Sunday, May 30, 2010

Banana Bread for Chocolate Lovers

The theme for this month's Blog Bites event hosted at One Hot Stove calls for using up the food and ingredients in the kitchen that are just waiting to be used. Hmmmm.... interesting! So get ready, it's time for stock taking of the pantry.

Okay, here goes the challenge... in Nupur's own words -
Look into your kitchen cupboards, your refrigerator and freezer and raise your hand if you see any of the following; And my response to each question follows.
  • Open bottles of jams and preserves that have not been touched for months: Yes
  • Ingredients bought for a specific recipe that you have not used again: Yes
  • Foods given to you as gifts but that you never get around to using: No
  • Food at the back of the freezer that you can't even get to: Yes
  • Bottles lined up in the fridge door filled with mysterious sauces: Yes
  • Leftovers in the fridge waiting to be used up before you forget about them and chuck them out next weekend: Yes
  • Ingredients that you buy because they are nutritious and you feel like you should be eating them, but you can't think of ways to use them, so they sit there, taking up space and mocking you: Yes
  • Foods that are dangerously close to or just past the expiration date: No
  • Overripe bananas that you are collecting in the freezer: YES
  • Spices that you bought in bulk because the price was right but are now rapidly losing their flavor: No
  • A bulk package of something that will last you until 2035: No
  • Ingredients that you are saving for a "special occasion" that never comes: No
  • Impulse purchases from grocery shopping trips that are sitting around 6 months later and making you feel guilty: No
Well as you see I said yes to more than half of these questions and realized how much stuff I have that seriously needed my attention. So thanks Nupur for coming up with this great idea.

To start with, I made a list of all those lurkers in my kitchen. Some of these need an immediate action, else they will have to go in the trash and others need to be used because they have not been used in a really long time. So here goes the list -
1. APF ( I have this for the longest time since I started using whole wheat flour as much as I could in baking)
2. Chana dal which I don't use very often and which has not been used in almost 3 months
3. 1 packet of cake mix - Totally forgot about it and it had expired a couple months back, so had to trash it- So what if it cost me just a dollar? Felt very bad for wasting it
4. Baking cocoa
5. In the fridge door- Red chilli sauce, Soy sauce
6. Soyabean flour
7. Found in my freezer- half a packet of methi leaves, drumsticks, pineapple chunks, leftover tomatoes from can, paneer ( I didn't even know it was there - just a few small cubes - but without even thinking about it, I trashed it - well if you don't know of something that you have you better not use it... right?) and of course frozen bananas-4 of them
8. 3 carrots, half a cabbage, spinach packet
9. 6 Eggs which expire in a couple days
10. About 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chunks

Surprisingly, the list is not as long as I thought it would be. I ended up using almost half of these items in the last two days and have plans for using a few of these in the next two days. I used methi leaves and some of chana dal by making Dal-Methi. Pineapple chunks were used as an additional topping on a takeout pizza yesterday.

Double Chocolate Banana Bread

We had friends over for cards night and I decided to make this double chocolate banana bread from the recipe that I read on The Sisters Cafe. I had all the ingredients that the recipe calls for and amazingly a lot of them were in the list above. Probably that was the main reason for making this chocolate banana bread.

I followed this recipe from The Sisters Cafe with a slight modification. I used butter instead of oil and baking powder in place of baking soda (since I did not have baking soda on hand). I did not use a lot of chocolate chips since I had just about half a cup of them. Everyone loved the cake bread. It was very moist and inspite of having so much chocolate, it still had that banana flavor.

This is my entry for Blog Bites # 4 hosted at One Hot Stove.

I plan to use carrots and drumsticks in Sambar (recipe is in the middle of the post) that I will make today to go with Idlis. The plan with the remaining carrots is to go in Manchurian along with cabbage, soy sauce and red chilli sauce. Some more chana dal will be used in Mixed Dal Appey sometime this month. And predictably enough spinach will be used for making Spinach parathas in the next 2-3 days. The last frozen banana, which can definitely sit a little longer in the freezer may be used in Sheera or Banana Pancakes.

I hope to use all of these as planned and not waste any. I also have one more kitchen cabinet left to check for any hidden packets. Thankfully I am not an impulsive shopper when it comes to groceries, so the chances of finding something mysterious are quite unlikely.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Methi in Chana Dal (Chana dal & Fenugreek curry)

I am back after quite a long break from blogging. About 2 days back I was reading about the Blog Bites (BB) event that is hosted at One Hot Stove, and this month's theme had me thinking of all those lurkers in my kitchen. Just as I was reading about this blog bites event, the first thing that came to my mind was Chana Dal. This is one dal that I don't use on a regular basis and is sitting ignored in one corner of my pantry. I also have a packet of methi (fenugreek leaves) that is patiently waiting in the freezer. I have been planning to use them for quite a while now, but obviously haven't used them yet.

Mom makes this methi dal that I simply adore. It is a such simple recipe, something that I treat as a comfort food. A perfect recipe to use up the ingredients in my kitchen that have long been waiting to be used. However, is not from any other blog, so I can't send it to BB. But coincidentally, I learned of an event hosted at Suma's blog. The theme for the event is Delicious Dals from India and guess what this methi dal perfectly fits the bill :)


(Serves 4)
1/2 cup chana dal
1 cup methi leaves (chopped)
Handful of raw peanuts (soaked for about 30 min)
1 tbsp gram flour
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1 tbsp coconut flakes
1 tbsp jaggery (more or less as needed)
4-5 dried kokum pieces
2-3 green chillies
Salt to taste
Tempering of 2 tsp oil

1. To start with, pressure cook methi, chana dal and peanuts.

2. Mash the cooked dal with the back of a ladle and then whisk in the gram flour to the mixture.

3. In another pot, make tempering and add to it chopped green chillies, kokum, the above mixture, salt, cumin, coconut flakes and jaggery.

4. Add about a cup of water (more if needed) and bring dal to a boil.

Serve with steamed rice or chapatis. The dal tastes the best when served hot. Now, I am sending this to off to Suma for the Delicious Dals from India event .