Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Lilliputian Egg-less Banana Mini Muffins

A brand new muffin tray, a decent loaf tin, a bonnie pizza dish, and a comely bundt/tart springform.... wooooh, I feel I'm a billionaire today, in fact better than one.  I have been starving for these baking weapons for a long time, and now the wait is so sunnily over.
I remember the first time I had muffins, and I definitely being a student not interested in strange things like cooking ( mom used to say that your hubby will always repent on choosing a girl like you who doesn't know cooking... :P), never thought that one day I would bake these by myself. Cakes are almost on fingers these days, but this unending wait for a muffin mold had been killing me for a while, and as soon as it landed in my kitchen, I had to be sure that I do justice to it right then. Since I could not manage to find a desirable muffin tray, I finally fell over this 'Mini Muffin Tray'. The outcome was cute, really cute. For this first attempt, I wanted to go egg-less, and then had some bananas screaming at me to get used, so ended up making these Egg-less Banana Mini Muffins'. I had no vanilla essence, so thought of keeping it natural and added some cardamom powder for the real flavor and aroma. My muffin baskets/liners were not fitting into these mini molds, so I had to grease the tray and use directly, but the tiny-miny cuppy cakes popped out easily because of the non-stick coating, and they reminded me so much of the "meetha pakoda/gulgule' aka 'mandazi (as called in Kenya) with the only exception being the maida instead of aata, and then this baking rather than deep frying. They were soft, really soft, and equally spongy, too. Though they did not puff much on the top, but they tasted wow!! My 18 months old doll grabbed 2 of them and they were down her throat in 5 minutes, which was a proof that they were really good (she's too finicky about taste and food stuffs). The next time I'll be baking them with whole wheat flour and jaggery, to exterminate the 'refined' concept.
Presenting the Lilliputian Egg-less Banana Muffins:


Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Baking Time: 10-15 minutes
Makes 12 Mini Muffins

1. All Purpose Flour/ Maida: 1/2 a cup
2. Powdered sugar: 1/4 cup
3. Ripe Banana: 1 small
4. Salt: a pinch
5. Baking Powder: 1/2 tsp
6. Baking Soda: 1/4 tsp
7. Butter: 1 tbs
8. Milk: 2 tbs
9. Yogurt: 2 tbs
10. Cardamom Powder: a pinch or 2 drops of vanilla essence

  1. Pre-heat the oven at 180 degrees for 10 minutes and line/grease the muffin tray.
  2. Take butter (at room temperature) in a bowl and beat it with sugar till it becomes soft and fluffy.
  3. Pour in the yogurt and beat well.
  4. Add in the pulsed banana/banana pulp and cardamom powder/ essence; give a stir.
  5. Sieve the flour, baking powder, soda and salt thrice. 
  6. Fold in this dry mixture to the wet ingredients and fold gently.
  7. Add milk gradually and mix. Avoid over-mixing or the muffins will turn up hard. The mixture should have a ribbon consistency, and it should look aerated and fluffy. 
  8. Spoon it in the muffin pits keeping them 2/3 full. Do not over-fill, since they will puff up on baking, and the batter will pour out.
  9. Bake for 10-15 minutes depending on your oven (mine took 14 minutes exact) till a tooth-pick inserted comes out clean. Also they'll look done when their top goes light golden and the sides brownish golden.
  10. Transfer the tray on a wire rack and let it cool for 5 minutes.
  11. Amazingly, you need not use any knife to scrape the edges of the muffins; they will easily pop out when you hold them up slightly.
  12. Store in an air tight container or consume warm; mine got finished in just 10 minutes. :)

  1. In place of banana, you may add any fruit pulp or keep it simple without any fruits.
  2. Baking soda and baking powder can be replaced with 1/2 tsp Eno Fruit Salt.
  3. These muffins will not have a highly puffed up top due to the absence of eggs, but the sponge will still be there.
  4. You can top them with jam, cream or chocolate if you don't like them plain.
  5. Don't over-mix the batter; don't over-bake either. 

The recipe takes off to:
Bake Fest by Vardhini hosted by Kalyani,
  Midweek Fiesta at Food Corner,
I'm The Star by  Veg Food and Me, 
Comfort Food by Daily Cuppa,
Any One Can Cook by Ayeesha

Friday, March 23, 2012

Go Nuts With Donuts

'Go Nuts With Donuts', I possibly couldn't find a better name than this, since I was the first one to go nuts over these donuts. There are certain foods which are always on your wish list and you can wipe them out the moment you get their glance. Donuts do surely top that list and perhaps this was one of those delights that I never thought of experimenting on by myself till a few days back. Baking has caught my nerves these days and so is anything with 'yeast'. After my recent successful venture with the braided bread, I was aroused to drive in for something again with yeast, and in the long mile of thinking, I finally concluded over 'Donuts'. I was terribly tensed on how they would turn up because I had never seen anybody making them in my life and nowhere in the weirdest of my dreams did I think of making them. So, this was an out of the blue experiment for me. Donuts are generally deep fried, but I went for a baked version too, which wasn't bad either. As for my first time, with no donut cutters and proper equipments, the trial wasn't a disaster as I had thought of. They turned out pretty well, though the shape had flaws owing to the use of random cutting objects, but in all, it was a cheering and gratifying endeavor. I'm propelled to try the egg-less version soon, and this time I'll look for some bigger, better circles/caps to cut appropriately. I've taken the recipe from here and have made changes in terms of quantity.


Preparation Time: 15 minutes (excluding the dough-rising time)
Cooking/Baking time: 10 minutes
Yields 12 Donuts

1. All Purpose Flour/ Maida: 2 cups
2. Sugar: 1/2 cup ( I took 1/4 cup and I found it less sweeter)
3. Egg: 1
4. Warm water: 1/4 cup
5. Luke-warm Milk: 1/2 cup
6. Active Dry Yeast: 1 tsp
7. Salt: 1/2 tsp
8. Oil: 1 tbs for greasing and rest for frying
9. Dark Chocolate: 1 bar

  1. Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water, and let stand for 5 minutes, or until foamy.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the yeast mixture, milk, sugar, salt, eggs, and 2 cups of the flour.  Knead for about 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. You can grease your hands with oil to avoid sticking. Place the dough into a greased bowl, and cover. Set in a warm place to rise until double. Dough is ready if you touch it, and the indention remains.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and gently roll out to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut with a floured doughnut cutter or if you don't have one, like me, use two different sized caps/circles (one big and the other smaller than it, so as to get the ring shape) to cut. Let doughnuts sit out to rise again until double (around 30-40 minutes). Cover loosely with a cloth.
  4. Pre-heat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes and line the parchment paper on the baking tray or grease it.
  5. Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large heavy skillet to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Slide doughnuts into the hot oil using a wide spatula. Turn doughnuts over as they rise to the surface. Fry doughnuts on each side until golden brown. Remove from hot oil, to drain on a wire rack. 
  6.  On the other side, for the baked ones, place them in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes till the top goes light brown. Do not over-bake else they will go hard.
  7. Microwave chocolate in a bowl for 30-60 seconds (just enough to melt it) and keep it ready.
  8.  Dip the top cover of the doughnuts into the molten chocolate while still warm, and set onto wire racks to cool or refrigerate for 5 minutes. 
  9.  Arrange in the plate and wait for no-one or nothing to gulp them over before you do. 

  1. The baked donuts are not round, but have a flat bottom. Make sure you don't over-bake them else they turn hard. I for sure loved the original deep fried version more, but baked ones make a good choice for calorie-conscious people. 
  2. Some dough was not utilized and I ended up making some Baked Jam Rolls/Delights with that. You can go innovative in using that dough in multiple ways.
  3. Refrigeration will make them hard, so better re-heat them in an oven before use. Though they are best consumed fresh. 
  4. You can coat them with sugar-butter-cinnamon syrup and icing sugar or any glaze that you wish. Chocolate glazing was the simplest I found.
  5. Appropriate rising is necessary for the perfect texture. Make sure that the dough is kept in a warm place for rising and you do not deep fry/bake them before rising, out of hurry. 
  6. If planning to make egg-less ones, replace egg with 4tbs curd/yogurt and 1/2 tsp baking soda. 
  7. The original recipe also uses 'shortening', but since I had none, I skipped it.

 The recipe takes off to:
Cooking Made Easy With Chocolates/Cocoa 
I'm The Star by  Veg Food and Me, 
Comfort Food by Daily Cuppa 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Palak Ka Saag (Spicy Indian Spinach)

I guess I was too busy baking and making desserts these days, and my blog and space is herded with sugar-loaded recipes, also because of the dulcet desserts event that I recently had and now for sure it calls for a break. After tons of calories jamming up, there is a need for something which is nutrient-rich and calorie-less. Facing back, I see spinach lost somewhere is my recent posts except for the Firangi Kebabs, and this is what possibly buttons me to take up a spinach recipe for this course. This is a recipe by my mom, and she generally makes it with 'Makki Ki Roti'. I can never ever dream of reaching those unbeatable flavors that she imbibes in, but this definitely is a memory refresher for me. 


Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Health Meter:
  •  Spinach is a member of the goose-foot family, making it a close relation to beets and chard. 
  •  Spinach is best eaten fresh. It loses nutritional properties with each passing day. Although refrigeration slows the deterioration, half of the major nutrients are lost by the eighth day after harvest. (For long term storage, freeze while fresh.) When fresh, it has crisp leaves. As they deteriorate, the leaves turn limp. 
  •  Cooked or raw? Both have their advantages. Whereas cooking reduces Vitamin C and folate levels, it simultaneously boosts beta-carotein and lutein bioavailability. A sensible idea is to have it both ways. Have spinach raw in your lunch salads and cooked in your evening dinner, for example. Some varieties of spinach are rarely eaten raw, though baby spinach is common in salads. If cooked, it is best lightly steamed to preserve nutrients as much as possible.
  • When eaten raw, spinach should be very well washed and dried prior to use. (A sensible precaution with all fruits and vegetables, anyway.)  
  • Spinach leaves are a mild diuretic and mild laxative.
  • It is a myth nowadays to believe that spinach has rich iron content. A second analysis of the green vegetable in the lab revealed that there was a minor decimal error in recording the readings. However, one need not worry about the fact that spinach does not have iron content. In fact, spinach has much more invaluable nutrients that help in block such substances such as bioflavonoids and antioxidants that might lead to cancer if not arrested in the early stages. 

1. Palak/ Spinach: 2 bunches
2. Tomato: 1(big)
3. Onion:1 (big)
4. Garlic pods: 3
5. Green Chilly: 1
6. Turmeric Powder: 1/4 tsp
7. Coriander Powder: 2 tsp
8. Red Chilli Powder: 3/4 tsp
9. Cumin Powder: 1/4 tsp
10. Garam Masala: 1/4 tsp (optional)
11. Salt: 2 tsp or as per taste
12. Oil: 3 tbs
13. Cumin seeds/jeera: 1/4 tsp
14. Asafoetida/Heeng: a pinch

  1. Chop the spinach/palak and wash it well with running water.
  2. Chop the onion, tomato, garlic and green chilly.
  3. Heat oil in a pan and once hot, add in cumin seeds followed by asafoetida/heeng.
  4. Throw in onion and fry till light brown on medium fame. Add the chopped garlic and green chilly and fry for a minute.
  5. Splash in the spices and cook for 2 minutes till the oil separates.
  6. Add the chopped tomato and cook for 3 minutes till it goes mushy. Keep the flame on medium/low.
  7. Now pull in the chopped spinach/palak and give a stir. Add the salt, mix and cover for 5 minutes on low flame.
  8. Stir twice in between for proper mixing and see that it doesn't burn.
  9. Once the palak/spinach is soft, cook uncovered for 5 more minutes to dry off excess water/moisture.
  10. Serve fuming hot with chapati or better 'Makki Ki Roti'. :)

  1. There's no need to blanch the spinach before cooking.
  2. 2 tbs besan/gram flour can also be added if you want the gravy to be slightly thick. 
  3. Garam Masals is always an option, but I usually don't prefer it. 

  The recipe flies off to:
 Gimme Green by Rosh, For 'U' Mum by Nupur
Comfort Food at Daily Cuppa, Lets Cook: Greens by Radhika
I'm The Star  at Veg Food and Me, Hot and Spicy Treats at Food Corner