • Cook on high heat till the potatoes turn a lovely golden brown
  • Flip the potatoes and cook till the other side browns as well
  • Serve immediately

Note:
– This recipe makes about 5 hash browns, each having a diameter of approximately 10 cms. This size also makes them easier to flip
– I use a combination of butter and olive oil to cook the hash browns. You can use either
– It’s important to cook the hash browns on high heat as that helps the potatoes to turn a nice golden brown
– Do not worry about the shape of the hash browns. Just ensure you make a thin layer

Everyday Omelet

This is a recipe known to every Indian household, yet I decided to share it just for its simplicity and flavor. I call it the “Everyday Omelet” as it is so easy to prepare and you can have it everyday without getting tired of it. This basic recipe can be turned into an omelet as below, into a savory French toast (see Tip below) or scrambled as a side for chapati/poori/rice. It is so versatile and yet so simple to make. Use of organic eggs only makes this dish better! 
Everyday Omelet

Ingredients:

Eggs – 3
Onion, finely chopped – 1/3 cup
Coriander leaves, finely chopped – 3 tbsp
Green chillies, minced – 1 large
Turmeric – a pinch
Salt – to taste
Oil – 1/2 tbsp + 2 tsp

Yield: 2 omelets

Method:

  • Heat 1/2 tbsp oil in a pan
  • Add the green chillies, onion and coriander leaves and saute for 5-6 minutes till the onion turns translucent
  • Add a pinch of turmeric and salt as needed. Remove from heat and let it cool
  • Meanwhile, beat the eggs in a bowl
  • Add the onion mixture to the eggs and mix well
  • Heat 1/2 tsp oil in a pan on medium heat
  • Pour half of the eggs into a nice circle and cook for a minute or 2. Do not keep the flame too high or the omelet can easily get burnt. Cover for 30 seconds if needed
  • Flip the omelet and cook the other side. Shouldn’t take more than 30 seconds
  • Serve as is or with toast

Savory French ToastTip: To the above ingredients add 2 to 3 tbsp milk, mix well. Dip slices of bread, quickly turning and removing them before they get soggy and fry them in a pan with few teaspoons of oil or butter like you would any toast.

Whole Wheat Banana-Walnut Bread

There aren’t too many things one can do to say Thank you to mothers for everything they do. But for starters, you could bake something special for her! Banana Bread is one of the easiest of bakes, perfect for breakfast, as a snack or even dessert. It’s more cake than bread, actually. And you don’t have to wait for Mother’s Day to treat your mother to this!

Whole Wheat Banana-Walnut Bread

Ingredients:

Whole wheat flour – 1.5 cups
Egg – 1, beaten
Sugar – 1/4 cup
Bananas – 4
Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
Baking soda – 1 tsp
Salt – a pinch
Butter – 1/3 cup (melted)
Walnuts – 1/2 cup, chopped (optional)

Method:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit or 175 degrees Celsius
  • Prepare a loaf pan by greasing it
  • In a mixing bowl, mash the ripe bananas using a fork
  • Stir in the melted butter
  • Add the baking soda and salt
  • Stir in the sugar, beaten egg and vanilla extract
  • Whisk in the flour and mix until combined
  • Add the walnuts and mix well
  • Pour this batter into the prepared loaf pan
  • Bake for about 50 to 60 minutes till a skewer inserted comes out clean
  • Allow to cool completely before removing from the pan and serve

Whole Wheat Banana-Walnut Bread

Note:
– Mix the walnuts with about a teaspoon of flour before stirring into the batter. This prevents them from sinking to the bottom while baking
– Alter the quantity of sugar as per your requirement. I feel 1/4 cup is just right, not too sweet
– You can add walnuts if you happen to have them; you can instead use chocolate chips or chunks or just leave them out