Whole Wheat And Finger Millet (Ragi) Chocolate Cookies

Presenting my ninth recipe under “My Julie & Julia Project” for this year. For those who don’t know, I have started this project under which I will be posting 100 recipes from my kitchen by the end of the year 2019. This is the Recipe #9. Here is the link to “My Julie & Julia Project” post:

Julie & Julia – Starting my journey

The last recipe that I had posted on my blog, which was “Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies – With Whole Wheat Flour” has been a super duper hit. There are few food groups on social media where I posted that, and to my amazement, that recipe got maximum love and reviews. Lot of people have tried making them, and were really happy with the result. If you missed that one, here is a link to the same:

Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies – With Whole Wheat Flour

The classic whole wheat chocolate chip cookies hardly take any time to make. Now I am so used to baking it, that if I have all the ingredients available at home, I am able to bake the cookies in no time.

So, after the successful attempts of the classic cookies, I wanted to try my hands on a healthier version of cookies. I have been wanting to bake with Finger Millet flour (also called Ragi). And here in this recipe, I have used Whole Wheat flour along with Finger Millet flour.

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When Myra was around two years old, she was picky in her eating habits, so I had to try my hands at different kinds of baby food. I had tried lots of savory pancakes, and in sweets, I tried different cookies, cakes and cupcakes, and experimented with varied flours. Once she grew up, she started developing love for more food items, and my experiments with other flours were dimmed. Now, with a platform in the form of this blog, I can reach out to a lot of people, especially mothers, who want to try healthy bakes for their kids.

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The health benefits of finger millet are widely known. Starting from being an excellent source of calcium and iron, it is also gluten-free, which makes it great for those trying to lose weight. It is also beneficial for people who suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure and heart weaknesses. The list of benefits is really long. For growing children, finger millet is considered a super food. So, hello there mommies!!

My love for Trader Joe’s products is apparent from my earlier posts, and I am using Trader Joe’s Unsweetened Cocoa Powder in this recipe. I am using jaggery powder as sweetener instead of refined sugar, so that adds another nutritious touch to the cookies.

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So, without further taking your time, I’ll go straight to the recipe. Happy baking!!

Whole Wheat And Finger Millet (Ragi) Chocolate Cookies Recipe

  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Print
Whole Wheat And Finger Millet (Ragi) Chocolate Cookies…

Ingredients

  • Butter (unsalted) – 1/2 cup
  • Jaggery powder – 1 cup
  • Egg – 1
  • Vanilla Essence – 1 tsp
  • Whole wheat flour – 1 cup
  • Finger Millet Flour (Ragi) – 1/2 cup
  • Baking soda – 1/2 tsp
  • Baking powder – 1/3 tsp
  • Salt – 1/2 tsp
  • Cocoa Powder (Unsweetened) – 2 tbsp
  • Nutella – 1 tbsp

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degree F.
  2. Meanwhile, mix the butter and the jaggery powder till the jaggery powder is completely blended with the butter. I prefer to mix by hand since I don’t use mixer. Whisk or spatula is not helpful in this case, since the butter is not in a completely melted state.
  3. Add in the egg to this mixture and stir till all the ingredients are uniformly mixed.
  4. Now add vanilla essence to the above mixture. The wet ingredients mixture is now ready.
  5. For the dry ingredients, add whole wheat flour, finger millet flour (ragi), baking soda, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder to the wet mixture.
  6. Finally add Nutella and give it a good mix with hand. The dough will be a little loose at this stage, so it is advisable to put the dough in the fridge for at least 5-10 minutes.
  7. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Take around 2 tbsp of cookie dough and roll into a ball. Then flatten the dough ball and place on the baking tray. I was able to make 13 cookies with the prepared dough.
  8. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes in the preheated oven.
  9. Remove the cookies from the oven, and allow them to cool for at least 5-10 minutes.
  10. The whole wheat and finger millet chocolate cookies are now ready to be served warm or these can be stored in an air-tight container!!

Method (Step-by-step with pictures)

  • Preheat oven to 375 degree F. Meanwhile, mix the butter and the jaggery powder till the jaggery powder is completely blended with the butter. I prefer to mix by hand since I don’t use mixer. Whisk or spatula is not helpful in this case, since the butter is not in a completely melted state.
  • Add in the egg to this mixture and stir till all the ingredients are uniformly mixed.
  • Now add vanilla essence to the above mixture. The wet ingredients mixture is now ready.
  • For the dry ingredients, add whole wheat flour, finger millet flour (ragi), baking soda, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder to the wet mixture.
  • Finally add Nutella and give it a good mix with hand. The dough will be a little loose at this stage, so it is advisable to put the dough in the fridge for at least 5-10 minutes .
  • Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Take around 2 tbsp of cookie dough and roll into a ball. Then flatten the dough ball and place on the baking tray. I was able to make 13 cookies with the prepared dough.
  • Bake the cookies for 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove the cookies from the oven, and allow them to cool for at least 5-10 minutes.

The whole wheat and finger millet chocolate cookies are now ready to be served warm or these can be stored in an air-tight container!!

Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies – With Whole Wheat Flour

Presenting my eighth recipe under “My Julie & Julia Project” for this year. For those who don’t know, I have started this project under which I will be posting 100 recipes from my kitchen by the end of the year 2019. This is the Recipe #8. Here is the link to “My Julie & Julia Project” post:

Julie & Julia – Starting my journey

I have tried baking chocolate chip cookies many a times, but struggled with the ingredient proportions or the baking time for getting that perfect texture. Not too hard, not too soft. Melt in mouth, but still perfectly baked. The outer layer should be crisp, but not as crispy like we feel with the store brought ones. So many requirements for that one perfect cookie. LOL!!

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Myra has been behind me these days to bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies, since I had promised her after we convinced her to avoid the cookies and biscuits aisle in the supermarket. I was not getting the time and this lingered on for few days. She has been reminding me to bake these from last two days, and today seemed to be the perfect day for the lovely bake.

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I wanted to bake with white flour first, as I thought whole wheat might not give justice to the taste since I wanted the cookies to be as good as the store bought ones. But to my utter amazement, the cookies were baked to perfection. The texture, the flavor, everything in these cookies is to die for. I am glad that using whole wheat flour didn’t quite ruin the flavor, rather it enhanced it, along with giving it the kick of nutrition.

My home is a refined-sugar-free home now. At least we make sure not to buy the refined white sugar now. It’s been months that we have bought it. The health hazards of refined sugar is not a lesser known fact. Even the kids are aware of the harm that this can do to our bodies, no wonder refined sugar is called “Slow Poison”. I make sure to do all the bakes with healthy alternatives, especially Jaggery Powder.

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I have used chocolate chips generously in this recipe. As apparent from my previous recipe posts, I am a big fan of Trader Joe’s products. And this particular recipe too uses Chocolate Chips (Big sized ones) from the same store. These lend a beautiful flavor to the cookies. Each bite into the cookie seems to be a perfection powerhouse.

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I was able to make 15 medium sized cookies with the prepared dough. Since I don’t use any mixer while making the dough, I prefer to create the dough using hands. While mixing the ingredients with hands, the dough can become a little gooey, since mixing by hands can loosen up the dough because of body heat. So, I prefer to put the dough in fridge for sometime, may be around 10-20 mins. This really helps in getting the dough back in shape. Using a whisk or spatula is an option, but the butter chunks while creating cookie dough should not be too soft.

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The cookies were baked at 375 degree F for exactly 10 minutes. And these seemed little soft to touch while taking out from oven. But it is one thing to keep in mind that while taking out from oven, cookie should be a little soft from top. The cookies get their perfect texture and consistency once they are given standing time of at-least 5-10 minutes before storing them.

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The chocolate chips seen on top of the cookies were a little gooey and were melting on touching them. For this, I had stored the cookies in the fridge for sometime, and then this problem was resolved, though having melt in mouth chocolatey cookies is an experience in itself, the kids definitely love licking the chocolatey fingers. LOL!!

Let’s get straight to the recipe now. Indulge in the best and most amazing chocolate chip cookies. Happy baking!!

Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies With Whole Wheat Flour Recipe

  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Print
Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies With Whole Wheat Flour…

Ingredients

  • Butter (unsalted) – 1/2 cup
  • Jaggery powder – 1 cup
  • Egg – 1
  • Vanilla Essence – 1 tsp
  • Whole wheat flour – 1 1/2 cups
  • Baking soda – 1/2 tsp
  • Baking powder – 1/3 tsp
  • Salt – 1/2 tsp
  • Chocolate Chips – 1 cup

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degree F.
  2. Meanwhile, mix the butter and the jaggery powder till the jaggery powder is completely blended with the butter. I prefer to mix by hand since I don’t use mixer. Whisk or spatula is not helpful in this case, since the butter is not in a completely melted state.
  3. Add in the egg to this mixture and stir till all the ingredients are uniformly mixed.
  4. Now add vanilla essence to the above mixture. The wet ingredients mixture is now ready.
  5. For the dry ingredients, mix in whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt to the wet mixture.
  6. Finally add the chocolate chips and give it a good mix with hand. The dough will be a little loose at this stage, so it is advisable to put the dough in the fridge for around 5-10 minutes.
  7. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Take around 2-3 tbsp of cookie dough and roll into a ball. Then flatten the dough ball and place on the baking tray. I was able to make 15 cookies with the prepared dough.
  8. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes in the preheated oven.
  9. Remove the cookies from the oven, and allow them to cool for at least 5-10 minutes.
  10. The classic chocolate chip cookies are now ready to be served warm or these can be stored in an air-tight container!! I refrigerated the cookies for around 15-20 minutes to stiffen up the gooey chocolate chips before storing them.

Method (Step-by-step with pictures)

  • Preheat oven to 375 degree F. Meanwhile, mix the butter and the jaggery powder till the jaggery powder is completely blended with the butter. I prefer to mix by hand since I don’t use mixer. Whisk or spatula is not helpful in this case, since the butter is not in a completely melted state.
  • Add in the egg to this mixture and stir till all the ingredients are uniformly mixed.
  • Now add vanilla essence to the above mixture. The wet ingredients mixture is now ready.
  • For the dry ingredients, mix in whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt to the wet mixture.
  • Finally add the chocolate chips and give it a good mix with hand. The dough will be a little loose at this stage, so it is advisable to put the dough in the fridge for around 5-10 minutes.
  • Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Take around 2-3 tbsp of cookie dough and roll into a ball. Then flatten the dough ball and place on the baking tray. I was able to make 15 cookies with the prepared dough.
  • Bake the cookies for 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove the cookies from the oven, and allow them to cool for at least 5-10 minutes. I refrigerated the cookies for around 15-20 minutes to stiffen up the gooey chocolate chips before storing them.

The classic chocolate chip cookies are now ready to be served warm or these can be stored in an air-tight container!!

Butter Chicken Lasagna – The Perfect Indo-Italian Fusion

Here comes my seventh recipe under “My Julie & Julia Project” for this year. For those who don’t know, I have started this project under which I will be posting 100 recipes from my kitchen by the end of the year 2019. This is the Recipe #7. Here is the link to “My Julie & Julia Project” post:

Julie & Julia – Starting my journey

Butter Chicken, this has been by far the favorite dish in my family. Whether having a meal at home or eating out, we love the rich and creamy texture of this lip-smacking wonder. The word Gluttony can be easily associated with this, since it is really hard to let go of the velvety texture till your stomach starts to warn you not to put in more to it. LOL.

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I always wanted to experiment with Butter Chicken leftovers. But, as I described, it is crime to say something like “Leftover Butter Chicken”. After few failed attempts, I got my hold on experimenting with this dish. I tried making different versions of Butter Chicken Lasagna, but the recipe that I am sharing today is by far the best, and simple too.

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The cheese I am using in this recipe is the Trader Joe’s Shredded 3 Cheese Blend, which is a mix of Mozzarella, Monterey Jack and Cheddar Cheese. I feel this is the perfect blend of shredded cheese that we can use in many recipes. I use this mixture a lot in other Pasta dishes as well.

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I have tried a version with layers of Bechamel Sauce (or White Sauce), added between layers of butter chicken, lasagna sheets and cheese. But, the Bechamel Sauce made the lasagna too heavy, since there is already loads of richness added to the dish due to cheese, and especially due to the creamy butter chicken itself. So, that version was a strict no-no for us. If you are not using butter chicken (with creamy sauce) for layering lasagna, and using just a layer of grilled chicken, you can give it a go trying with Bechamel Sauce layers.

The other version that I tried was using one or two layers of Marinara Sauce. But again, with every bite we took, it seemed like there were multiple flavors tossing in our mouth, which made the taste buds uncomfortable. I love using Marinara Sauce in a lot of recipes, but here it turned out to be a confused dish, with marinara flavor trying to cut down on the butter chicken sauce flavor, and vice versa. So, Marinara Sauce also went flying away from this experiment.

This time, I decided to keep it simple. No more extra flavors, but just the original butter chicken dish, with lasagna sheets and some cheese. And after I had a bite, I knew this was it. The perfect balance of all the ingredients.

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One more experiment I did in this one was that I had separated out chicken chunks from butter chicken gravy, and made different layers with them. Makes sense, right? Well, I should’ve tried this earlier only, but there were already so many layers to play with (like Bechamel and Marinara), that I didn’t think much to separate the two.

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Also, this time, I had separated the chicken chunks into minced form with the help of a fork. This helped me in creating the chicken layer properly, otherwise big bite sized chicken pieces were not spread uniformly in the lasagna layer.

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I have just used four lasagna sheets in the recipe, making it sufficient for 2-3 people. Using more sheets has always resulted in us waiting for the dish to get over. This, I feel is the perfect proportion for a family of 2-4 people. Also, I believe that while serving this dish, you can add salad vegetables (like broccoli, carrots, beans etc.) by the side. This helps in proportion control and also adds more nutritive value to your meal.

I have shared butter chicken recipe in my earlier post, which can be used to prepare lip-smacking butter chicken lasagna. Please find the butter chicken recipe link below:

Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani)

Without further taking your time, I present to you, my favorite recipe of the season so far!!

Butter Chicken Lasagna Recipe

  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Print
Butter Chicken Lasagna…

Ingredients

For butter chicken:

  • Boneless skinless chicken breast (chopped into bite-sized pieces) ~ 500 grams
  • Onions (cut roughly into big pieces) ~ 2-3 (medium)
  • Tomatoes (cut roughly into big pieces) ~ 4-5 (medium)
  • Ginger (cut roughly into one inch pieces) – 1 tbsp
  • Garlic ~ 5-6 big cloves
  • Green chilies ~ 2-3 (as per spice preference)
  • Salt – to taste
  • Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
  • Butter chicken masala (I used MDH brand) – 1 tbsp
  • Ground cumin – 1 tsp
  • Red chili powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Ground black pepper – 1/4 tsp
  • Asafoetida powder (Hing) – 1/4 tsp
  • Coriander Powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Crushed Mint – 1/4 tsp
  • Dried fenugreek leaves (Kasuri methi) – 1 tsp
  • Cooking oil (I used Avocado oil) – 1 1/2 tbsp + 1/2 tsp
  • Jaggery powder – 1 tsp (Can be replaced with sugar)
  • Heavy cream – 1 cup
  • Butter – 1 tbsp
  • Cardamom seeds (crushed) – From 2 cardamom pods
  • Coriander/Cilantro leaves (for garnish) – 1/4 cup
  • Water ~ 1 cup

For Lasagna:

  • Butter Chicken – 3-4 cups (Prepared with ingredients mentioned above or you can use leftover prepared butter chicken)
  • Lasagna Sheets – 4 (Can be increased to 6 as per liking)
  • Water – For boiling lasagna sheets (As per packet instructions)
  • Cheese (I am using Trader Joe’s Shredded 3 Cheese Blend, a mix of mozzarella, cheddar and monterey jack) – 2 cups
  • Italian seasoning – 3/4 tsp
  • Black pepper powder – A pinch
  • Garlic flakes (dried) – 1/2 tsp

Directions

For Butter Chicken Preparation

  1. Heat 1 1/2 tbsp oil in a non-stick pan or skillet. Add chopped ginger, garlic, green chilies in the oil. Also add onions and saute them on medium flame till they turn golden brown. Switch off the flame and let the mixture cool for sometime.
  2. Meanwhile, add the chopped tomatoes to the blender.
  3. Also add the onion mixture prepared in step 1 to the blender along with the tomatoes.
  4. Blend the ingredients to a smooth paste. The base of makhani gravy is ready.
  5. In the same non-stick pan/skillet, heat 1/2 tsp oil, add asafoetida powder and then add the blended mixture.
  6. Cook the mixture for around 5 minutes, and add the dry spices (salt, turmeric powder, butter chicken masala, ground cumin, red chili powder, ground black pepper and coriander powder.
  7. Simmer the mixture on low-medium heat for around 10-15 minutes or till oil starts to separate from the mixture.
  8. Add the chicken pieces to the mixture and saute for around 2-3 minutes.
  9. Add water and cover the pan. Simmer the mixture for around 15-20 minutes on medium heat till the chicken is completely cooked through.
  10. Once the chicken is cooked, remove the lid, reduce the heat to low, and add butter, cream, jaggery powder, crushed mint, crushed cardamom seeds and dried fenugreek leaves
  11. Adjust the salt and cook for around 2-3 minutes more. Switch off the flame.
  12. Garnish the creamy butter chicken with chopped coriander/cilantro leaves.

For Lasagna Preparation & Assembly

  1. Firstly separate out chicken pieces and sauce from the prepared butter chicken. Set aside 2 cups of butter chicken sauce.
  2. Shred the prepared butter chicken pieces into mince size pieces with the help of a fork and keep aside 1 cup of the shredded mince.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degree F.
  4. Boil the lasagna sheets in water and drain them as per packet instructions. Keep aside.
  5. For layering the lasagna, first take a 8 x 6 x 2 inch glass dish and spread 1/2 cup of butter chicken sauce.
  6. For the next layer, lay 2 lasagna sheets over the butter chicken sauce layer.
  7. Spread 1/2 cup of shredded butter chicken pieces as the third layer.
  8. Next layer consists of spreading 1/2 cup of cheese blend.
  9. Sprinkle the cheese with a pinch of black pepper powder, 1/4 tsp of garlic flakes and 1/4 tsp of Italian seasoning.
  10. Again top this with layer of 1/2 cup of butter chicken sauce.
  11. Next layer will be laying 2 lasagna sheets on top of butter chicken sauce.
  12. Again spread 1/2 cup of shredded butter chicken pieces.
  13. A layer of 1/2 cup cheese blend goes next.
  14. Again sprinkle the cheese layer with pinch of black pepper powder, 1/4 tsp of garlic flakes and 1/4 tsp of Italian seasoning.
  15. Top it with layer of 1/2 cup of final butter chicken sauce.
  16. For the last layer, spread the final 1/2 cup of cheese blend.
  17. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp of Italian seasoning on top of the last layer.
  18. Cover the glass dish containing the butter chicken lasagna layers with aluminum foil.
  19. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
  20. Broil for 1-2 minutes for getting the brown crusty top.
  21. Remove from oven and serve the cut butter chicken lasagna pieces as is or with salad on the side!!

Method (Step-by-step with pictures)

  • For step-by-step recipe of Butter Chicken (with pictures), refer to the following link:

https://livelaughlovewithme.com/2019/05/07/butter-chicken-murgh-makhani/

  • Firstly separate out chicken pieces and sauce from the prepared butter chicken. Set aside 2 cups of butter chicken sauce.
  • Shred the prepared butter chicken pieces into mince size pieces with the help of a fork and keep aside 1 cup of the shredded mince.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degree F. Boil the lasagna sheets in water and drain them as per packet instructions. Keep aside.
  • For layering the lasagna, first take a 8 x 6 x 2 inch glass dish and spread 1/2 cup of butter chicken sauce.
  • For the next layer, lay 2 lasagna sheets over the butter chicken sauce layer.
  • Spread 1/2 cup of shredded butter chicken pieces as the third layer.
  • Next layer consists of spreading 1/2 cup of cheese blend.
  • Sprinkle the cheese with a pinch of black pepper powder, 1/4 tsp of garlic flakes and 1/4 tsp of Italian seasoning.
  • Again top this with layer of 1/2 cup of butter chicken sauce.
  • Next layer will be laying 2 lasagna sheets on top of butter chicken sauce.
  • Again spread 1/2 cup of shredded butter chicken pieces.
  • A layer of 1/2 cup cheese blend goes next.
  • Again sprinkle the cheese layer with pinch of black pepper powder, 1/4 tsp of garlic flakes and 1/4 tsp of Italian seasoning.
  • Top it with layer of 1/2 cup of final butter chicken sauce.
  • For the last layer, spread the final 1/2 cup of cheese blend.
  • Sprinkle 1/4 tsp of Italian seasoning on top of the last layer.
  • Cover the glass dish containing the butter chicken lasagna layers with aluminum foil.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
  • Broil for 1-2 minutes for getting the brown crusty top. Remove from oven and serve the cut butter chicken lasagna pieces as is or with salad on the side!!

Eggless Whole Wheat Banana Blueberry Cake – Super Moist And Healthy

This is the sixth recipe I am posting under “My Julie & Julia Project” for this year. For those who don’t know, I have started this project under which I will be posting 100 recipes from my kitchen by the end of the year 2019. This is the Recipe #6.

Here is the link to “My Julie & Julia Project” post:

Julie & Julia – Starting my journey

Banana cake is always a big hit in my family. You can pair it up with walnuts, chocolate chips or blueberries, it is never going to disappoint you. If you follow a fail-proof recipe, the banana cake will always turn out to be super duper moist and rich.

I have recently started experimenting more with the eggless bakes, though I am really okay to use eggs in my recipes. But this urge to try out the egg substitutes has been up lately. Here, I have used yogurt. I have tried the egg version of the recipe too, and it definitely turns out to be more dense and moist, but this experiment is a win-win too in my opinion.

Dried berries are one thing that you will always find in my house. Cranberries, blueberries or blackberries, all are flavorful and give a beautiful touch to my bakes. I am using Trader Joe’s Dried Blueberries in this recipe. Fresh berries can also be used for the bakes, but I prefer to use dried ones in my cakes and cookies.

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Again I have tried to make this a healthy bake by avoiding all-purpose flour, and rather using whole wheat flour in place of that. I have baked this cake using all-purpose flour as well, but this is a more guilt-less version. Also, in place of refined sugar, I have recently switched to jaggery powder. The refined sugar is no longer seen to have a place in my home now. Hasta la vista, baby.. LOL!!

It is best to use over-ripe bananas for this cake. They are easy to mash and mix into the batter and are more sweeter. I have experimented with butter earlier, but this is a olive oil version, and did turn out quite good.

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It is good to keep experimenting with different flours for any recipe, check the healthy ones if you have a kid at home who has a sweet tooth. It definitely helps in knowing that a particular recipe can be made in a healthier way without cutting out on the taste.

I will be soon using this banana bread to create a trifle. I am always on a lookout for ways to utilize leftovers. And utilizing cake in a trifle was something I was planning on posting for a long time (that’s one of the easiest ways to use the leftover cake and tastes great too). In the meantime, do enjoy the recipe, and have a great day!!

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Eggless Whole Wheat Banana Blueberry Cake Recipe

  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Print
Eggless Whole Wheat Banana Blueberry Cake..

Ingredients

  • Bananas – 3 (large, over-ripe)
  • Jaggery powder – 3/4 cup
  • Olive oil – 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp
  • Vanilla Essence – 1 tsp
  • Yogurt – 1 cup
  • Whole wheat flour – 1 1/2 cup
  • Baking soda – 1 tsp
  • Salt – 1/4 tsp
  • Dried Blueberries – 2/3 cup

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F.
  2. Meanwhile, mash the bananas in a bowl and add jaggery powder.
  3. Add olive oil and mix everything together to a smooth blend.
  4. Add yogurt and vanilla essence to the banana-jaggery-oil mixture and mix them all together. Wet ingredients mixture is ready.
  5. For the dry ingredients, add whole wheat flour to the wet ingredients mixture.
  6. Also add salt and baking soda and start mixing all the ingredients.
  7. Once the dry and wet ingredients form a smooth and uniform blend, add in the dried blueberries.
  8. Pour the mixture to a greased cake pan dusted with flour.
  9. Once the oven is preheated, bake the cake mix in the oven for around 55-60 minutes, or till the cake is done (when the inserted toothpick comes out clean).
  10. Remove the cake from the oven, and allow it to cool before serving.
  11. The guilt-free eggless cake is ready to be relished!!

Method (Step-by-step with pictures)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Meanwhile, mash the bananas in a bowl and add jaggery powder.
  • Add olive oil and mix everything together to a smooth blend.
  • Add yogurt and vanilla essence to the banana-jaggery-oil mixture and mix them all together. Wet ingredients mixture is ready.
  • For the dry ingredients, add whole wheat flour to the wet ingredients mixture.
  • Also add salt and baking soda and start mixing all the ingredients.
  • Once the dry and wet ingredients form a smooth and uniform blend, add in the dried blueberries.
  • Pour the mixture to a greased cake pan dusted with flour.
  • Once the oven is preheated, bake the cake mix in the oven for around 55-60 minutes, or till the cake is done (when the inserted toothpick comes out clean).
    Remove the cake from the oven, and allow it to cool before serving.

Relish the yummy moist cake with your family and friends!!

Easy Peasy Cheesy Marinara Pasta Recipe

Here comes my fifth recipe under “My Julie & Julia Project” for this year. For those who don’t know, I have started this project under which I will be posting 100 recipes from my kitchen by the end of the year 2019. This is the Recipe #5. Here is the link to “My Julie & Julia Project” post:

Julie & Julia – Starting my journey

Pasta has become one of the incredibly sought after meals these days. Be it kids or adults, everyone loves it alike. Kids definitely love the more cheesier version though.

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I am a big big fan of Trader Joe’s products, and love experimenting with something new from one of their aisles, especially the pastas/sauces/baking section products. Found this organic brown rice pasta fusilli, and gave it a go. As always, Trader Joe’s products never disappoint us.

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The sauce that I’ve used here is Marinara sauce, which is a tomato based one. I am using store bought marinara sauce, which I had bought from Costco. And this comes handy while I am doing a really quick meal preparation, like pasta or lasagna etc. While preparing basic homemade marinara sauce is also easy, and I will link that recipe here in future. But having a store bought sauce comes handy when in hurry.

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The basic pasta preparation can be divided into three stages:

  1. Boiled pasta (Al Dante) – Different shapes or varieties can be selected like Penne/Fusilli/Farfalle/Lasagna etc.
  2. A sauce as a base – Tomato/Pesto/Mushroom, to name a few.
  3. Cream/Cheese – The dish is finished by adding little cream or different kinds of cheese like Mozzarella/Parmesan/Cheddar etc.

In addition to these three basic steps, the prepared pasta dish can be made more nutritious by the addition of different chopped veggies, like carrots, broccoli, corn, bell peppers, zucchini etc. These veggies can be added based on your personal preferences. I generally prepare pasta for my daughter. She loves to have veggies in the pasta, but most of the times, she likes them by the side in the form of a salad.

I love experimenting with trying out different herbs, both fresh and dried, in the pasta dishes. Here I am using fresh parsley in the end, and the flavor it imparts is just amazing.

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In the current recipe, I have not added any veggies, but added some boiled broccoli to her plate, to go with the pasta. She prefers to eat them separately.

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In addition to the veggies, boiled chicken can also be added, but that’s also a personal preference. I love the addition of chicken while preparing lasagna.

For some little fussy eaters, spaghetti can also be tried. When the pasta comes in shape of noodles, the little rascals can never say no. LOL!!

The reason this dish is popular at my home is not just the taste, but also the fact that this dish can be prepared quickly and easily. If you are short of time, or not in a mood to even eat out, give this quick recipe a try. One can never go wrong with it. Here’s the simple and quick recipe for you and your little munchkins.

Easy Peasy Cheesy Marinara Pasta Recipe

  • Difficulty: Easy
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Easy Peasy Cheesy Marinara Pasta..

Ingredients

  • Pasta – 2 cups (any variety, I have used Fusilli here)
  • Water (to boil the pasta) – As per boiling instructions on the packet
  • Olive oil – 3-4 drops (To drizzle while boiling pasta)
  • Butter – 1 1/2 tbsp
  • Marinara sauce – 5 tbsp (Homemade or Store bought, I have used store bought in this recipe)
  • Salt – To taste
  • Dried Rosemary – 1/4 tsp
  • Mint leaves (dried and crushed) – 1/4 tsp
  • Dried basil – 1/2 tsp
  • Black pepper powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Minced garlic (dried) – 1 tsp
  • Italian seasoning/Mixed herbs – 1 tsp
  • Jaggery powder – 3/4 tsp
  • Parmesan cheese – 2 tsp
  • Cream – 2 tbsp
  • Parsley – 2-3 sprigs

Directions

  1. Boil pasta as per boiling instructions on the packet with drizzle of olive oil and a teaspoon of salt.
  2. Drain and keep aside.
  3. In a pan or skillet, heat butter and add marinara sauce to it.
  4. Cook for 2-3 minutes and then add the drained pasta to it.
  5. Mix the sauce and pasta and cook it on medium flame for around 2-3 minutes.
  6. To the pasta sauce mixture, add salt, rosemary, crushed mint, basil, black pepper powder, Italian seasoning, minced garlic and jaggery powder.
  7. Mix everything together for 1-2 minutes till the herbs and spices get blended with the pasta.
  8. Lower the flame, and add cream and stir for a minute.
  9. Check for salt and jaggery as per taste, and add more if necessary.
  10. Finally, sprinkle some Parmesan cheese powder and chopped parsley sprigs.
  11. Stir and serve hot garnished with more chopped parsley sprigs.

Notes

  1. Use fresh herbs, if at hand.
  2. Pasta should be boiled Al Dante. Don’t over cook the pasta, as it will be cooked for a bit with the sauce also.
  3. For a more cheesier version, try adding some Mozzarella and Cheddar cheese
  4. Boiled veggies can be added before adding the sauce. I didn’t add, as my daughter prefers to have broccoli and carrots by the side, as a salad
  5. I always keep dried and crushed mint leaves at home, as they come in handy if fresh leaves are not available. Super easy to make at home. Just wash the leaves and keep them to dry in shade (no direct sunlight) for 3-4 days. Keep tossing everyday and check for the dryness. Once dried, crush and store in an airtight container.
  6. Use fresh garlic at the start of recipe after adding the butter. I keep dried minced garlic for quick dish preparations.
  7. If Jaggery powder is not available, it can be replaced with same amount of sugar.

Method (Step-by-step with pictures)

  • Boil pasta as per boiling instructions on the packet with drizzle of olive oil and a teaspoon of salt.
  • Drain and keep aside.
  • In a pan or skillet, heat butter and add marinara sauce to it.
  • Cook for 2-3 minutes and then add the drained pasta to it. Mix the sauce and pasta and cook it on medium flame for around 2-3 minutes.
  • To the pasta sauce mixture, add salt, rosemary, crushed mint, basil, black pepper powder, Italian seasoning, minced garlic and jaggery powder. Mix everything together for 1-2 minutes till the herbs and spices get blended with the pasta.
  • Lower the flame, and add cream and stir for a minute. Check for salt and jaggery as per taste, and add more if necessary. Finally, sprinkle some Parmesan cheese powder and chopped parsley sprigs.
  • Stir and serve hot garnished with more chopped parsley sprigs.

Relish the yummy and cheesy marinara pasta with your family and friends!!

Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani)

Here comes my fourth recipe under “My Julie & Julia Project” for this year. For those who don’t know, I have started this project under which I will be posting 100 recipes from my kitchen by the end of the year 2019. This is the Recipe #4. Here is the link to “My Julie & Julia Project” post:

Julie & Julia – Starting my journey

This recipe has its roots in Delhi, the capital of India. North India is known for it’s lip-smacking food all over the world. Butter chicken, chicken tikka, dal makhani, sarson da saag, makki di roti, chhole, bhature, naan, are among the very few names in the extremely big list of its dishes. My apologies for leaving out some names which might be close to my reader’s hearts.

It might sound funny to see that I am apologizing to my readers here, but being a Punjabi, I know how much “food” means to some of us. LOL!! As soon as we are born, we are loaded with dishes topped with ghee (clarified butter). Also, milk and curd are out diet’s staples. Along with vegetables, pulses and grains are also an important part of the daily diet.

I have grown up with fond memories of this special dish that I am sharing with you all today. When I was little, I still remember that the celebrations in our family were never complete without the Oh-So-Special Butter Chicken. Loaded with fats, the taste of this dish would never go wrong.

I am constantly finding ways to be creative with this dish, thinking about how we can use leftover butter chicken in a different way, other than pairing it up with the usual naan and rice.

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But, trust me, there is no such thing as “Leftover Butter Chicken”. The creamy gravy paired with the succulent chicken pieces is never left for more experimentation. This time also, the complete dish was knocked off in no time with naan and rice. I’ll be probably preparing this dish again in a few days with the experiment I have in my mind.

The main winner in this dish is its rich and creamy sauce, which is prepared with few basic ingredients from the kitchen, which form the basis of many Indian gravies. Those are ginger, garlic, green chilies, onion and tomato. These are used to prepare a sauce which is flavored with some spices, and then loaded with the fats (butter and cream) which make the gravy what it is, thick, creamy and delicious. The final result is a rich, velvety blend of melt in mouth flavors.

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There is a version of the recipe which can be prepared by marinating the boneless chicken breast pieces. Chicken thigh pieces can also be used, but mostly it is everyone’s personal preference. I prefer to use the breast pieces for this recipe. The marination is prepared with yogurt, ginger garlic paste and other spices. Chicken pieces are coated with the marinade, and kept aside for few hours, or sometimes, even overnight. But I generally prefer to prepare the version without the chicken marination. Marination definitely imparts additional flavor to the chicken pieces, but this version also works well. It is quicker to prepare, and no less than the marination version. Also, some people prefer to use Ghee (Clarified Butter) to saute onions etc, but I have used Avocado Oil in this recipe. Please feel free to use ghee in place of oil if you want.

So, without wasting more time, let’s jump straight to the recipe. Happy cooking!!

Butter Chicken Recipe

  • Difficulty: Medium
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Butter Chicken…

Ingredients

  • Boneless skinless chicken breast (chopped into bite-sized pieces) ~ 500 grams
  • Onions (cut roughly into big pieces) ~ 2-3 (medium)
  • Tomatoes (cut roughly into big pieces) ~ 4-5 (medium)
  • Ginger (cut roughly into one inch pieces) – 1 tbsp
  • Garlic ~ 5-6 big cloves
  • Green chilies ~ 2-3 (as per spice preference)
  • Salt – to taste
  • Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
  • Butter chicken masala (I used MDH brand) – 1 tbsp
  • Ground cumin – 1 tsp
  • Red chili powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Ground black pepper – 1/4 tsp
  • Asafoetida powder (Hing) – 1/4 tsp
  • Coriander Powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Crushed Mint – 1/4 tsp
  • Dried fenugreek leaves (Kasuri methi) – 1 tsp
  • Cooking oil (I used Avocado oil) – 1 1/2 tbsp + 1/2 tsp
  • Jaggery powder – 1 tsp (Can be replaced with sugar)
  • Heavy cream – 1 cup
  • Butter – 1 tbsp
  • Cardamom seeds (crushed) – From 2 cardamom pods
  • Coriander/Cilantro leaves (for garnish) – 1/4 cup
  • Water ~ 1 cup

Directions

  1. Heat 1 1/2 tbsp oil in a non-stick pan or skillet. Add chopped ginger, garlic, green chilies in the oil. Also add onions and saute them on medium flame till they turn golden brown. Switch off the flame and let the mixture cool for sometime.
  2. Meanwhile, add the chopped tomatoes to the blender.
  3. Also add the onion mixture prepared in step 1 to the blender along with the tomatoes.
  4. Blend the ingredients to a smooth paste. The base of makhani gravy is ready.
  5. In the same non-stick pan/skillet, heat 1/2 tsp oil, add asafoetida powder and then add the blended mixture.
  6. Cook the mixture for around 5 minutes, and add the dry spices (salt, turmeric powder, butter chicken masala, ground cumin, red chili powder, ground black pepper and coriander powder.
  7. Simmer the mixture on low-medium heat for around 10-15 minutes or till oil starts to separate from the mixture.
  8. Add the chicken pieces to the mixture and saute for around 2-3 minutes.
  9. Add water and cover the pan. Simmer the mixture for around 15-20 minutes on medium heat till the chicken is completely cooked through.
  10. Once the chicken is cooked, remove the lid, reduce the heat to low, and add butter, cream, jaggery powder, crushed mint, crushed cardamom seeds and dried fenugreek leaves
  11. Adjust the salt and cook for around 2-3 minutes more. Switch off the flame.
  12. Garnish the creamy butter chicken with chopped coriander/cilantro leaves, and serve hot with naan or basmati rice.

Method (Step-by-step with pictures)

  • Heat 1 1/2 tbsp oil in a non-stick pan or skillet. Add chopped ginger, garlic, green chilies in the oil. Also add onions and saute them on medium flame till they turn golden brown. Switch off the flame and let the mixture cool for sometime.
  • Meanwhile, add the chopped tomatoes to the blender.
  • Also add the onion mixture prepared in step 1 to the blender along with the tomatoes.
  • Blend the ingredients to a smooth paste. The base of makhani gravy is ready.
  • In the same non-stick pan/skillet, heat 1/2 tsp oil, add asafoetida powder and then add the blended mixture.
  • Cook the mixture for around 5 minutes, and add the dry spices (salt, turmeric powder, butter chicken masala, ground cumin, red chili powder, ground black pepper and coriander powder.
  • Simmer the mixture on low-medium heat for around 10-15 minutes or till oil starts to separate from the mixture.
  • Add the chicken pieces to the mixture and saute for around 2-3 minutes.
  • Add water and cover the pan. Simmer the mixture for around 15-20 minutes on medium heat till the chicken is completely cooked through.
  • Once the chicken is cooked, remove the lid, reduce the heat to low, and add butter, cream, jaggery powder, crushed mint, crushed cardamom seeds and dried fenugreek leaves. Adjust the salt and cook for around 2-3 minutes more. Switch off the flame.
  • Garnish the creamy butter chicken with chopped coriander/cilantro leaves, and serve hot with naan or basmati rice!!

Whole Wheat Macadamia Nuts Chocolate Chip Cookies

Presenting my third recipe under “My Julie & Julia Project” for this year. For those who don’t know, I have started this project under which I will be posting 100 recipes from my kitchen by the end of the year 2019. This is the Recipe #3. Here is the link to “My Julie & Julia Project” post:

Julie & Julia – Starting my journey

We are really fond of having cookies/biscotti/rusk, something to snack on, to go along with our tea during our morning and evening tea time. I have baked chocolate, oats, almond cookies in the past, but baking with this nut, macadamia, was my first time.

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Macadamia nuts are also called Hawaii Nuts, but these are actually native to Australia. These nuts are sweet and full of flavor, but most importantly, they are the powerhouse of nutrition.

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The health benefits of these nuts are numerous. These nuts are a rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids, which help in lowering the bad cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol levels in blood, which are linked to decreasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Macadamia nuts provide a good amount of energy, dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. All in all, these nuts are packed with lots of health benefits.

I have been trying to reduce the use of all purpose flour from my baking experiments, and have been using whole wheat flour through my recipes. Though I occasionally love to use all purpose flour for baking breads, as I love the texture of the bread if prepared with all purpose flour. This recipe calls for using whole wheat flour in the macadamia cookies. I was a little skeptical at first, but the taste and texture with whole wheat is a winner as well, just like with all purpose flour.

I have not chopped the macadamia nuts, and have used it as I got from the bag, but if you plan to bake smaller cookies, you can chop them to as little a size you want. Even the chocolate chips I used are big in size. Well, I loved baking the cookies bigger, with two tablespoons full of batter for each cookie. So, the bigger nuts and chips worked for me.

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I baked the cookies in two batches, and got around 23 cookies in all, thanks to the size of each cookie. Do make smaller ones, as per your preference, you might get double the number of cookies that I got.

Also, cranberries pair well with macadamia nuts. I will try using them in my next batch of macadamia cookies that I bake. Those who are fond of cranberries, do try adding some dried cranberries to the recipe. You can use half-n-half of chocolate chips and cranberries, or maybe even leave the chocolate chips in the recipe and just use cranberries, as per your preference.

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The cookies were baked to perfection, just how I like them. Crusty outside, and soft and chewy on the inside. Without further taking more time, I will take you guys straight to the recipe. Happy baking!!

Whole Wheat Macadamia Nuts Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

  • Difficulty: Medium
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Whole Wheat Macadamia Nut Chocolate Chip Cookies…

Ingredients

  • Butter (unsalted) – 1 cup
  • Jaggery powder – 1 1/4 cup (1 cup + 1/4 cup)
  • Eggs – 2
  • Vanilla Essence – 1 tsp
  • Whole wheat flour – 2 cups
  • Baking soda – 1 tsp
  • Salt – 1/2 tsp
  • Macadamia Nuts – 1 cup
  • Chocolate Chips – 3/4 cup
  • Milk – 2 tbsp (optional)

Directions

  1. (Optional) Chop the macadamia nuts and chocolate chips to small pieces. I did not do this step, as I was baking bigger cookies, and used both macadamia nuts and chocolate chips as I got them from the bag.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degree F.
  3. Meanwhile, mix the butter and the jaggery powder till the jaggery powder is completely blended with the butter. I prefer to not use hand mixer for most of my baking recipes, as I believe that beating the mixture with a whisk is better than using mixer (I have over-mixed the batter many a times previously using a mixer, so I avoid using it).
  4. Add in the eggs to this mixture and keep stirring till all the ingredients are uniformly mixed.
  5. Now add vanilla essence to the above mixture. The wet ingredients mixture is now ready.
  6. For the dry ingredients, mix in whole wheat flour, baking soda and salt to the wet mixture.
  7. Finally add the macadamia nuts and chocolate chips and give it a stir. I have also added milk in this step since I felt the mixture was too dry. Milk is just added to adjust the consistency.
  8. Line a baking sheet with ungreased cookie sheet. Drop the batter on to the cookie sheet spoon by spoon and flatten using the fingers, keeping 1-2 inches space between each cookie. Since I have baked bigger cookies, I used two tablespoons of batter for each cookie (I baked the entire batter in two batches).
  9. Once the oven is preheated, bake the cookies in the oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
  10. Remove the cookies from the oven, and allow them to cool for 2 minutes.
  11. The macadamia nut cookies are now ready to be stored in an air-tight container or enjoy them just out of the oven!!

Method (Step-by-step with pictures)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Meanwhile, mix the butter and the jaggery powder till the jaggery powder is completely blended with the butter.
  • Add in the eggs to this mixture and keep stirring till all the ingredients are uniformly mixed.
  • Now add vanilla essence to the above mixture. The wet ingredients mixture is now ready.
  • For the dry ingredients, mix in whole wheat flour, baking soda and salt to the wet mixture. Finally add the macadamia nuts and chocolate chips to the mixture and give it a stir. I have also added milk in this step since I felt the mixture was too dry.
  • Line a baking sheet with ungreased cookie sheet. Drop the batter on to the cookie sheet spoon by spoon and flatten using the fingers, keeping 1-2 inches space between each cookie. Since I have baked bigger cookies, I used two tablespoons of batter for each cookie (I baked the entire batter in two batches).
  • Once the oven is preheated, bake the cookies in the oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the cookies from the oven, and allow them to cool for 2 minutes.

The macadamia nut cookies are now ready to be stored in an air-tight container or enjoy them just out of the oven!!

Eggless Whole Wheat Pistachio Cranberry Cake – No oil, no butter bake

Here comes my second recipe under “My Julie & Julia Project” for this year. For those who don’t know, I have started this project under which I will be posting 100 recipes from my kitchen by the end of the year 2019. This is the Recipe #2. Here is the link to “My Julie & Julia Project” post:

Julie & Julia – Starting my journey

Pistachios, as we all know, have numerous health benefits. They are loaded with antioxidants. These nuts help in boosting immunity and also help in managing blood pressure levels, among many other benefits.

I am using Roasted and Salted Pistachios here in this recipe, so that’s the reason I have skipped salt completely in the ingredients. If you are using unsalted pistachios, please add 1/4th teaspoon of salt to the ingredients list.

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The no oil, no butter and no egg has been my favorite part in this. Avocado, bananas and milk help in maintaining the softness and moisture in the cake. And using jaggery powder in the recipe is a win-win too, for those who are looking for refined sugar substitutes.

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The cake can be sliced and served as a tea time snack and will also be great for adding to children’s lunchbox. I love the hint of cranberries in each bite, but those are completely optional. Those who want to savor the pistachio cake in its purest form, can skip the cranberries completely. I am using dried cranberries from Trader Joe’s.

Do try the recipe and please pour in your suggestions on what other dried berries or nuts will go with the pistachio cake. I would love to give it a try. Happy baking everyone!!

Eggless Whole Wheat Pistachio Cranberry Cake Recipe

  • Difficulty: Medium
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Eggless Whole Wheat Pistachio Cranberry Cake..

Ingredients

  • Powdered Jaggery – 3/4 cup
  • Avocado (mashed) – 1/2 cup
  • Bananas – 3 (medium)
  • Orange zest – 1 tbsp
  • Pistachios – 3/4 cup
  • Milk – 1/4 cup
  • Vanilla Essence – 1/4 tsp
  • Whole wheat flour – 1 cup
  • Baking powder – 1 tsp
  • Baking soda – 1/2 tsp
  • Cranberries (optional) – 4 tbsp

Directions

  1. Grind the pistachios in a blender or food processor to a fine flour consistency and keep the ground mixture aside to be used later.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degree F.
  3. Meanwhile, mix the mashed avocado and the jaggery powder till the jaggery powder is completely blended with the avocado.
  4. Add in the mashed bananas to this mixture and keep stirring till all the ingredients are uniformly mixed.
  5. The pistachio flour can now be added to the above mixture, along with the orange zest. Combine to form a smooth blend.
  6. Also add milk and vanilla essence to this. The wet ingredients mixture is now ready.
  7. For the dry ingredients, mix in whole wheat flour, baking powder and baking soda to the wet mixture.
  8. Finally add the dried cranberries and give it a stir.
  9. Pour the mixture to a lined or greased cake pan dusted with flour.
  10. Once the oven is preheated, bake the cake mix in the oven for 40 minutes, or till the cake is done (when the inserted toothpick comes out clean).
  11. Remove the cake from the oven, and allow it to cool before serving.
  12. The guilt-free pistachio cake is ready to be relished!!

Method (Step-by-step with pictures)

  • Grind the pistachios in a blender or food processor to a fine flour consistency.
  • Keep the ground mixture aside to be used later.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Meanwhile, mix the mashed avocado and the jaggery powder till the jaggery powder is completely blended with the avocado.
  • Add in the mashed bananas to this mixture and keep stirring till all the ingredients are uniformly mixed.
  • The pistachio flour can now be added to the above mixture, along with the orange zest. Combine to form a smooth blend.
  • Also add milk and vanilla essence to this. The wet ingredients mixture is now ready.
  • For the dry ingredients, mix in whole wheat flour, baking powder and baking soda to the wet mixture.
  • Finally add the dried cranberries and give it a stir
  • Pour the mixture to a lined or greased cake pan dusted with flour. Once the oven is preheated, bake the cake mix in the oven for 40 minutes, or till the cake is done (when the inserted toothpick comes out clean)
  • Remove the cake from the oven, and allow it to cool before serving

Relish the yummy pistachio cake with your family and friends!!

Whole Wheat Chocolate Banana Cake – Healthy, Moist & Yummy

This is the first recipe I am posting under “My Julie & Julia Project” for this year. For those who don’t know, I have started this project under which I will be posting 100 recipes from my kitchen by the end of the year 2019. This is the Recipe #1. I have chosen this recipe to be the first one, as it is one of my daughter’s favorite and so, is quite close to my heart.

I have tried this recipe a couple of times, and it has never failed. The best part, of course, is that there is no all purpose flour or oil or butter involved (as healthy as it can be). And I am using cane sugar in this recipe, which is definitely a healthier option compared to the white sugar. Also, even though there is no oil or butter in it, still the cake is amazingly moist because of bananas and yogurt.

I am a big fan of Trader Joe’s products. And this time, I decided to use their Cocoa Powder (I mostly use Hershey’s Cocoa Powder and find it quite good). Loved every bit of their Cocoa powder, the chocolatey flavor imparted to the cake by Trader Joe’s Cocoa powder wins hands down (though chocolate chips also added their bit to the chocolicious flavor). Which other cocoa powder brands have you all used? Let me know in the comments.

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My daughter has a sweet tooth, and every now n then, I am looking for healthy alternatives to the store bought sweet treats. So, this recipe is a keeper for those who are okay with loads of chocolate but want to go easy on butter, oil or all-purpose flour.

Myra loved preparing the cake with me for this blog post. You might see her hand holding the ingredients in some pictures. It’s so amazing to see how we can engage kids at such a young age, and making this whole baking time a play date with them. Sometimes, they can come up with ideas that are completely mind blowing.

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It’s a proud moment when we see them working in the kitchen wholeheartedly. They love stirring and mixing in the things, making a cute little mess in the kitchen, but it’s worth it. Sometimes I feel this is the correct time when we can instill basic cooking skills in our kids (boys and girls both). This is the skill that any person would require in his/her life.

Well, I will not go more into the “who will work in the kitchen in future” mode, as it’s a different topic altogether. But, I would certainly say that we can making baking time fun for our kids. They learn responsibility, precision, team-work and of course, the basic kitchen skills as well.

All in all, this recipe is a hit at my home. And I hope you guys love it too. Let’s take you all straight to the recipe now.

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Whole Wheat Chocolate Banana Cake Recipe

  • Difficulty: Medium
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Super moist Whole Wheat Banana Chocolate Cake pieces..

Ingredients

  • Bananas – 3
  • Cane sugar – 3/4 cup
  • Vanilla Essence – 1 tsp
  • Yogurt – 1/2 cup
  • Egg – 1
  • Whole wheat flour – 1 cup
  • Baking soda – 1 tsp
  • Cocoa powder – 1/2 cup
  • Salt – 1/4 tsp
  • Chocolate chips – 3/4 cup

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F.
  2. Meanwhile, mash the bananas in a bowl and add cane sugar. Mix them together to a smooth blend.
  3. Add vanilla essence, yogurt and egg to the banana-sugar mixture and mix them all together. Wet ingredients mixture is ready.
  4. For the dry ingredients, add whole wheat flour, salt, baking soda and cocoa powder to the wet ingredients mixture.
  5. Start mixing all the ingredients, the mixture will be little thick by this time.
  6. Once the dry and wet ingredients form a smooth and uniform blend, add in the chocolate chips.
  7. Pour the mixture to a greased cake pan dusted with flour.
  8. Once the oven is preheated, bake the cake mix in the oven for 30-35 minutes, or till the cake is done (when the inserted toothpick comes out clean).
  9. Remove the cake from the oven, and allow it to cool before serving.
  10. The guilt-free cake is ready to be relished!!

Method (Step-by-step with pictures)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Meanwhile, mash the bananas in a bowl and add cane sugar. Mix them together to a smooth blend.
  • Add vanilla essence, yogurt and egg to the banana-sugar mixture and mix them all together. Wet ingredients mixture is ready.
  • For the dry ingredients, add whole wheat flour, salt, baking soda and cocoa powder to the wet ingredients mixture. Start mixing all the ingredients, the mixture will be little thick by this time. Once the dry and wet ingredients form a smooth and uniform blend, add in the chocolate chips.
  • Pour the mixture to a greased cake pan dusted with flour.
  • Once the oven is preheated, bake the cake mix in the oven for 30-35 minutes, or till the cake is done (when the inserted toothpick comes out clean). Remove the cake from the oven, and allow it to cool before serving.

Relish the yummy moist cake with your family and friends!!

The famous Indian curry paste

This is the most versatile curry paste used across many Indian dishes. The smell of onion, ginger and garlic is hard to resist at almost every other Indian household. The sprinkling of dried masala powder along with turmeric lends a fresh aromatic flavor to any Indian dish!!

But then, preparing this takes time. Sometimes, when we are having time crunch, because of office work, deadlines or if we have small kids at home who just demand our time and attention, then it becomes difficult to prepare everything from scratch. So we look for other options like instant noodles or ordering something from a restaurant. While sometimes this is doable, but not too frequently.

That time this pre-prepared curry paste comes to your rescue. Prepare a batch over the weekend as per your requirement and use it across the week two-three times as per the quantity.

Most of the Indian ladies would find this post too simple to share, but those who have never tried it and are looking for such alternatives should definitely give it a go.

 

******       INGREDIENTS       ******

Onions (Big) – 2 1/2 (otherwise take 4-5 if using medium sized ones)

Garlic cloves – 7-8

Ginger – 2 inch piece

Green chilies – 3 (or as per spice level)

Tomatoes – 4-5 (medium sized)

Oil – 2 tbsp

Salt – To taste

Coriander powder – 1 tbsp

Garam masala powder – 1 tbsp

Turmeric – 1 tsp

 

******       METHOD       ******

Start by adding oil to a skillet. Add green chilies, roughly chopped ginger and garlic. Sauté till they turn light brown. Add in the onions, and sauté for 5-10 minutes, till the onions start turning light brown. Add salt, turmeric powder, coriander powder and garam masala powder (you can prepare at home or use the readymade garam masala). Sauté for 5-7 more minutes. Then add chopped tomatoes to the mixture. Sauté for 5-10 minutes more. Turn off the stove.

Let me mixture cool down. Once cooled, make a fine paste of this mixture in a blender/mixer. Sauté this curry paste in the same skillet for 15-20 minutes or till the oil separates from the gravy. Once oil separates, turn off the stove, cool the curry paste and store it in the refrigerator and use through the week, this can suffice 2-3 gravies/curries.

You can now use this paste to prepare chickpeas, black chana and kidney beans  as well. This can also be used as a base for watery curry (matar paneer, aaloo matar etc) or cream based gravy (paneer makhani, butter chicken etc).

So go ahead ladies and give it a try. Trust me, with work pressure and also kids at home, this will definitely turn out to be a savior!! Till then.

Adios Amigos